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Halong bay

Located in the North East of Vietnam in Quang Ninh province, Halong bay with its clear emerald waters and 1969 limestone and schist islands that come in all shapes and sizes is a spectacular creation of nature.

The bay deserves its title as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site and is a must-visit to all tourists.

History of its name

Like many other locations in Vietnam, Ha Long  bay’s geography and name is connected to ancient legends. In Sino-Vietnamese, Ha is to lower and Long is dragon – Ha Long  describes a dragon descending to land on earth.

The Vietnamese people have always believed in their connection to dragons – legends tell that the ancestors of all Vietnamese are in fact Lac Long Quan (a dragon god from the ocean) and Au Co ( a beautiful mountain goddess).

Halong  legend tells that many centuries ago, the Vietnamese were attacked by vicious foreigners and had to fight back to protect their country. A mother dragon and her children were sent down to help the people in this ocean area. The dragons spit out pearls from their mouth, which formed into islands and created a defense system that helped the Vietnamese win.

Culture and History

Most of Halong  bay’s local inhabitants live on fishing. There are currently 4 fishing villages within the World Heritage Protected area, with around 1600 inhabitants who live on floating houses and boats.

Ha Long was also home to many ancient Vietnamese people and different ethnic groups. Archeological evidence is present showing the lives of the Soi Nhu  culture (16000 – 5000 BCE), Cái Bèo culture (5000-3000BCE) and Halong culture (2500-1500 BCE)


Halong  bay area has rich biodiversity, with 2 main ecosystems: tropical moist evergreen rainforest ecosystem and marine and coastal ecosystem with 7 endemic species.

Further Reading

Halong bay weather

Related Links:

Halongbay.info - Travelling and living in Halong Bay
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/672 - Unesco Official site for Halong Bay


Photo by anaru Creative Commons license

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