First, let’s explain the differences between the bays of the Tonkin golf course and of course why we chose to take a cruise to Bai Tu Long bay. Ha Long Bay attracts millions of visitors each year and is home to thousands of boats. This is due to the well-deserved notoriety of the site and the imagination it arouses. However what about “its neighbours”, Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay? Many tourists have considered these bays as the must-see destinations in Vietnam. Unfortunately, you don’t have enough time to explore all three. You wonder how these bays are different from Ha Long Bay and if you will miss something in Lan Ha Bay, in Bai Tu Long Bay if you choose Halong Bay and vice versa ?

This article provides you with all the information on the 3 bays and will help you make your final decision as well as our experience at Tu Long Bay.

Halong Bay

Halong Bay is recognised as one of the 7 wonders of nature and still retains its charm. It is a place of exceptional beauty. However, hundreds of boats and tourists, especially in high season, are in the bay every day. So, it is the most frequented among the three.

Lan Ha Bay

Called “forgotten paradise”, Lan Ha bay is the smallest bay in the trinity. It is located south of its famous neighbour. It is less touristy, less inhabited, and as beautiful as Halong Bay itself. With around 400 beaches, it is very easy for you to find your own ideal place for swimming, snorkelling.If you like adventure, go hiking, when you choose between Lan Ha Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay and Halong Bay, Horizon Vietnam Travel highly recommends Lan Ha Bay. As a kayaking paradise, Lan Ha Bay even allows you to paddle in a cave!

Bai Tu Long bay

Located east of Halong Bay and close to the Sino-Vietnamese border, cruise in Bai Tu Long Bay brings unexpected and original wonder.There is a peaceful atmosphere for a more autonomous visit to the islands and caves, this is Bai Tu Long bay. A landscape similar to Ha Long Bay with remarkably clear waters and less touristy attractions, Bai Tu Long Bay has its own magic. You will never know what you will find there and it is hard to imagine how beautiful and breathtaking it is.There are many pleasures and attractions in this bay: the fishing village of VungVieng, Da Xep park, ThienCanh Son cave, Tam Cung cave and Ban Chan beach,….

It is with great pleasure that we take you to discover Bai Tu Long Bay, one of the natural wonders of the world, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located approximately 4 hours’ drive from Hanoi, this site is located in the Tonkin Gulf of the China Sea. This vast maritime bay is the largest in the world. It never ceases to attract travellers who are always amazed by the exceptional landscapes that the bay of Bai Tu Long Bay can offer. Very similar to Ha Long Bay, it is less touristy, however, which makes the trip all the more pleasant.

Now let’s talk about what interests you most: the landscapes! Leaving the port we gradually discover the many karst peaks in the bay, it’s very impressive, it feels like a movie set (The guide also told us that one of the James Bond films should have been filmed on this site but that the Vietnamese government refused at the last moment). We were lucky because the weather was clear, but even with overcast weather there is no doubt that the landscapes must be as beautiful!

So … which one would you choose? That depends on you but if you don’t want a tourist spot that isn’t too crowded, Bai Tu Long Bay is the best option.


Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.

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