Magnificent Halong Bay, with its
3000-plus islands rising from the clear, emerald waters of the Gulf of
Tonkin, is one of the natural wonders of Vietnam. In 1994, the 1500-sq-km
(580-sq-mi) expanse dotted with tiny islands punctuated by perfect beaches
and deserted grottos, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
"Ha long" means, "Where the dragon descEnd into the sea." Legend has it
that the islands of Halong Bay were created by a great dragon who lived in
the mountains. As it ran toward the coast, its flailing tail gouged out
valleys that filled with water and formed mountains that peek above the sea
as rocky islands.
There have been sightings of a mysterious and very large marine creature,
known as the Tarasque, in the area. It rarely strikes when tourists have
their cameras ready; you should be much more afraid of the damage done by
souvenir hunters (and souvenir buyers), who use bits of endangered coral and
broken stalagmites and stalactites for their wares.
Return to Your
Suite and Sail Away to The Next Adventure
and Dancing Await You