Lan Ha Bay is one of the most stunning coastal destinations on Earth

With over 100 small and secluded sandy beaches resembling “green ribbon-like straits,” Lan Ha Bay boasts a rich natural landscape and a pristine scenery, often likened to a “hidden gem” in the tranquil space of Vietnam.

Comprising more than 400 large and small islands and numerous smooth white sandy beaches, the area also features a diverse and abundant ecosystem, showcasing landscapes of raw beauty that entice visitors to linger.

“Lan Ha Bay unfolds like a fairyland on the endless water surface, including hundreds of small islands, bays, and diverse mountainous ecosystems, creating a fascinating and immensely majestic natural panorama. The protruding cliffs seem to appear randomly but somehow resemble peculiar floating icebergs,” wrote author Anthony Dennis on The Sydney Morning Herald.

Anthony Dennis opted to experience Lan Ha Bay aboard La Regina Grand Cruise.

“About a decade ago, I came to Northern Vietnam for a two-night exploration around Ha Long Bay and now it’s Lan Ha Bay,” the author wrote.

Unlike Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay is characterized by a concentration of islands, giving the bay the appearance of a massive secluded harbor, completely shielded.

La Regina Grand Cruise offers maximum luxury with a minimal number of passengers. The staff, including about five chefs, prepares exquisite contemporary Vietnamese dishes, providing amenities akin to a 5-star hotel in Hanoi. However, the highlight of the journey is the experience of indulging in delicious meals amidst the swaying beauty of the bay.

Earlier this year, Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh province and Cat Ba Archipelago in Hai Phong city were officially recognized as UNESCO World Natural Heritage. Lan Ha Bay is a bay in Cat Ba district, situated south of Ha Long Bay and east of Cat Ba Island.

The entire coastal area includes up to 2000 small islands and majestic limestone mountains, forming one of the most beautiful seascapes on Earth.

Most of these towering limestone formations are uninhabited, while Cat Ba Island, with a population of about 16,000 people, is the largest and most populous island in the archipelago. Overall, Cat Ba Archipelago comprises 367 islands, boasting around 7 ecosystems and serving as the home of one of the world’s most endangered langur species – the Cat Ba langur. The Cat Ba langur is one of the five langur species endemic to Vietnam.

From the ancient village of Viet Hai to Cat Ba National Park

According to the author, after lunch, in a cooler atmosphere, the cruise docked at Viet Hai fishing village, a secluded village accessible by sea. The village is surrounded by Lan Ha Bay, with towering mountain peaks forming a beautiful valley.

“Viet Hai fishing village attracts many tourists. I stopped and watched a herd of water buffalo crossing the road from lush green fields. The scene looked truly unique. Afterward, I cycled into the village, stopping for a refreshing cold drink before exploring the residential area,” Anthony Dennis wrote about his experience.

As the evening shadows fell across Viet Hai fishing village, it was time for us to return to the cruise. The next morning, after a sumptuous and delicious breakfast on board, La Regina Grand Cruise continued its journey through Lan Ha Bay, eventually anchoring near Cat Ba Island. We then explored Trung Trang Cave – one of the natural caves traversing through the mountains. The cave offers a unique landscape with thousands of naturally formed stalactites.

Walking for about an hour through the dense forests of Cat Ba National Park, a biosphere reserve designed to house over 1500 species of wildlife, including 78 bird species, 20 reptile species, and 32 mammal species.

While traversing the forest, we encountered some snake species and various plant species but very few bird and mammal species, especially the notable Cat Ba langur.

“The remaining time in Lan Ha Bay was filled with wonderful experiences, enjoying delicious meals and deep slumber. Waking up in the morning is a perfect scene from the cruise. The gently drifting cruise on the bay resembles a small Asian aquatic habitat,” the author vividly recounted his journey.