Rising from the majestic Gulf of Tonkin, Halong Bay is a place where mystic legend and vivid landscape combine. A vast area of emerald waters dotted with towering limestone karts and thousand of tiny islets – this bay is also covered by the mist of mystery as a great number of folklore have emerged from this natural wonder.
In 1994, Halong Bay was inscribed in the UNESCO’s list of World Heritages. This is a must-visited place for any tourist who desires to discover the natural beauty of Vietnam.

Halong – An Ideal Tropical Seascape

Halong Bay from above with thousands of islets

Halong Bay from above with thousands of islets

Halong Bay is located in the province of Quang Ninh and the coastal town of Halong. From the capital of Hanoi it takes about 3.5 hours of travel by car. Stretching over an immense area of 600 square miles, this place of wonder has it all: ethereal seascape, over 1600 islands and islets surrounded by vast tropical forest, spectacular limestone caves and numerous inhabited, undiscovered areas. The weather is expected from a tropical coastal land: moist, hot and windy. Eastern winds makes it amazingly pleasant even in the hottest summer and thanks to the special topography, the bay doesn’t suffer any threat from dire storms or any natural disaster.

Where Myth and Legend Reign

Enchanted and mysterious, this sparkling sea also harbors several extraordinary legend and folklore, in which the most famous one is about the origin of its name: Halong or Descending Dragon. Ancient legend claimed that this bay was created by heavenly creatures: a group of dragons sent by the King of Heaven to defend Vietnam from her invaders. The dragons threw jews and jades to the sea and the bay was formed. Some folktales, however, rumored that the karst towers in Halong were the results of a dragon landing into the sea.
However, archaeologists have proved the existence of human around this land about 18,000 years ago. Some of the caves have dated back to the Mesolithic age and the Neolithic age. Because they have witnessed several millenniums passing by, these caves were often painted with the color of myth and miracle. Such well-known caves of Halong as the Heavenly Cave (Hang Thien Cung), the Cave of Stakes (Dau Go Cave), or Surprise Cave (Hang Sung Sot) all have a story behind them, either about wars, adventure or lovelorn.

Thien Cung Cave in Halong Bay

Thien Cung Cave in Halong Bay

Things to do in Halong Bay

Going on a cruise trip in Halong Bay

Going on a cruise trip in Halong Bay

Halong Bay is indeed a paradise for tourists who loves the sense of discovery and aim for an adventurous journey. There is an abundant of available activities from water sports like water motorbike, parachute to cycling around the coastline, trekking in the island’s forest. Nevertheless, the most chosen activities is a journey on one of Halong’s luxurious cruises or simply a local boat. A sea tour on the boat will take you to a dozen of mesmerizing islands. Visitors can enjoy a sunbath while beholding the majestic wonder of towering limestone karsts or call for a stop on one of the emerald island to swim and dive among the kingdom of corals below. Halong’s seafood also lies among the excellence. The locals have their unique way of presenting fresh, brightly red crabs and silver sparkling fishes smothered in a mouth-watering aroma of herbs and flowery decoration.

A variety of seafood in Halong

A variety of seafood in Halong

Preserve the diversity of Halong Bay

Recently, the government of Quang Ninh has implemented several policies, regulations and mechanisms regarding the conservation of Halong Bay. Dozens of scientific projects are being conducted to further investigate and survey the value of biodiversity, geology and hydrology of this site. As research have been carried out and tourism activities have continued to be promoted, it is important to preserve the nature of Halong from being spoiled and exploited. Tourists are advised not to leave plastic items, garbage, rubbish or any indecomposable products on the beach, the sea and the islands’ island.