Are you traveling on a Vietnam tour and looking for an alternative to Halong Bay that is right outside of Hanoi and a whole lot less crowded? Halong Bay is legendary for a reason, but it turns out it’s not the only place of its kind. Here’s the low down on what to expect from Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay:
First, let’s take a look on the reasons that explain for the difference on these 2 bay’s names
Well, legend has it that the gods sent a family of dragons to protect the Vietnamese against invaders. After a battle victory, the mother dragon chose to settle in Halong Bay and her children attended to her from the nearby Bai Tu Long Bay. But you know what? The scientific explanation isn’t too unimpressive either. It took a good 20 million years under the impact of the tropical wet climate for the bay’s 2,000 islets to form.
Why travel to Halong Bay?
Long time ago, Halong Bay was considered one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world, it’s even on par with Machu Picchu as far as “things you really ought to see before you die” go.
Amazingly wonderful Halong Bay
While Halong Bay’s notoriety has left it a bit over-developed and sadly swarmed littering tourists, the bay itself is a true marvel. Halong Bay offers a higher density of karsts than it’s neighboring Bai Tu Long, and also allows you to sleep on the boat overnight which is pretty cool.
Why travel to Bai Tu Long Bay?
Never heard of it? I used to either. But you know, that’s the thing that makes Bai Tu Long the perfect alternative to Halong Bay. It’s pretty much the same thing, except no one has had the chance to spoil it.
It’s pretty calmer and more peaceful than Halong Bay.
From local dock to pristine islands, Bai Tu Long Bay is every bit as unaffected as you’d first imagine Halong Bay to be. The waters are stiller and you can cruise for hours without spotting another tourist boat. The only real drawbacks to Bai Tu Long are that you’re technically not seeing The Halong Bay, the density of islands is ever so slightly less, and the protected status of Bai Tu Long Bay prohibits boats from anchoring overnight.
Is Bai Tu Long a good alternative to Halong bay?
We say yes, but it depends what you’re looking for. Halong Bay is a bit more impressive but you’ll never once feel like you have it to yourself. Bai Tu Long is pretty similar, and being the only boat is pretty amazing.
If you have 3 days for the trip, it is possible for you to experience both Halong and Bai Tu Long Bay. We think this is the best way to do it.
When to visit
Want to actually see the karsts? The best time to travel to Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay is from October–January when obstructive rain and fog are at their least. If you’re in Vietnam between February-April, expect a bizarre drizzle that makes the already surreal landscape into something otherworldly. Finally, while cruising is still possible, May-September is best characterized by unexpected tropical storms that have been known to derail even the most well-planned of trips. If you’re flexible, the very best month to go is November.
If you want to discover more beautiful places in Vietnam, but have no idea where to go exactly, you can search for some potential destinations in this list below: