Halong vs Bai Tu Long vs Lan Ha Bay

Halong Bay is undeniably one of the most striking spots and a “must-see” in Vietnam.

However, when book a cruise, many travellers will be overwhelmed and confused by too many itineraries, mainly from words such as “Halong bay”, “Lan Ha Bay” and “Bai Tu Long Bay”

What’s the difference amongst Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay?

The Halong Bay Natural Wonder of the World is made up of 3 neighboring areas: Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay, and BAi Tu Long Bay. Halong bay is the most well-known of the 3 bays but Lan Ha and Bai Tu Long have been recently good alternatives

The table below will help you breakdown information of all these bays to define a suitable itinerary for your trip.


Lan Ha Bay

Halong Bay

 Bai Tu Long Bay

Distance from Hanoi Old Quarter

· ~ 150 km  – shuttle bus/car
· 2 hour transfer

· ~ 170 km– shuttle bus/car
· 3.5 hour transfer

· ~ 180 km– shuttle bus/car
· 4 hour transfer

Embarkation point:

· Got Ferry Teminal (Hai Phong city)

· Tuan chau Marina (Halong city)

· Hon Gai Harbour(Halong city)


· Area: 76 km 2
· Around 400 islets

· Area: 1553 km2
· Around 1960 islets

· Area: 560 km2
· Around 3000 islets


· Cat Ba national park (in Cat BA island)

· Fishing village: Viet Hai, Cai Beo

· Cave: Dark & Bright, Trung Trang Cave, Hospitality, Thien Long

· Beaches: Ba Trai Dao, Cat Co, Cat Co, Tung Thu, Van Boi


· Fishing village: Cua Van

· Cave: Amazing/Surprised (Sung Sot Cave), Dau Go Cave,  Luon Cave (for kayaking & swimming), Mecung, Trinh Nu

· Halong pearl Farm

· Fighting Cock Islet

· Beaches: Titop, Soi Sim

· Cap La & Tra San island (for swimming & Kayaking)

· Cong Do & Cong Dam for floating hamlets or for swimming

· fishing village: Vung Vieng

· Caves: Thien Canh Son, Thay / Hang Thay

· Beaches: Ban Chan, Ngoc Vung, Quan Lan, Minh Chau, Tra Gioi


· Tranquil and unspoiled

· Less touristy and cleaner than Halong Bay

· Shortest travel time required

· Including Cat Ba island and Cat Ba national park - a wealth of historical attractions


· The largest areas with the biggest and most impressive caves

· Only bay with a fully inhabited floating village

· Highest density of limestone karsts

· Untouched and quiet

· Less touristy and cleaner than Halong Bay


Relatively smallest

Floating villages are much smaller than the others.

Extremely crowded by more than 600 boats (you will easily get stuck in caves or beaches with other thousands of people)

The most polluted areas

Longest travel time required

The lowest density of limestone karsts

caves are smallers and less stunning as in Halong bay


Best place for visitors who love kayking, swimming, trekking, hiking.

2 day trip is the most common choice

Best place for people who love the most amazing views.

2  or 3 day trips are the same

Best place for travellers who are looking for tranquility, relaxing trip.

3 days trip is the most common choice  


Each bay has its own characteristics and highlights so it depends on your time and your favourite to choose the right destination.


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