Halong Bay is one of Vietnam’s top attractions – The name “Halong” translates as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’. Halong Bay Vietnam is made up of 1,969 islands of various sizes, 989 of which have been given names. There are two kinds of islands, limestone and schist, which are concentrated in two main zones: the southeast (belonging to Bai Tu Long Bay), and the southwest (belonging to Halong Bay).
Welcome to Ha Long Bay Vietnam
Viewed from above, Ha Long Bay Vietnam resembles a geographic work of art. While exploring the bay, you feel lost in a legendary world of stone islands. There is Man’s Head Island, which resembles a man standing and looking towards the mainland. Dragon Island looks like a dragon hovering above the turquoise water. La Vong Island resembles an old man fishing. There are also the islands of the Sail, the Pair of Roosters, and the Incense Burner, which all astonishingly resemble their namesakes. The forms of the islands change depending o¬n the angle of the light and from where the islands are viewed. At the core of the islands, there are wonderful caves and grottoes, such as Thien Cung (Heavenly Residence Grotto), Dau Go (Driftwood Grotto), Sung Sot (Surprise Grotto), and Tam Cung (Three Palace Grotto).
Ha Long Bay – an UNESCO World Heritage Site
Ha Long Bay was first listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, in recognition of its outstanding, universal aesthetic value. In 2000 the World Heritage Committee additionally recognized Hạ Long Bay for its outstanding geological and geomorphological value, and its World Heritage Listing was updated. In October 2011, World Monuments Fund included the bay on the 2012 World Monuments Watch, citing tourism pressures and associated development as threats to the site that must be addressed. The goal of Watch-listing is to promote strategies of responsible heritage-driven development for a sustainable future. In 2009, the New 7 Wonders Foundation, which runs the New Seven Wonders of the World program, included Ha Long Bay on its list of nominations as one the World’s New7Wonders of Nature. In 2012, the New 7 Wonders Foundation officially named Ha Long Bay as one of new seven natural wonders of the world.
Best time to visit Ha Long Bay
From March to May, Ha Long Bay has blue sky and pleasant weather. During summer, from May to November, you can expect days to be warm and humid with refreshing afternoon showers. Winter, from December to February, can be quite cold. The best time to visit Ha Long Bay (Vietnam) is the period from October to April of the following year for the best chance of warm days and clear skies, perfect for cruising, kayaking and swimming.
Places to visit and things to do
Learn Tai Chi on deck
The ancient martial art of Tai Chi has been practised for generations in China to promote the health of mind, body and soul through its soft, controlled movements. It is said that practising Tai Chi in the peace and tranquillity of the great outdoors aids in the deep concentration and inner peace many hope to achieve through this art form – and what better place to do it than surrounded by the sublime beauty of Ha Long Bay?
Visit a traditional floating village
For most of us a cruise on the emerald green waters of Ha Long Bay is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so it may be difficult to imagine living day-to-day life surrounded by the incredible beauty of this famous bay. But for the families of Ha Long Bay’s floating fishing villages living in a water world is second nature. Rising and falling with the tide, these villages have been home to generation after generation of fishermen who earn their living from the bay’s bountiful supply of marine life and growing tourism in the region. Pay a visit to one of these charming villages, meet grinning fishermen and playful children and learn about their fascinating way of life in Ha Long Bay.
Discover hidden caves and grottos
Hidden among the thousands of jungle-covered peaks rising dramatically out of the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay are illuminated caves, isolated grottos and picturesque hidden coves of all shapes and sizes. Hop on board a row boat and venture out to explore these hidden gems for yourself, such as the beautiful Thien Cung Cave – nicknamed the Heavenly Palace Cave, famed for its many stalagmites and stalactites, and Dau Go Cave – known as the Cave of Wonders, featuring fascinating rock formations illuminated by a kaleidoscope of colour.
Kayak between karst limestone outcrops
While a traditional junk boat cruise is an excellent way to enjoy the spectacular scenery of Ha Long Bay at a relaxed pace, the active among you can get your paddle out on an off-boat excursion and explore the beauty of the bay up close on a kayaking adventure.