Halong Bay is the most popular tourist attraction in Vietnam and that means one thing – it can get crowded! Escape the crowds on this one of a kind exclusive boat trip to Lan Ha Bay – the best kept secret in the North Vietnam! Step aboard a luxury junk and explore the hidden gems that most tourists will miss… Spend the night in an eco village in the heart of Cat Ba! This trip offers all of the best bits of Halong Bay, without any of the hassle!
Highlights of the Real Lan Ha Bay Experience
- Trade in the hustle and bustle of Hai Phong Harbour for the comfort of our lovely on-board accommodation!
- Set sail for Lan Ha Bay taking in breathtaking sights of hundreds of limestone karsts, emerald waters and floating villages.
- Enjoy the views from the sun beds on our lovely deck or from the comfort of our well-stocked bar.
- Enjoy a delicious Vietnamese dinner from our onboard restaurant with a cocktail or two.
- Relax in your luxury room with private balcony overlooking the incredible sights of Lan Ha Bay.
- Wake early in the morning for a sunrise Tai Chi session on our sundeck.
- Spend the day discovering the wonders of this magical landscape with kayaking, swimming and exploring the amazing Dark & Bright Cave.
- In the evening, we will arrive at the incredible remote village of Viet Hai where you will experience the warmth and hospitality of Vietnamese culture as yo are welcomed to your homestay bungalow.
- This village is located in a completely off the beaten track part of Lan Ha Bay where you can experience the Real Cat Ba without the crowds.
- Viet Hai Village is a self-sustaining community employing various eco-friendly and green solutions, perfect for the conscientious traveller!
- In Viet Hai, you can explore the rural Vietnamese lifestyle, walk through paddy fields, see farmers with their buffaloes, explore the surrounding indigenous forest or relax by the pond with a book.
- Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese breakfast, lunch and dinner at the homestay – which is raved about by guests!
- During the afternoon, you can take a trip to a nearby cave and in the evening you can go night kayaking! This is an experience that we highly recommend because of the chance to see bio-luminescent plankton lighting up the small coves – truly an amazing experience!
Itinerary – Real Lan Ha Bay Experience – 3 Days, 2 Nights
- START – DAY 1: Hanoi 9am.
- FINISH – DAY 3: Cat Ba Town 12 noon.
DAY 1 # HANOI TO HAI PHONG – LAN HA BAY BY CRUISE BOAT
- 9 – 9.30 am – You will be collected at your hotel or hostel in Hanoi and leave the city on a comfortable AC minivan. It takes approximately 2 hours to get to Hai Phong Harbour, and you will arrive around 11.30am.
- 12 noon – From the harbour, you will hop on board a mini boat which will escort you to our luxurious junk, called the Sapphire Cruise. Enjoy a welcome drink as you step on board your comfortable home for the night! After a safety demonstration by the crew, you are free to explore your cabin, relax and enjoy the views from the sundeck as we head towards the spectacular Lan Ha Bay.
- 1.15 pm – Enjoy a delicious lunch of fresh seafood and a variety of Vietnamese delicacies as you watch the scenery get better and better! Pass by Da Chong Islet, home to a century old French-built lighthouse. After lunch relax on the sundeck and chat to new friends.
- 3 pm – The last part of the cruise will take us through the incredible Cua Van area of Lan Ha Bay (part of Halong Bay) which is home to more than 300 karst islands and limestone outcrops. The views here are stunning and you will spot many tiny beautiful beaches and floating houses. Take a kayak to explore the amazing seascape for yourself.
- 5 pm – 6.30 pm – Return to our lovely junk boat and get ready for ‘Golden Hour’ – the best time to take amazing sunset photos. Relax on the deck with fellow passengers and enjoy 2-for-1 drinks from our bar!
- 7.15 pm – Dinner is served! Enjoy a delicious slap up meal in our excellent restaurant.
- 8.45 – Midnight – Relax with an exotic cocktail or drink of your choice from our well-stocked bar and soak up the evening atmosphere of this incredible landscape! You can even treat yourself to an indulgent spa service (massage, pedicure etc.), watch a movie, go squid fishing or simply relax on our rooftop deck under a canopy of stars!
DAY 2 # DARK & BRIGHT CAVE + VIET HAI ECO VILLAGE
- 6.30 am – Wake bright and early to experience the best time of day at Lan Ha Bay! Take part in our sunrise Tai Chi session. Or, if you prefer, relax with a cup of coffee, tea or juice and watch the sun rise over the amazing landscape.
- 7 am – Enjoy a breakfast of pastries, fruit and tea and coffee to set you up for your unforgettable day! Arrange your luggage and prepare to check out.
- 7.30 – 9.15 am – Visit the amazing Dark & Bright Cave. Meander through mysterious caves and remote islets of this breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will access by rowing boats which is the best way to experience this landscape and get up close and personal with nature in an authentic local way. After this, we will journey back to the main junk.
- 9.30 am – Say goodbye to the cruise boat and hope on a speed boat to take us to the beautiful eco village of Viet Hai which is just 10 minutes away.
- 9.40 am – Arrive at the quaint and picturesque local island which is home to the self-sustainable Viet Hai Village. Your local host for the day will be waiting at the harbour and transport you by electric car to your luxurious homestay bungalow for the night.
- 10 am – Arrive at the homestay and check into your room. Explore the village at your own leisure. Walk around the traditional houses in the village, wave at farmers with their water buffaloes and local children, take a stroll to the amazing indigenous forest. Don’t forget your camera!
- 12 noon – Enjoy an authentic Vietnamese lunch at the homestay and relax in your new surroundings.
- 1.30 pm – 5 pm – Free time to explore the area. (Option – If you fancy a hike, your guide can lead you on a forest hike where you will explore a mysterious forest cave and hike to an interesting viewpoint to see the surrounding nature.
- 6 pm – Traditional dinner at the homestay with locals and guests.
- 8pm – Join the night time kayaking tour where you will paddle to small coves and hopefully witness the amazing natural phenomena of glowing plankton! This is a dreamy experience and one you will never forget!
- 10pm – Sleep well in your comfortable homestay bungalow in the heart of nature.
DAY 3 # LEAVING VIET HAI VILLAGE
- 8 am – Have breakfast at the homestay. After breakfast, you will have time to explore the village and see the daily life of the local people making rice wine, farming, weaving, cooking.
- 10.45 am – Enjoy a delicious farewell brunch at the homestay, say goodbye to your lovely hosts.
- 11.20 am – Leave behind the tranquility of Viet Hai village and take a speed boat to Beo Pier on Cat Ba Town.
- 11.40 am – Arrive in Cat Ba Town and allow your guide to arrange onward transport for you to wherever you would like to go.
Onward Transport Options (Not included in the Price)
- Cat Ba – Hanoi – Departs at 12:00 PM – Arrive in Hanoi at 16:00 PM. Drop off in Hanoi Old Quarter Area | Price = 15 $USD per person.
- Cat Ba – Ninh Binh – Departs at 13:00 PM – Arrive in Ninh Binh at 18:00 PM. Drop off in Ninh Binh City or Tam Coc Center | Price = 18 $USD per person.
Solo Travellers, Families & Dietary Requirements
- Solo travellers – If you want to do the Real Lan Ha Bay Experience alone, there will be a single supplement (extra cost) of $125 US. If you book the Real Lan Ha Bay Experience as a solo traveller through this website, we will team you up with other travellers to avoid this cost. This may mean that we propose to you an alternative date where there is already a group doing the trip. We will inform you by email about the situation when booking.
- Families with children – This trip is suitable for families with young children.
- Dietary requirements – Are you vegetarian, vegan or have an allergy? Please let us know when booking if you have any special dietary requirements and we will try our best to accommodate.