Halong Bay is known as not only a UNESCO world heritage but also one of the world famous natural wonders.
Few people know that Ha Long Bay Complex consists of two other pristine beautiful bays, Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay. We can call them in a short way, Ha Long Bay.
With many landscapes, diverse and abundant flora and fauna with great archaeological and geological significance, with a mark attached to cultural and historical values and near the international gateway, Ha Long Bay is considered is one of Vietnam’s most famous places with international travelers.
Halong Bay is located in the west of the Gulf of Tonkin Vietnam, about 170 km from Hanoi or 3.5-4 hours by car. Ha Long city center is located close to the sea in the north of the bay. Halong Bay has a total area of 1,553 km2, including two famous bays, Bai Tu Long Bay in the east and Lan Ha Bay (where Cat Ba Island is located) in the south.
Ha Long Bay is not only known to tourists for its natural caves created from millions of years scattered on 1,969 islands, large and small but also world famous for its abundant vegetation and creature.
History & culture
According to the legend
Many theories are surrounding the appearance of Ha Long Bay, perhaps more than any other Vietnamese landscape. But the most widely circulated story is told: all the islands are large and small on Halong Bay (Literally, Ha Long Bay means where Dragon descends) are precious gems created by Dragon Mother, forming strong walls to help people fight invaders. Each cave in the bay also holds in itself a mysterious story. These are colorful stories reflecting the spiritual and emotional life of Vietnamese people such as couple love, the desire to dream of rich and poor in life, etc.
Many studies have shown that 18,000 years ago, people lived on Ha Long Bay. Some relics of Soi Nhu culture (in the middle of the Stone Age) and Ha Long culture (after the Stone Age) are also found here.
Ha Long Bay also witnessed many crucial milestones of Vietnamese history such as the naval battle of Ngo Quyen defeated the Nam Han army in 938, Hung Dao Vuong Tran Quoc Tuan won against the Nguyen Mong enemy 3rd time in 1288.
People & Culture
Ha Long city is divided into 2 main areas: Hon Gai political and cultural center and Bai Chay entertainment & tourist area. Currently, due to the development of infrastructure combined with the demand for sightseeing and shopping of tourists, the function of these two areas is no longer clearly divided. In addition to these two areas, a small part of the population still lives and earns their living entirely in floating fishing villages.
About religion, Buddhism is the main religion of the local people. In addition to the large temples in Ha Long City, there are many temples-small temples, and shrines scattered across the rocky mountains or in the fishing villages on the bay. Every time they set sail, fishers stopped here to pray for a safe and bumper trip.
Geological value – geomorphology
Ha Long Bay is known by global tourists as the world natural wonder, but not many tourists know that UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has recognized Ha Long Bay as the List of World Natural Heritage by the stand out in two aspects: aesthetics and geology – geomorphology, they are really valuable for this place. Many studies show that the limestone mountains here have experienced more than 500 million years under various conditions and environments to create special and rare landscapes like today.
Most of the islands on Ha Long Bay are Phong Linh morphological form (Fenglin karst), one of the rarest limestone shapes. Most of the islands are made up of towering conical limestone blocks. Most are very steep cliffs!
The islands are independently scattered on the bay with a height of from 50 to 100m and the height ratio – width of about 6:1. Another karst form in Ha Long is Phong Tung (Fengcong karst) with the prominent feature of high floating masses bunched together into several peaks, between them hollow pits and funnels. The beautiful scenery of Ha Long Bay is not the only harmony between heaven and sea but also in the cave; it contains thousands of thousands of unique works of stalactites from Mother Nature.
Among them, the current governing bodies still close a large number of stone caves for conservation purposes. Only a few are open to visitors. Caves that are popular with tourists can be mentioned as Thien Cung Cave, Dau Go Cave, Sung Sot Cave, Bo Nong Cave, and Trinh Nu Cave.
On Ha Long Bay, small islands mostly have low shrubs while large islands are home to many rare birds with typical tropical vegetation. Especially Cat Ba Island, where Cat Ba National Park is located, attracts tourists not only because of the pristine, beautiful beaches but also a huge biological storehouse. It has primeval tropical rainforest to submerged forests and coral reefs. The island is also home to some rare primates such as the Cat Ba Langur (also known as the golden-headed langur), the animal in the current red book only about 60 fish survive on Earth.
Besides, Ha Long Bay is also home to more than 1,000 marine animals, more than 160 types of corals have been identified. In areas with corals, the coverage density accounts for about 30% of the sea floor area (especially in some places 80%) with a common depth of 4 – 6m above sea level.
Ha Long Bay is indeed a world wonder, one of the biggest tourist attractions in Vietnam. It is also where you can swim delighted on the pristine, beautiful beaches, kayaking on the blue waters; discover towering rocky mountains that seem high up into the blue sky on the islands; Enjoy fresh local seafood dishes while admiring the beautiful sunset or sunrise. Let’s visit, experience and enjoy the holiday in Halong Bay!