Real Lan Ha Bay Experience | 3 Days | from HANOI, VIETNAM

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(5 customer reviews)
100% of travellers gave more than 4 star rating.

Are you looking for an alternative to the touristy, party cruises of Halong Bay?

  • Escape the crowds on this one-of-a-kind boat trip to Lan Ha Bay, the region’s best-kept secret!
  • Step aboard a 3* boutique junk and explore the hidden gems that most tourists will miss… Explore remote areas of Lan Ha Bay, visit a mysterious cave and spend the night at a homestay in a sustainable eco-village in the heart of Cat Ba.
  • All of the best bits of Halong Bay, with no hassle!


A traveller from Ipswich & 5 others recently booked this activity.
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  • Deposit 100% refundable.
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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 North Vietnam! Step aboard a charming cruise ship 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!

Please note: The price is $269 per person for groups of 2 sharing one Double/Twin Room(Cabin). 

Itinerary – Real Lan Ha Bay Experience – 3 Days, 2 Nights

  • START – DAY 1: Hanoi 7:30 am.
  • FINISH – DAY 3: Hanoi 4:15 pm or 6:45 pm.


07h30 – 7h45: You will be collected from Hanoi Old Quarter to take the highway to the Port (Haiphong) where we arrive at around 11h30.

12h15: We welcome our guests onboard the cruise and then check in, enjoy Welcome Drink, receive cruise brief and safety instruction by crew member and Cruise Manager.

12h30: We have lunch before continuing our journey via the islets. These amazing limestone karst formations rise up out of the sea in an impressive manner. This area is untouched, as not many cruise ships use the route via the Cat Ba Island – Coc Ngoi islet – through Cua Dong to Ba Trai Dao area.

14h30: The Cruise sails through Lan Ha Bay. The area is surrounding of extraordinary limestone karsts landscapes. You can start your journey to visit Dark & Bright Cave and islets by kayaking which is a wild and mysterious beauty in the middle of the World Heritage, enjoy swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the Bay.

15h30: Just enjoy a swim. This is a great experience, immersed in the crystal-clear waters of the bay.

16:45 Returning your Venezia Cruises boat you can watch the magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. Onboard you may join a traditional cooking class. Our chef will instruct you in the making of some Vietnam spring-roll. In the early evening the boat has it’s Happy Hour deal.

19h00: Dinner is served. Enjoy delicious local food prepared and served for you by our wonderful onboard catering staff. This is a delightful meal in an intimate romantic setting.

21h00: Enjoy the landscape of the bay at night up on the top deck. Relax


06h00: Begin your new day with taking photos, or enjoy the sunrise from your cabin window or from the sun-deck.

07h00 Enjoy a breakfast in the delighted and peaceful beauty of the bay.

08h30 : Transfer to a tender to visit Viet Hai Village on Cat Ba Island and hop on a bicycle ride (electric car also available) through a rainforest tunnel that leads to a village nestled in a valley deep in a national park. Meet, visit a traditional house, and greet local inhabitants doing their daily work, see their homes and the village school. Return to Venezia Cruises boat for check-out procedures.

Around 10:00 Get dropped off at our Homestay and check into your room. Feel free to explore the area: The village plays host to traditional houses; in the surrounding areas you will find local farmers and their water buffaloes plowing the green fields; and the indigenous forest is a sight to behold. Be sure to take your camera along as you discover this serene island and her inhabitants.

12:00 Enjoy lunch at the homestay and take a moment to rest & relax.

13:30 – 17:00 Our host will show you the map of Viet Hai, leading you into the forest for a hike and exploration of a mysterious cave.

18:00 Enjoy a traditional dinner at the homestay

20:00 – 21:30 Join a kayaking tour, paddling to small coves under starlight and maybe even witnessing glowing plankton transform this already idyllic landscape into a dreamscape!


08:00 Breakfast is served at the homestay, after which you have free time to visit the village to see the daily life of the local people (making rice wine, farming…)

10:45 Farewell brunch served at the homestay before taking a boat to Beo Pier.
11.20 Leave Viet Hai Village by speed boat.

11.40 Arrived in Beo Pier, Cat Ba Town. Our host will get a taxi for you to go to the drop off point in Cat Ba Town where you can take the connection bus to Hanoi or Ninh Binh

Solo Travellers, Families & Dietary Requirements

  • 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.
  • Price – The price is $269 USD per person for groups of 2 sharing one Double/Twin Room(Cabin). 

Refund Policy

  • In order to book this experience, you will need to pay a deposit online via South East Asia Backpacker.
  • This deposit is fully refundable if you wish to cancel up until 48 hours before the start of the activity. PLEASE NOTE: This policy refers to the payment made to South East Asia Backpacker at the time of booking. All subsequent payments to the operator of your chosen activity fall under their own refund policy
  • For cancellations made fewer than 48 hours before the start of the activity there is no refund available.
  • You can request a change of date at any time.
  • Date changes are entirely down to the availability of the operator and nothing to do with South East Asia Backpacker. 
  • If your date change is not agreed upon, as long as it is more than 48 hours before the start date you originally made your booking for, your deposit can be refunded in full if you wish to cancel.
  • The remaining payment for the experience is payable directly to the operator.
  • The operator can request the remaining payment via an online payment link or upon arrival at the destination.
  • The refund of the second payment, which goes directly to the operator, is based on the terms and conditions of the operator, over which South East Asia Backpacker have no control.
  • Please see our customer terms and conditions for more information.

What's Included


  • Transport from Hanoi
  • Pick up at your hotel in the old quarter
  • All meals during the trip.
  • All activities as outlined in the itinerary: Kayaking, visiting the Dark & Bright Cave, Forest Hike with Guide, Night Kayaking to see bioluminescent plankton.
  • English speaking guide.
  • Accommodation: One night on the boat, one night on the homestay.

Not Included

  • Travel Insurance.
  • Water, Soft & Alcoholic Drinks.
  • Snacks.
  • Tips.

Why Book With Us?

Hi, I’m Nikki and I started South East Asia Backpacker in 2008 after my own first solo backpacking trip! My vision was to create a travel diary for everyone, a place for travellers to share their experiences from the road. After backpacking and writing about Southeast Asia for over 10 years, I saw the opportunity to provide backpackers with the kind of experiences that I’d treasured myself in the region! 

Today, there is so much choice, but there are a lot of poor-quality tours and companies that offer mediocre experiences with little care for the environment. I wanted to create a selection of the best tours and activities to help backpackers avoid scams and dodgy tour companies.

Today, I run this website with my partner, Dave, from Spain, where we live with our energetic two-year-old daughter, Evie. All of the bookable activities that you will find on this website have been vetted by a member of our team and we have a friendly relationship with the operator. There are real humans behind South East Asia Backpacker and we are passionate about sustainable travel and development in Southeast Asia.

We are committed to helping travellers at every stage of the journey and understand that plans can change which is why we offer a full discount on the deposit up to 48 hours before the start of your trip, no questions asked. We offer advice on flights, visas, itineraries, hostels, backpacks, packing and more!

If you have any questions about our business or any of the tours that we provide, feel free to contact me on Whatsapp.

Operator Information

5 reviews for Real Lan Ha Bay Experience | 3 Days | from HANOI, VIETNAM

  1. Stephanie

    Not quite as advertised, but still good. We booked this tour but the details in our itinerary differed from what was offered— we got picked up off the (amazing) boat earlier than our itinerary and thus missed the brunch on the boat, and got to the island very very early (before 9am) without any input on things to do or see until our hike to the top of a mountain which was also later in the day than our itinerary (2pm). The views were amazing but there were no caves. Additionally, we did not get the night kayaking which was something I was most looking forward to. Overall, it was an amazing experience and the boat was phenomenal, but a few tweaks would have made it perfect

  2. Maureen

    We made the right choice booking this unique tour. The Lan Ha Bay cruise was very well organized, lovely helpful staff, no crowds or pollution, and amazing feasts for the meals, which included all kinds of fresh seafood. First class. We loved the speedboat ride to the village harbour. A beautiful home stay with lots of interest. The guide was terrific. We had a hike to a bat cave and the most magical night kayak to see the phosphorescent plankton. He also arranged transport for us to the hotel we were going to outside Cat Ba Town. Note there is a weekend premium fee and Visa payment charge for this tour — that might be a standard practice. So it was more expensive than advertised but still great value for money. Highly recommend it.

  3. Anna Ford

    This cruise was amazing!! We booked for seven people (one vegan and two vegetarian)—they were super accommodating and we had wonderfully clean rooms and a really great adventure. The viet hai village was beautiful and the stay with the local people was a very cool experience. Lots of fun activities included as well.

  4. Sarah Horton

    This was a great tour with much care and attention given to details. Even though the weather was not great we still had a memorable trip. Food on the boat was amazing. Comfy beds. Professional crew who looked after us very well. The home stay in Viet Hai was beautifully quiet after the chaos and pollution of Hanoi. Truly authentic. Good English speaking guide for the hike up the mountain and wonderful hospitality from our hosts. Recommended.

  5. Marko Pende

    The Lan Ha Bay Tour was truly a great experience. I would recommend it at any time as a super alternative to the Ha long bay short trips. The overnight stay at the village was very cool and the people very nice. The view after the hike was breathtaking

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