Halong Bay in Vietnam was inscribed as UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 1994.That title gets the destination famed all over the world. Nature lovers have been traveling to the Site, and most of them use adjectives of “renowned and marvelous” to describe Halong Bay.
Halong Bay is the pretty Bay of Quang Ninh Province, in the Northeast of Vietnam. The Bay spreads from Yen Hung District, Cam Pha Town to Van Don District. It is encompassed by the Gulf of Tonkin to the south and southeast, Cat Ba Island to the west and southwest, and China to the north. It has the area of 1.553 km2 including 1.969 islands of various sizes, most of them are limestone. About the karst geological formation of Halong Bay, it took place about 500 million years ago. The combinations of natural environment, weather and geology have made Halong the rich biological destination that is perfect for ecotourism.
Legend of Halong Bay
The image of Halong Bay with thousands of islands can be compared to the jewels released by the flocks of dragons. About the marvelous formation of Halong, there aretwo notable legends to consider.
Legend 1: In the early days of the old Vietnam, the country was invaded by the cruel enemies. To help the Vietnamese fight against the invaders, the Jade Emperor sent the Mother Dragon and her children to the land. The holy entities incinerated the enemies by the magic fires and giant emeralds. Legendarily, the emeralds then formed the unbeatable wall in the sea battlefield that caused the enemies’ fleet to sink. After that, Vietnam gained peace. It was the magical wall of the emeralds that turned into various islands. Appreciating the friendliness of people and beauty of the land, the Mother Dragon and her children decided to stay in Vietnam. They turned into human form and helped others to build up the country. To show respect and gratitude to the divine help, the ancestors named the Bay where the Mother Dragon descended as “Halong Bay” and the Bay where her children descended as “Bai Tu Long Bay” (which means “Thanks to the Dragon’s Children”).
Legend 2: When the old Vietnam was invaded, there was a Dragon flying along the sea and then descending on the area of the southeast. The body of the Dragon became the giant wall preventing the invaders. The place where the Dragon descended to protect the country was named as Halong.
Attractions in Halong Bay
The landscape of Halong Bay features the perfect blend of the rocks, seawater, and sky. Coming to Halong, you see the big resources of islands, and each island contains many caves and beaches. The terrace of the Halong includes islands, mountains, beaches, and limestone towers that create the impeccable picture of nature.
Beaches and Islands in the legendary bay of Ha Long
The islands in Halong Bay have the unique shapes and sizes. There is an island in the shape of the human head (Dau Nguoi Islet); the other islands look similar to fighting cock (Ga Choi Islet), like the monkey (Khi Islet), etc. Most of the islands have their names as a result of the extraordinary shapes. Besides, some attractions are named due to their mystic legends as well as special products.
Con Coc Islet
Con Coc Islet (Frog Islet) is about 12km away to the southeast of Bai Chay Tourist Wharf. This is the very nice rock in the shape of the frog with 9m high. It is so interesting to view such “rocky frog” in the middle of the emerald water. Imagination is boundless.
Ga Choi Islet
Ga Choi Islet (Fighting Cock Islet) is amongst the most famous islets in Halong Bay, about 5km away from Bai Chay Tourist Wharf. The islet is in the shape of a couple of cock and hen, with the height of over 10m. It looks unstable and interesting. The islet becomes a symbol on the logo of Halong Bay.
Ngoc Vung Island
Encompassing this island is lots of beautiful white sand beaches, Van Xuan Mountain of 182m high, and archaeological area of Halong Culture. Ngoc Vung Island is 12km2 wide, and it covers many valuable historical remnants from the old wharf of the 11th century to the capital heritages of Nguyen Reign. The name of the islet is derived from a legend about the shining pearls.
Ti Top Island
Ti Top is around 14km to the east of Bai Chay Tourist Wharf. The islands got its name in the year of 1962 when President Ho Chi Minh visited Halong Bay together with the Russian astronaut Gherman Titov. Regarding the beauty of Ti Top, it lies on the steep rocks, the white sandbank, and the emerald beaches that are ideal for sightseeing, swimming, kayaking, kite surfing, etc.
Tuan Chau Island
Around 4km away from Bai Chay Tourist Wharf, Tuan Chau Island has the area of 3km2. In 2001, the big road connecting the island and the mainland was built, which helped the area to develop tourism. At present, Tuan Chau owns the luxurious complex of entertainment centers, hotels, restaurants, artificial beaches and Halong Bay tourist cruises wharf.
Caves and Grottoes in Ha Long Bay
Sung Sot Cave
This cave surprises all visitors, which results in its name: The Surprising Cave. It is one of the biggest and pretties caves in Halong Bay. The cave is discovered on Bo Hon Island, in the center of Halong, and is about 25m above the sea level. Sung Sot Cave has been noted since the exploration of 1946. Then, it gets renovated with the light system and accessible route for the explorers to see the beauty of stalagmites and stalactites, and interesting rocks in shapes of Saint Giong.
Thien Cung Cave
The Cave has an elevation of 25m above the sea level. The interior of the Cave looks similar to the heaven with astonishing stalagmites and marvelous stalactites. The steep cliff is featured with lots of appealing carvings such as daily human activities, dancing fairies, birds and fish, animal gathering, etc. The deeper you enter, the bigger the cave is, leading you from one admiration to another.
Dau Go Cave
When looking at this cave from a distance, people see the top of the cave emerging as the top of the chump floating. Therefore, they name the cave as “Dau Go.” The local fishermen usually shelter themselves inside the cave to relax and rest if storms come. Of course, this cave is very breathtaking.
How to Get to Halong Bay
The car is the most popular way to reach Halong Bay from Hanoi in 4 hours one way. You drive on Highway 18, go through Tuan Chau Island, Bai Chay Road, and Hon Gai Bridge.
The airway is the other great way. Take a flight from Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, or Nha Trang to arrive at Hanoi or Hai Phong Airport. Then, transfer to Halong Bay by car.
The train is no longer used. In 2010, there used to be a Hanoi – Halong Bay rail line, but the service is stopped.
The seaplane or helicopter is the modern means of transport to reach Halong from Hanoi in 45 minutes. The high-class service is safe, comfortable, and quick. If you need to book Halong Cruise Package Tour combined with seaplane or helicopter transportation, contact the Vietnam local travel agency Indochina Charm Travel right now for best deals !
Best Time to See Halong Bay in Vietnam
- April to October: The summer is hot and humid with occasional rain.
- November to March: The winter is chilly and dry with the cold wind.
Based on the common belief, summertime is the best time to visit Halong Bay so that you can go out and enjoy outdoor hobbies. Besides, summertime has the festive atmosphere with Halong Tourism Festival (in April, perhaps) and Halong Carnival (in May, maybe).
The period between August and November might face some typhoons. And if typhoons occur, the cruise journey will be canceled. When it comes to December and January, the frozen air might dominate the land. Just due to your preference, plan a trip to Halong Bay comfortably!