Cruise ship at anchor in Bai Tu Long Bay, Vietnam.

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Bai Tu Long National Park

Bai Tu Long Bay

The spectacular islands of Bai Tu Long Bay, immediately northeast of Halong Bay, form Bai Tu Long National Park and are every bit as beautiful as their famous neighbour. In some ways the park is actually more stunning, since it’s only in its early stages as a destination for travellers. The bay and its islands are still unpolluted and relatively undeveloped.

As with Halong Bay, the best way to experience the full limestone-pinnacle-scattered seascape is on a cruise, though there are relatively few outfits that tackle the area. Hanoi-based companies such as Ethnic Travel (, do overnight trips; alternatively, Cat Ba Ventures can organise a custom tour.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Bai Tu Long Bay attractions

1. Minh Chau Beach

8.05 MILES

The beautiful 1km-long crescent-moon sweep of Minh Chau Beach, 12km from Quan Lan town on the northeastern coast, is the island's main drawcard. Between…

2. Quan Lan Pagoda

10.55 MILES

The only attraction within Quan Lan Town itself is this beautiful 200-year-old pagoda, flanked by the town's communal house and a temple, all of which are…

3. Van Chay Beach

17.27 MILES

Located in the northwestern corner of Co To Island is broad Van Chay Beach. During the summer months it's home to lots of food stalls, as well as kayak…

4. Bac Van Beach

18.43 MILES

Directly north of Hong Van Beach is its slightly scruffier sister, Bac Van Beach. It's quieter, but coarse sand and water not quite deep enough for…

5. Mong Rong Headland

19.68 MILES

For coastal scenery beyond the beaches, head south from town for 3km, bearing left at the pond, to the flagpole and headland of Mong Rong, where walking…

6. Hong Van Beach

20.08 MILES

Most Vietnamese visitors make a beeline for Hong Van Beach – and justifiably so. It's nearly 3km of fine, white sand lapped by blue water and backed by a…

7. Hang Trong

27.19 MILES

Hang Trong has wide-arched entrances on either side and a ceiling clustered with stalactites. It's so named because when the wind blows through its…

8. Beach No 1

27.35 MILES

This wide and sandy beach offers good sunset strolls and views of the cruise ships and lighthouse. It's accessible behind the massive Sunworld complex.