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Lan Ha Bay (Ha Long Bay)

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Lan Ha Bay is the lesser-known neighbor of Ha Long Bay, situated in Vietnam’s most scenic region. Within the vast turquoise bay there are 2,000 limestone islets, each with a thick mane of green vegetation. The islands’ unique and bizarre shapes have arisen from 500 million years of geological formation. Lan Ha Bay has the same geography as its more popular neighbour but is more isolated, so receives fewer visitors.

The best way to experience the bay is to take a cruise through the many islands. On the water you really get a feel for the scale of the formations, and you can get closer still by taking a rowing boat or a kayak out to explore. On the cruise you also visit the communities of fishermen who live in floating houses on the bay. There are four main fishing villages in the gulf that house a community of over 1,600.