LAN HA BAY, BAI TU LONG BAY & CAT BA ISLAND
Halong Bay has long been considered the gem of Vietnam tourism’s crown, and it totally deserves that renown. Established as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, the dramatic landscape is picture-perfect, although these days, it can be hard to see with all the crowds. But did you know the Gulf of Tonkin is actually made up of three bays?
Neighboring Lan Ha Bay to the south offers all the beauty of its better-known big sister, but without the pesky crowds or pollution. It’s also home to Cat Ba National Park, which we explore via kayaks and bicycles to find hidden beaches, wild nature, and charming fishing villages.
Bai Tu Long Bay, to the east of Halong Bay, is the most remote of the three, offering a relatively untouched region with a flourishing forest and marine conservation area just waiting to be discovered. The area is half the size of Halong, yet with double the amount of limestone karst formations, the view is just as beautiful.
Although we love Halong Bay, we believe in following the road less traveled and supporting sustainable products. That’s why our Topas Originals and Topas Family packages feature cruises in Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay, to not only take you further into the region, but to give you a taste of the Vietnam that existed before mass tourism.
Read on to discover more information about this destination below and how you can add it to your upcoming trip to Vietnam. Or, browse some of our suggested itineraries for more ideas.