Legend has it that when Vietnam first formed itself as a country, a family of dragons rose from the Red River to create this renowned bay. These dragons are said to have assisted locals in protecting the land at Halong Bay by dropping giant emeralds on incoming enemy troops, in turn forming the estimated 1,900 towering limestone islands that stand there to this day. Whether you are a believer in this mythical tale or not, the immense cliffs rising out of the still aquamarine waters really are astounding and it will strike you how easy it is to connect the landscape’s ethereal beauty with the divine. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994, Halong Bay remains the country’s premier attraction, drawing in over 2 million foreign visitors annually.
Aside from providing a stunning backdrop, the bay is also a place of historic importance. Research has revealed proof of prehistoric human activity in the area and remains of successive ancient cultures; from the Soi Nhu culture dating back to 18,000BC to the Ha Long culture of four millennia past. Despite thousands of years passing, modern day locals share a remarkable amount in common with these ancient forefathers; to this day, visitors will encounter local fishermen out at work and quaint communities of floating houses lurching above the crystal waters.
Without a doubt, the best way to enjoy Halong Bay is by cruising through the sparkling turquoise waters by boat. We recommend spending a day or two aboard a luxury charter and indulging in a massage on board to experience the otherworldly location in true style.
No trip to Halong Bay should be complete without also visiting one of the region’s many cave complexes – explore Sung Sot Cave to see a grotto of unique grandeur with a fantastic array of animal and bird life.
To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Anonymous, India
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Leslie Siben, India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India