Halong Bay means ‘the Bay where the Dragon descends into’, is located in Vietnam’s northeastern seacoast, and administratively belongs to Halong City, Quang Ninh Province.
Seeking a travel hub that is a mystical and magnificent feat of nature that never fails to impress? The one and only Halong Bay can be put into your list as a must-come spot when visiting the Northeast of Vietnam. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site twice, Halong Bay is under the management of both Quang Ninh and Hai Phong provinces.
The whole bay is about 1,500 square kilometers, consisting of 1,969 islands and islets made from karst limestone towering like skyscrapers throughout the bay. Halong Bay has two forms of islands: limestone and schist islands, concentrated mainly in the southeastern region (belonging to Bai Tu Long Bay) and the southwestern area (belonging to Halong Bay). These islands aged more than 280 years of creating geology.
Fishing village in Halong Bay
Visiting Halong Bay is like stepping into a beautiful painting, where the sky harmonized with fresh green water, embellished by giant stone mountains. With so much to offer for travelers, Halong promises you an overwhelmed feeling right the moment you arrive at the place. From world leaders, and celebrities, to Hollywood directors, Halong Bay has probably welcomed them all, which proved how important the representation of Vietnam is to the rest of the world.
Halong Bay History
Halong Bay is sculptured by the tectonic movement for over 500 million years. Historical research has shown the presence of prehistorical human beings in this area tens of thousands of years ago.
The very first legend explains its special name, meaning the “Landing dragon”. Legend has it that the Vietnamese prayed for a miracle when they had to face invasions. Responding to the payers, Emperor Jade sent a mother dragon with her children down to protect the land. They were spitting out jewels and jade which turned into islands and islets dotting the emerald green water to fight against the enemy, which explains the beauty of such a bay for the locals.
Halong Bay view from above
Before today's era, the bay has a long history through Soi Nhu Culture (18,000 – 7,000 B.C.), Cai Beo Culture (7,000 – 5,000 B.C.), Halong Culture (3,000 – 1,500 B.C.), and Feudal period. The feudal period played an important part in one of the most glorious pages in Vietnam history, in which King Ngo Quyen stopped Liu Hongcao ships from colonizing battle nearby Bach Dang River by placing steel-tipped wooden stakes hidden in Dau Go Cave (meaning “Wooden stakes” cave). Bach Dang's victory marked the end of 1,000 years of Chinese domination, opening up an independence age for Vietnam.
Top Halong Bay Tourist Attractions
- Sung Sot Cave: Legend tells that after defeating the An aggressors, Thanh Giong (the Saint Giong) helped villagers chase devils and demons away from the village and flew to heaven. He left his stone horse and swore to keep protecting his people. Sung Sot Cave was where villagers keep all the vestige of arms and Saint Giong’s horse footprint, which has become a small lake with huge stones surrounding it. The name “Sung Sot” (which means “Amazed feeling”) would definitely describe how travelers feel about the Top 10 most beautiful caves on Earth. The cave was first found in 1901 by French travelers and called Grotte Des Surprises (The Cave of Surprises) in a travel book established in 1938. Being one of the widest and most special caves, Sung Sot Cave is located in the center of the Bay, inside Bo Hon Island. Despite having a small gate, the cave amazed visitors with its giant inner space, which probably explains the surprising name.
Sung Sot cave
- Ti Top Island: In the early years, the island was less known and called the “Graveyard” island. The name was in memorial of the death of a French cargo ship crew, who faced disaster nearby and was buried on the island. It was kept until 1962 when Ho Chi Minh visited the island with a Soviet astronaut named Gherman Ti Top. He asked the locals to name this island after Gherman, from then, Ti Top island has become the symbol of friendship between Vietnam and the Soviet Union. Unlike 2,000 other tourist spots in Halong, Ti Top not only have a beautiful nature view but also owns a fabulous sandy beach called Ti Top Beach or Vang Trang Beach (which means the Moon beach, because the sandy beach looks like the moon hanging onto the island mountain). If you have only seen one picture of Halong Bay, it is more likely taken from the crest of Ti Top Island.
Titop Island in Halong Bay
- Dau Go Cave: History recorded an event when Dau Go Cave was the place where spear-shaped woodpiles were hidden by Vietnam soldiers to build a battlefield and destroy Mongol ships during the war against their invasion in the 13th This was Tran Hung Dao’s, known as Tran King, strategy for such underdog to win over huge Mongolian army. Dau Go Cave has a huge 5,000 square-meter space inside. From the outside, the cave’s gate is filled with an emerald hue with the shape of a jellyfish. Surprised by the beauty of Dau Go Cave, Khai Dinh King once wrote a poem praising it and engraved it on the left side of the cave.
Halong Bay Culture
The area is less populated compared to other cities in Vietnam due to the fact that the government has moved all floating village residents to the mainland for better living standards, leaving the whole bay for tourism. Halong residents are friendly and hospitable since their main income is driven by tourism, besides fishing. The locals can take tourists on squid fishing trips and many other local activities when coming to their floating villages.
Halong Bay Weather
Located in the North of Vietnam with a tropical monsoon climate. Four distinct weather comes along with four seasons. The most popular period for visitors is from October to December when the weather is not sweaty, the water is still calm as summer and the sky is most clearly blue.
Sunset in Halong Bay
Halong Bay Transportation
The most common yet time-consuming option to get to Halong Bay is by shuttle service booked through agents or private cars. The next option is through air transfer, from professional flights to seaplane services or a helicopter, which provides you with a scenic bird’s eye view of the bay. Another least popular option is to travel by water, which can only be done if you are on a trans-pacific cruise stopping in major spots.
Most popular routes transfer:
There are many tour cruises that offer tourists a full serviced journey comfortably. You can look for Halong Bay Cruise as a preferred option.
After all, getting to know the essential Halong Bay tourist information at BestPrice Travel can help you make the best plan, especially for first-timers.