Halong Bay – A World Heritage Site in North Vietnam
Halong Bay is situated in the North-East region of Vietnam, 151 km North-East of Hanoi. Halong Bay is in the Gulf of Tonkin stretching through Halong City, Cam Pha Town, and a part of the island district of Van Don. Halong Bay borders Cat Ba Island in the southwest, the East Sea in the east, and the mainland, creating a 120 km coastline.
Halong Bay is made up of 1,969 islands of various sizes. There are two kinds of islands, limestone and schist, concentrated in two main zones: the southeast (belonging to Bai Tu Long Bay), and the southwest (belonging to Halong Bay). This densely concentrated zone of rock islands, world famous for its spectacular scenery of grottoes and caves, forms the central zone of Halong Bay, which has twice been acclaimed as the World Heritage by the UNESCO.
Halong Bay consists of numerous islands and peaks of different heights, arranged in a zigzag pattern, like the figure of a dragon splashing in the water. This is a hidden bay with a sea area of 1,500 square kilometers along a realm of thousands of islands (mostly limestone) naturally grouped. Many islands are named after the figures that they resemble, such as Frog, Elephant, Fighting Cocks, Turtle or Roof Island that may appeal to the imagination of tourists. There are two bigger islands, Tuan Chau and Cat Ba, where there have been permanent inhabitants. Both of them have tourist facilities, including hotels and beaches. There are a number of wonderful beaches on the smaller islands.
Halong Bay is a limestone area with many wonderful caves, such as Dau Go, Bo Nau, Trong, Trinh Nu and Sung Sot Cave, each with their own fascinating legend.
Halong Bay treasures many valuable specialties, such as fish, abalone and shrimps of different kinds. On the islands there are various kinds of birds and animals, including mostly local species of chicken, blue birds, monkeys, bantams, antelopes and iguanas. Pearls and coral can be collected on some islands.
Visitors can enjoy day cruise or night stay on boats in the bay.