Ha Long Bay was first recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 for its exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance. In 2000, Ha Long Bay had the honour of being recognised for the second time for its geomorphic and physiographic features.
Many travelers are unaware that Ha Long Bay also has immense value to the world because of its rare concentration of biodiversity, culture and history. And it’s this unique value that makes Ha Long Bay a magical destination where travellers can get up close and personal with the beating heart of Vietnam.
According to the Sino-Vietnamese, “Ha” means descending and “Long” means dragon. “Ha Long” Bay literally means "the bay of the descending dragon", and is a fusion of ancient mythology and Vietnamese history. Same as Vietnam and Viet Nam, Halong is more popular through word of mouth due to existed long term perception while Ha Long is still official name of the bay.
Ha Long Bay is located in Quang Ninh Province, just 180 km east of Hanoi, northeast Vietnam; surrounded by Bai Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay, Cat Ba Island, Tuan Chau Island and Ha Long City. While Halong Bay is not a large area, it packs over 1,960 limestone islands and islets into its 1,553 km2. Limestone towers, green islands and islets boast karst caves, caverns and grottoes, many hidden and still waiting to be discovered. Some islands are completely hollow. Framing the islands are gorgeous beaches, the emerald sea lapping gently on the soft, white sand.
Cruising the green islands is the only way to truly experience Halong Bay. On a wooden junk or cruise vessel, you can take in the picture-perfect serenity of the area from balconies, sun deck and the front of the boat in complete luxury. Watch the sun rise and set over the bay, all pink and orange and plump, and breathe the fresh air - tangy with salt - deep into your lungs, recharging your soul.
And don’t be put off by forecasts of rain. Even inclement weather and mist can’t dampen the beauty of Halong Bay; instead, rain creates a soft, mysterious ambiance, reminiscent of an ancient time long past...Less