Lan Ha Bay itinerary : The complete guide 2024

Lan Ha Bay one day itinerary

Lan Ha Bay one day itinerary

I decided to write this Lan Ha bay itinerary  from 1 day to 3 days for those who start your trips from Hanoi, Hai Phong, Halong and Cat Ba island.  Cat Ba is becoming a popular destination for budget travellers, backpackers and mid-range travelers who want to travel to less touristy bay, off the beaten track, an alternative to the overrated Halong Bay

If you are looking for a less touristy boat cruise than the famous Halong Bay for active travellers like kayaking, swimming and hiking, less busy but similar landscape of towering limestone karst mountain, Lan Ha Bay is the top choice. Lan Ha Bay has everything to offer for a bay tour: kayaking in the hidden trails among amazing limestone cliffs, swimming in the private white sand beach, visiting floating villages and enjoying fresh seafood that is bought from local markets. 

This complete Lan Ha Bay one day itinerary guide is for all travellers who start their trips from different locations : Hanoi, Cat Ba island, Halong, Hai Phong

Why Lan Ha Bay?

Lan ha bay, Cat Ba

  • Less touristy than Halong
  • Less polluted
  • Lots of activities for active traveller : kayaking, swimming, rock climbing (deep solo), snorkeling
  • Longer duration cruise : From 8.30am to 4pm : 7 hours to 8 hours tour
  • The price is cheaper

Lan Ha Bay one day itinerary – 4 locations for the Lan Ha Bay day tour

Please see this Lan Ha Bay travel map

There are four locations to start your Lan Ha Bay trip 

Location 1 : From Got Pier. This is a common route for overnight cruises to start the trip to Lan Ha bay over tour

Biking in Viet Hai village

This Lan Ha bay tour from Got Pier is suitable for those who depart from Hanoi. Since it saves your time to travel another hour to Cat Ba with ferry crossing and driving to the Cat Ba town. 

An overnight cruise will take you to Tra Bau area for kayaking and the second, you will visit Trung Trang cave in Cat Ba island or Viet Hai village.

Location 2 : Lan Ha bay day cruise departs from Beo pier, including Dark and Bright cave; Viet Hai village

For some day cruise trips that departs from Lan Ha Bay will take you to visit the Dark and Bright Cave area either by kayaking or bamboo boat, then head to Viet Hai village to start biking the village.

This route will be busier than the route to Three Peaches Beach 

Kayaking in Lan Ha bay

Location 3 : Lan Ha bay boat tour departs from Beo pier, that takes you to visit the Van Boi Beach area and Three Peaches Beach, which cruises in the heart of Lan Ha Bay

Ba Trai Dao Beach

Three Peach Beach

This option is perfect for those who depart from Cat Ba, Hai Phong, Hanoi but want to cruise the heart of Lan Ha bay

Some of the cruise operators from Cat Ba, offer this route. In the morning,taking a short cruising to Tai Keo area to pick up kayaks from the floating house and kayak around limestone islands to reach some of the white sand beaches. 

After 1.5 hours of kayaking, you will get on the boat, and start cruising further Lan Ha Bay to Three Peaches Beach. It’s time for lunch with fresh seafood. 

After lunch, kayak to hidden lagoons and white sand beaches. There is a lot of little beaches around the area. If you kayak a little bit further, you can find your own “paradise”. When it comes to the high tide, most of the beaches are flooded, so there is a few of them that you can visit. The beach might be busy at the time. 

Read more : Private Lan Ha bay day tour from Hanoi 

Location 4 : Lan Ha Bay day trip from Gia Luan pier

Kayaking Lan ha Bay

This option is perfect for those who start your trip from Hai Phong or Halong.

Most of the day cruise to Lan Ha Bay that offers this route will offer the pick up from Tuan Chau port Halong. Take a transfer boat from the port to Gia Luan pier, Cat Ba. From there, you start the cruise trip to explore Lan Ha bay to Dark and Bright cave and swim in a quiet area. 

The price for seat on coach tour starts at 129 USD per person. 

Read more : Cat Ba itinerary

Lan Ha bay itinerary 2 days 1 night on an overnight boat

Lan Ha bay travel map

This Lan Ha Bay itinerary is for those who want to spend time staying overnight on a cruise in Lan Ha bay. It will be spending 24 hours from today noon to tomorrow noon. 

Please note that Lan Ha bay 2 days 1 night trip starts and end in Cat Ba. There are overnight boat trips which starts from Got pier on big overnight cruise.

We focus on small boutique boats that start in Cat Ba, less touristy than Lan Ha bay tours from Got pier

7.30am to 7.45am : Pick up by bus from your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter and drive 2 hours and 15 minutes including toilet break on the halfway.

Take a ferry crossing from Dong Bai ferry to Cat Ba (It is approximately 30 minutes). When you are on the side of Cat Ba, take another 40 minutes drive to get to Beo pier. 

You may miss the ferry (the next one is another 30 minutes). You may get to Beo pier around 11.30pm, take a rest. 

12.00pm : Get on the boat, check in, safety instructions and starts cruising the heart of Lan Ha bay with magical beauty of towering limestone cliffs but way less touristy than Halong and similar landscape. 

After 2 hours cruising, you will head to the Dark and Light cave. There are 2 options to choose from 

+ Sit back and relax on a sampan boat ride for 25 minutes to 30 minutes. Please note that in the low tide, the boat won’t go through the Light cave. 

+ Kayak and enjoy the magic beauty of the surrounding karst mountains. You can kayak through the Light Cave. Dark cave is blocked by nets for safety reason. 

Get back the boat and cruise to nearby spot for swimming. Jumping off the boat and soak up in the emerald green water of Lan Ha bay. 

Back to the boat for cooking demonstration to learn how to make spring roll (Nem Ran) and having setmenu dinner with seafood onboard (Vegetarian option is available)

Day 2 : VIet Hai village and back to the mainland

Having breakfast. 

Bicycle ride to Viet Hai village (10 kilometers round trip) – 1 hour 15 minutes for sightseeing and cycling.

On the way back cruising pass Viet Hai village

Lunch onboard

12.30pm : Bus back to Hanoi. Arrive Hanoi around 4.30pm

Lan Ha bay 3 days itinerary with 2 nights onboard.

The same itinerary for 2 days 1 night. Day 1 will stay the same, Day 2 will be the itinerary for day 3.

Day 2 is the only day with a different itinerary

There are 2 options to choose from

Option 1 : Heading to Cat Ba for 2 hours hike to Ngu Lam peak at Cat Ba national park. 

Option 2 : Further cruising with a day boat to explore Ba Ham Lake which is located on Dau Be island (please note that if there is a high tide, you will get stuck in the lagoon. That’s why you go on a guided tour 

There is a few cruises that offer this route but with a private cruise in Lan Ha bay, you can custom the itinerary 

Which options for Lan Ha Bay day tour? From Hanoi, Hai Phong, Halong, Cat Ba

Lan Ha Bay day tour from Hanoi

If you want to take a sightseeing tour, spend as much time as possible admiring the beauty of Lan Ha Bay and enjoy the services onboard like cooking class and sunset party, take the option of location 2

There might be no sunset during the winter from November to January and during spring from February to April. 

If you want to cruise the heart of Lan Ha Bay, take the options of location 3, using a round trip shuttle bus from/to Hanoi

Read more : Private Authentic Lan ha Bay cruise from Hanoi

Hanoi to Cat Ba island complete transfer guide

Lan Ha bay tour from Hai Phong

It takes around 2 hours more or less to get from Hai Phong to Cat Ba town, so I do recommend taking the options of location 2 and location 3 

If you want to take the less touristy option, pick the location 3 option and start cruising earlier. 

Lan Ha Bay tour from Halong 

It takes one and a half hour to reach Cat Ba town (ferry crossing and driving) 

Pick the option of location 4, since the tour departs from Tuan Chau port or you can take a ferry crossing to Cat Ba and pick location 3

If I were you, I would pick the location 3 since it offers cruising to the heart of Lan Ha Bay 

Lan Ha Bay tour from Cat Ba 

Private Lan ha Bay day tour from Cat ba/Hai Phong

I recommend two options: Location 2 and Location 3 based on what you like to do and expect a bit touristy or less touristy route. 

Read more : Private day cruise from Cat Ba 

Tipping for taking a day tour to Lan Ha bay

  • Avoid traveling on public holidays like Reunification Day on 30th of April, May day, and Independence day on 2nd of September since it is really crowded. Ask the tour operators for advice of the less touristy route
  • Book a private tour to Lan Ha Bay to have your own privacy if you can afford it. 
  • The last ferry from Cat Ba to Got pier is at 6pm, try to be at the Cai Vieng side max 5pm to avoid any troubles
  • Bring waterproof bags and towels since you can only find Phone waterproof cases in Cat Ba
  • Check the itinerary and routes the cruise operators offer before taking the trip to ensure they suit you. 
  • Inform the cruise if you are food allergy or vegetarian for the best preparation.
  • List which activities that you like to do : kayaking, swimming, sightseeing etc before inquiring for the tour to find the best Lan Ha Bay itinerary
  • Don’t take the car to cross the ferry with you during the high season (May to August) especially weekends.

Pro tips for taking overnight boat in Lan Ha bay

Don’t book last minute. Lots of my guests book last minute, even 1 week ahead this March but the cruise is fully booked. I recommend booking 10 days to a week in advance. 

Avoid the national holidays (May Day, 2n of September which is Independence day in Vietnam) TOO busy

Book with a travel agent if you would like to custom tour or special room request.

A private cruise in Lan Ha Bay is always cheaper than Halong bay (expect to pay from 350 USD to 400 USD per person with most of things included like transfer, meals, private car, private boat, private tour guide etc). Of course, drinks, personal expenses and tipping is excluded

The photos that are shown on the cruise’s website is always made up with photoshops. 

The boat cruise can be cancelled due to bad weather

Take the pills if you got seasick. From May to July, the water is more rough. 

Over to you

Hanoi Eco Tour hopes this Lan Ha Bay one day itinerary helps you some ways to plan your trip to Lan Ha Bay. If you want to book a tour, please email us at or send me a message on WhatsApp: +84.974.313.104

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