Ha Long in brief
- Telephone Code: 033
- UNESCO recognized it as the World Natural Heritage two times.
- The World Heritage area of Halong Bay is the prime tourist attraction of the northern Vietnam. For locals, Ha Long (Bay of Descending Dragons.) is also base to great bio diversity with typical eco-systems like mangrove forest, coral and tropical forest.
- The legend of Halong has it that, "Once upon a time, soon after the Viet people established their country, invaders came. The Jade Emperor sent Mother Dragon and her Child Dragons down to earth to help the Viet people fight against their enemy. Right at the time invaders' boats were rushing to the shore, the dragons landed down on earth. The dragons immediately sent out from their mouths a lot of pearls, which then turned into thousands of stone islands emerging in the sea like great walls challenging the invaders' boats. The fast boats couldn't manage to stop and crashed into the islands and into each other and broke into pieces.After the victory, Mother Dragon and Child Dragons didn't return Heaven but stayed on earth at the place where the battle had occurred. The location Mother Dragon landed is nowadays Halong Bay and where Child Dragons descended is now Bai Tu Long. The dragons' tails waving the water created Long Vi (present Tra Co peninsula) and formed a fine sand beach over ten kilometers long".
The best time to travel Halong is from October to April when the weather is pretty pleasant. In summer, it's hot, humid and rainy, while monsoons flourish. In winter, it's cold, dry, and sees little rainfall.
Bus from Hanoi, catch a Hoang Long Co Express bus from Kim Ma bus station in Nguyen Thai Hoc Street (tel:845-2846). The trip takes three and haft hour (165km). You may also take a bus from Haiphong (75km).
The area is recognized as the World Natural Heritage that is the area of 434 sq. km with 775 islands. It looks like a giant triangle with Dau Go Island (in the west), Ba Ham Lake (in the south) and Cong Tay Island (in the east) as its three angle points. The nearby area is the buffer area and areas classified as national beauty spots in 1962 by the Ministry of Culture and Information.
Inside the stone islands are various breath-taking caves, such as Thien Cung, Dau Go, Sung Sot, Trinh Nu, Tam Cung and others. These are really magnificent palaces of the Creation on earth. Long ago, Halong Bay has been called by the great national poet Nguyen Trai: "a wonder of the earth erected towards the high sky". Many men of letters from all over the world have been taken aback at the grandiose scenery of Halong. They seem to get puzzled and incompetent as their treasure of vocabulary is not rich enough to depict the splendor of this place.
Halong Bay is also attached to glorious pages of Vietnamese history, with famous sites such as Van Don, a bustling trade port in the 12th century, charming Bai Tho Mountain, and not very far away from here is the Bach Dang River which witnessed two famous naval battles of the Viet's ancestors against invaders. Also, Halong is one of the cradles of human kind with the glorious Halong culture in the late Neolithic age, discovered at such archeological sites as Dong Mang, Xich Tho, Soi Nhu and Thoi Gieng.
Male and Female Chicken Island |
With such special values, at the 18th Session of UNESCO's Council of World Heritage held on 17 December 1994 in Thailand, Halong Bay was officially placed on the list of the World Natural Heritage. In 2000, UNESCO recognized it as the World Heritage for the second time for its geographical and geomorphologic values. This confirms the global premier value of Halong Bay.
Wherever you come from, whosoever you are and however old you are, you will certainly experience the same emotion and feeling when admiring this wonder of stone and water. And great experiences will always remain even when you leave the place. The legend of Mother Dragon and Child Dragons sending out pearls to form thousands of stone islands to stop invaders still serve as the soul of this invaluable heritage of the world.