Recognized twice by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage Area for its exquisite beauty, the Halong Bay, located in the northern part of Vietnam is one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. Towards the northeastern side of Halong Bay is the Bai Tu Long Bay and towards its southwestern side is the Cat Ba Island.
Spreading over an area of 1,553 km square, the Halong Bay comprises of over 1600 exquisite limestone islands and islets. The Halong Bay is host to a thousand marine species and is known for its diverse tropical ecosystems like the coastal mangrove forest, coral reefs, seagrass habitat and tropical forests ecosystems. Popularly known to be one of the most unique heritage sites, the Bay features a plethora of islands and caves that have been formed out of millions of years of erosion and weathering. The islands have been divided into two categories, the limestone islands and the schist islands. Every island is known for its unique shape. For example the Voi, Island has been named after its resemblance to the elephant and the Khi Islet after a monkey. One more of the unique features of the bay consists of the number of lakes that surround the limestone islands. For example, the Dau Be island known for its stunning landscape has around three lakes.
The meaning of ‘Ha Long’ is the ‘Bay of Descending Dragons’. According to people, the Bay has formed million years ago when a dragon descended from heaven to protect the people of Vietnam from invaders. The dragons dropped jewels from their mouths that then formulated islands. After the battle, instead of returning to heaven, the dragons decided to remain into the waters and live in this bay. The place where the mother dragon descended was named Ha Long. The place where the dragon’s children visited their mother was called the Bai Tu Long island and the place where the dragon’s children wiggled their tails furiously was called the Bach Long Vy island.
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Place to visit
Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba island is one of the most celebrated tourist spots as it is the biggest island in Halong bay. One of the greatest ways to enjoy this island is to rent a bike and go biking to explore the island more closely and intimately. The Cat Ba island also gives an exceptional opportunity to its visitors to go cruising to witness the serenity and tranquillity through its waters.
Hang Sung Sot Cave
Located at the centre of the Bay, the Hang Sung Sot Cave is known for its unusual rock formations and Buddha statue. The caves are divided into two chambers. The first chamber is known as the waiting room. It acts as an entrance into the enormous second chamber that can host around a thousand people. The cave is covered with stalactites and stalagmites that when are highlighted by coloured lights is a sight surely not to be missed.
These islands are perfect for scuba diving adventure. Scuba diving gives the people visiting an incredible experience of the marine life in Halong Bay.