Ha Long Bay is a World Heritage site in Vietnam twice recognized by UNESCO – in 1994 and 1999. With almost 2000 islands rising from the emerald water of the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long is an excellent example of a Karst landscape created by a complex chain of millions of years of geological movement.
A local legend tells the following tale of the origins of Ha Long Bay:
“Long ago, the Viet people were attacked by foreign aggressors. The Jade Emperor sent the Mother Dragon and her band of Dragon Children to help the Viet people fight the invaders. While the enemy vessels were launching massive attacks against the mainland, the dragons descended in flocks from the sky. They spat out innumerable pearls which changed into jade stone islands the moment they touched the water. These islands linked together to form firm citadels that checked the enemy’s advance and smashed their vessels to pieces.
After the invaders were driven out, Mother Dragon and her Dragon Children did not return to Heaven but stayed on earth, right at the place where the battle occurred. The spot where the Mother Dragon landed was Ha Long, and where the Dragon Children came down was Bai Tu Long.” Halong floating village This floating village of about 50 families has a population between 200 and 300 residents, including almost 100 children.
These families have lived in this village for generations. The village is a “floating village” with no structures built on land. Traditionally, income for food and potable water (imported from the mainland) came solely from fishing. Now tourism provides an additional source of income. Their floating houses look spacious and clean. One community house is where villagers come to have meetings. This is also the place where tourists stop over to buy traditional handmade items.
It is interesting to see the lively children going to “school”. Their bustling calls and the sound of their oars breaking water enliven the atmosphere of the quiet bay. Looking at the small boats driven by tiny oars and the radiant faces of the children going to school, one feels confident in a bright future for the fishing village.
The lagoon for swimming
How amazing to swim in the lagoon of the bay or visit nature beach of Halong bay by walking along beach, swimming and joining sea activities. Relaxing after activities, immersing in the water to get stronger
In all the caves of Halong bay, Hang Me Cung or Me Cung cave is a beautiful one. Hang Me Cung (Maze cave) is located on an island named Lom Bo about 2 km in the southwest of Ti Top beach (Bai Tam Ti Top), Ti Top island (Dao Ti Top), at a height of 25 m above sea level. Looking from a distance, the entrance of the cave like a house roof carve deep into the slopes of the island.
Walk up over the stone steps on cliff, have a stone roof which dry and airy, a thick stream of Melina snails spread over floor. Formerly this layer of snails were very thick, up to 1.2 m was fossil floor at the outside. Recently discovered a fossil of animal bones. Hang Me Cung (Maze grotto) was identified by the archaeologists as one of the sites of pre Halong culture, early Neolithic from 7,000 to 10,000 years to today.
Go inside the Maze cave (Hang Me Cung), visitors are seemingly entering the palace of a Persian king and the buzz here to make visitors think as it is the voice of Seheharat are told the story a thousand and one nights to her king. On the island have many species of the old tree reflected to the water… This is also the habitat of birds and animals such as monkeys, langurs, chamois, lizards…
Day and Night grotto
At the water-level, an arched entrance leads to the grotto, just at the base of the island. Passing through the pretty entrance, you come across a tranquil round lake, surrounded by luxuriant trees and high dangerous stone walls. Monkeys run to and fro in groups, benjamin fig trees shade the landscape and many orchids hang their sweet-scented flowers. In the lake, many species abound: shrimp, fish, crab and cuttle-fish.
This is an enclosed group of islands. It connects with the sea via a 4-meter-wide, 100-meter-long, and 3-meter-high mouth. Inside the grotto, the 1-km2 brackish lake is surrounded by mountains. On the cliff one still find traces of fossils of fresh-water snails, which prove that men used to live there and this must have been a deep valley then.
The beauty of the site, is the mingling of a number of factors: the mountain’s size and form, the color of the water and the clouds.
Ba Trai Dao Islet
This island consists of three small mountains with the height of 23 m, seen from afar, resemble three peaches (Ba Trái Đào).
The island connects to a legend of about the romantic love between a youngest fairy who was very pretty with a young and poor fisherman. Because of feeling in love with him, she stole three peaches from Heaven for him, that if he ate, would give him eternal life, allowing them to live together forever. The King of the Heavens discovered the robbery and turned the peaches into three stone islands. Chastised, the young fairy had to return.
Today, Ba Trái Ðào is a famous tourist attraction with three nice fairy beaches, romantic landscape. It is 22 km from south north of Bãi Cháy Tourist Wharf.