Halong Bay, Vietnam is one of world’s natural wonders and is one of the top tourist attractions in Vietnam. The literal meaning of “Halong” is “Bay of Descending Dragons”. A local legend says that a family of dragons was sent to defend the land long ago when the Vietnamese were fighting the Chinese invaders. These dragons had descended upon what is now Halong Bay. Halong Bay, Vietnam, famous for its scenic rock formations, has been listed among the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Halong Bay is made up of 1, 969 islands of various sizes, 989 of which have been given names. There are two kinds of islands, limestone and schist, which are 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 stone islands, world famous for its spectacular scenery of grottoes and caves, forms the central zone of Halong Bay, which has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The bay itself forms a triangle with the island of Dau Go (Driftwood Grotto) to the west, the lake of Ba Ham (Three Shelter Lake) to the south, and the island of Cong Tay to the east. Viewed from above, Halong Bay resembles a geographic work of art. There is Man's Head Island, which resembles a man standing and looking towards the mainland. Dragon Island looks like a dragon hovering above the turquoise water. La Vong Island resembles an old man fishing. There are also the islands of the Sail, the Pair of Roosters, and the Incense Burner, which all astonishingly resemble their namesakes. The forms of the islands change depending on the angle of the light and from where the islands are viewed. At the core of the islands, there are wonderful caves and grottoes, such as Thien Cung (Heavenly Residence Grotto), Dau Go (Driftwood Grotto), Sung Sot (Surprise Grotto), and Tam Cung (Three Palace Grotto).
Best time to visit Ha Long:
Ha Long Bay has a tropical climate with two distinctive seasons. The summer is wet and hot while the winter is dry and cool. The average temperature in the region ranges between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius, but can plummet significantly in the winter. There are times of heavy fog with low visibility, and violent tropical storms during the summer months.
Summer from June to August is humid and warm. There are tropical storms and heavy rainfall. Temperatures range from 21º C to 34ºC.
Autumn runs from September through November and brings cloudy weather with rain. September is still pleasant with temperatures from 22º C to 30º C. The weather gets cooler with more rainfall in October and in November.
Winter extends from November through February and sometimes as late as the middle of March. The weather becomes quite cool in the winter with temperatures going down as low as 10º C. There is low visibility with overcast conditions in December, January and February.
Spring happens from the middle of March through June. Temperatures during the spring season range from 19º C to 31º C. There is still the possibility of rain and foggy conditions during the spring months. March is considered an ideal time of year in Ha Long Bay.
Transportation to Ha Long:
By road: It takes 3 hour to go from Ha Noi to Ha Long Bay by private vehicles. You can also reach Ha Long by bus or by shuttle bus. Buses and airconditioned minibuses leave Ha Noi’s Gia Lam Bus Station for Bai Chay bus station.
By train: You can take cargo train from Ha Noi to Yen Vien and to Ha Long railway station.