The characteristics of electroluminescence (EL) and photoluminescence (PL) emission from GaN light-emitting diodes (LEDs) grown on (11 (2) over bar2) semipolar plane and (0001) polar plane have been comparatively investigated. Through different bias-dependent shifting trends observed from the PL and time-resolved PL spectra (TRPL) for the two types of LEDs, the carrier dynamics within the multiple quantum wells (MQWs) region is systematically analyzed and the distinct field-dependent emission kinetics are revealed. Moreover, the polarization induced internal electric field has been deduced for each of the LEDs. The relatively stable emission behavior observed in the semipolar LED is attributed to the smaller polarization induced internal electric field. The study provides meaningful insight for the design of quantum well (QW) structures with high radiative recombination rates. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.