Halong Bay – Vietnam’s Top Tourist Attraction
Halong Bay is located in Quang Ninh province in northern Vietnam, approximately 170 kilometers east of Hanoi in the Gulf of Tonkin. The bay is renowned for its picturesque ocean karst landscape and is regarded as one of Vietnam’s most spectacular natural wonders. It’s also one of the country’s top tourist attractions, drawing a huge chunk out of the millions of tourists that flock to the country each year.
What Makes The Bay Unique?
I’ve been there and believe me when I say everything about the place is unique…almost magical. It boasts of more than 2,000 limestone karsts and is literally dotted with thousands of limestone monolithic isles along the 120-kilometer shoreline of Bai Chay Beach. The climate is tropical with two seasons: dry and cold winter, and hot and moist summer. The average temperature ranges from 15° to 25°C.
The geo-diversity of the Bay’s topography has created diverse ecosystems, including oceanic, seashore and tropical evergreen biosystems. There are coral reefs, freshwater swamp forests, dense mangrove forests, freshwater lakes, and powdery-white sandy beaches. The bay is also home to 60 endemic faunal species and 14 endemic floral species.
With such universal aesthetic value and a varied conglomeration of wildlife, it’s not surprising to note that Halong Bay has been designated by the Vietnam Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism as a ‘Renowned National Landscape Monument and later listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
Etymology and Legend of Halong Bay
The literal meaning of Halong is “Bay of Descending Dragons”. Legend has it that locals had to fend off invaders when Vietnam was just starting to develop into a country. In order to help the Vietnamese, a family of dragons descended from the heavens as protectors. The dragons then started spitting out jewels and jade which turned into islands and islets that link together to form a natural fortress against the invaders.
After the battle was won, the dragons decided to settle in the bay. The name Halong was given to the spot where the mother dragon descended. Today, visitors will find caves and grottos which create unified chambers with hidden ponds and magnificent stone formations.
Enjoy Halong – the Sights and Sounds
The best way to enjoy the natural wonders of Halong Bay Vietnam is to embark on one of several Halong Bay tours that visit the area on almost a daily basis. Patterned after traditional junk boats, Halong bay cruises are a once-in-a-lifetime experience that conveys a sense of the old world. Most of the boats have been designed in time-honored conventional style but with luxurious cabins and ultra-modern facilities. These boats are floating works of art themselves as they often feature intricate craftsmanship and brightly colored sails.
Taking Halong Bay tours and Halong cruises are great ways to immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture and allow you to truly enjoy the exotic feel and the natural wonders of Vietnam. So, whether you want an exciting way to explore the lush environment and diverse ecosystem, or you’re looking for a romantic weekend amid some of the world’s most captivating scenery, Halong Bay Vietnam has it all… you’ll certainly have a trip that you won’t soon forget! And without any doubt is an absolute highlight of any visit to Vietnam and certainly a must on every traveler’s itinerary.
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