Interesting facts about Halong Bay

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Halong Bay means ‘Bay of the Descending Dragons’ and legend has it that the islands were formed from the jewels and jade dropped from the mouth of dragons sent by gods.

It has an area of roughly 1500 square kilometres (579 square miles) on the northeast coast of Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin. There is no clear line between Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay.

There are nearly two thousand tall, rocky islands located in the Halong bay. Nearly all of them are not inhabited.

Only less than half of the islands have been named, most of the names are based on the islands shape, for example Voi Islet (elephant), Ga Choi Islet (fighting cock), and Mai Nha Islet (roo

Many limestone cliffs have poetic names, based on their shape too. There are "kissing rocks", and the "elephant rock", "human face" rock and many others.

The unique islands are formed of limestone and schist, eroded over time to form large columns with some spectacular grottos and caves. Nearly all cruise boats visit Surprise Cave in Halong Bay. 

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Some islands host their own lakes, beaches, caves, grottos or resorts, while most are inhabitable and remain untouched due to their height and steep edges.

For centuries the distinct natural beauty of Halong Bay has been the object of inspiration for many famous Vietnamese poets who cruised the Bay.

500 years ago, Nguyen Trai praised the beauty of Ha Long Bay in his verse Lộ nhập Vân Đồn, in which he called it "rock wonder in the sky". Ho Chi Minh described Halong Bay as ‘the wonder that one cannot impart to others”.

Most visitors to Vietnam will often make a cruise trip on Halong bay. It is the only destination that most considers a must visit one for their Vietnam holiday.

Halong bay cruise has been a buzzword in search engines. A most expensive keyword is Halong Bay cruise.

Only few years back, most people know Quang Ninh as a coal mine more than Halong Bay. Earnings from tourism in Halong bay has increased sharply and will soon replace coal production.

Nearly all hotels, tour operators and travel agents sell Halong bay cruise even though they do not operate such cruises.

There are thousands of cruise boats (junks) operating in Halong bay. Most are built of hard timber. Only two vessels are built of steel (the Au Co and the Emeraude Classic).

Almost all cruise junks (boats) have sails on board. Yet all use fuel engines, not sails, to cruise the Bay. Actually none sails on the Bay nowadays.

Some of the islands support the community of around 1600 fishermen that live in floating villages, who make a living from the waters that contain 200 species of fish and 450 different kinds of mollusks

Ha Long Bay has experienced at least 500 million years in various geological states of orogeny, marine transgression and marine regression.

Many remarkable geological events in Ha Long Bay’s history have occurred in the last 1,000 years. Some of these include the advance of the sea, the raising of the bay area, the strong erosion that has formed coral, and the pure blue and heavily salted water.

The geomorphology of Ha Long Bay is known as a drowned karst landscape. The limestone of Halong Bay have been eroded into karst features such as fengcong (clusters of conical peaks) and fenglin (isolated tower features)

Halong Bay also hosts offshore coral reefs, freshwater swamp forests and mangrove forests. It is now one of the seven marine protection areas of Vietnam.

It is the only destination in Vietnam that was inscribed to the UNESCO world heritage list twice, in 1994 for its outstanding, universal aesthetic value and in 2000 for outstanding geological and geomorphological value.

It was one of the seven new wonders of the world in 2011 after one of the most popular tourism promotion campaign in Vietnam. As a fully licensed Vietnam Travel Agency, we offer great packaged tours for family holiday in Vietnam.


See other travel updates of this destination:

- List of the famous restaurants in Halong

- When to visit Halong Bay

- Halong Bay Drinks

- Beggars in Halong Bay

- Halong Bay cuisine


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