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One of Southeast Asia's most photogenic spots: Halong Bay  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Vietnam > Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay Travel Guide

  
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Ha Long Bay (also "Halong Bay") is in northern Vietnam, 170 km east of Hanoi. The bay is famous for its scenic rock formations.

Ha Long Bay is a beautiful area with 1969 limestone islands jutting imposingly upon the skyline. Unfortunately the place is a tourist trap and the unique panorama is spoilt by a tremendous amount of "junks" which are in fact slimly disguised tourist boats that bear no resemblance to the authentic Chinese sailing vessels of the same name.

Most people visit on a guided tour from Hanoi. Alternatively, you can rent a junk to visit the bay for either several hours or overnight on the bay.

Sunset in Halong Bay.  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

Visitors to Ha Long Bay must purchase a ticket which costs 30,000 Dong from the Ha Long Bay management department, which gives the option of following one of two routes:

  • Thien Cung Grotto, Dau Go Cave, and other sites (excluding Sung Sot Cave).
  • Sung Sot Cave and other sites (excluding Thien Cung Grotto and Dau Go Cave).

"Ha Long" is literally translated as "Bay of Descending Dragons" Prior to the 19th century, this name was not recorded in any document or archive. When mentioning the present-day Quang Ninh Sea or Ha Long Bay, old historical books often referred to them by the names of An Bang, Luc Thuy or Van Don.

Not until the late 19th century did the name of Ha Long Bay appear on a French Marine Map. The Hai Phong News, a French newspaper of the time, had an article, Dragon appears on Ha Long Bay, reporting the following story: In 1898 a sub-lieutenant named Lagredin, captaining the Avalanse reported seeing a huge sea snake on Ha Long Bay. This was also witnessed by many of the crews.

Thus emerged the European image of the Asian dragon. Whether this appearance of a strange animal looking like a dragon resulted the name of Ha Long Bay is not known.

View across Halong Bay from the lookout point.  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>






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