legend of Hạ Long has it that, �Once upon a time, soon
after the Việt people established their country, invaders came.
The Jade Emperor sent Mother Dragon and her
Child Dragons down to earth to help the Việt people fight against their enemy.
Right at the time invaders� boats were rushing to the shore, the dragons landed
down on earth. The dragons immediately sent out from their mouths a lot of
pearls, which then turned into thousands of stone islands emerging in the sea
like great walls challenging the invaders� boats. The fast boats couldn�t manage
to stop and crashed into the islands and into each other and broke into pieces.
After the victory, Mother
Dragon and Child Dragons didn�t return Heaven but stayed on earth at the place
where the battle had occurred. The location Mother Dragon landed is nowadays Hạ
Long Bay and where Child Dragons descended is now B�i Tử Long. The dragons�
tails waving the water created Long Vĩ (present Tr� Cổ peninsula) and formed a
fine sand beach over ten kilometers long�.
Long Bay is located in the northeastern part of Vietnam and constitutes part of
the western bank of Bắc Bộ Gulf, including the sea area of Hạ Long City and Cẩm
Phả Town and part of V�n �ồn island district. It abuts C�t B� Island in the
southwest. Toward the west is the shore with a 120 km-long coastline. It is
located within 106o58�-107o22� east longitude and within
20o45�- 20o50� north latitude. The site is 1553 sq. km
with 1969 islands of various sizes, of which 989 have been named.
The islands in
Hạ Long Bay are mainly limestone and schist islands most lying in the two main
areas: the southeastern part of B�i Tử Long Bay and southwestern part of Hạ Long
Bay. These islands represent the most ancient images of a geographical site
having a tectonic age of from 250 million to 280 million years. They are the
result of many times of rising and lowering processes of the continent to form a
karst. The process of nearly full erosion and weathering of the karst created
the unique Hạ Long Bay in the world. In a not very large area, thousands of
islands with different forms look like glittering emeralds attached to the blue
scarf of a virgin. The area where many stone islands concentrate has spectacular
scenes and world-famous caves and is the center of Hạ Long Bay Natural Heritage,
including Ha Long Bay and a part of B�i Tu Long Bay.
The area is
recognized as the World Natural Heritage that is the area of 434 sq. km with 775
islands. It looks like a giant triangle with �ầu Gỗ Island (in the west), Ba Hầm
Lake (in the south) and Cống T�y Island (in the east) as its three angle points.
The nearby area is the buffer area and areas classified as national beauty spots
in 1962 by the Ministry of Culture and Information.
from above, Hạ Long Bay looks like an extremely vivid huge drawing. This is a
wonderful and skilful masterpiece of the Creation and of nature that turns
thousands of dumb soulless stone islands into fantastic sculptural and artistic
works of various graceful shapes, both familiar and strange to human beings.
Thousands of islands emerging uneven in the fanciful waves look strong and
magnificent but also mild and vivid. Amidst these islands we feel as if we were
astray in a petrified legendary world. There are many names given to islands
according to their shapes and forms. This one looks like somebody heading toward
the shore: H�n �ầu Người (Human Head Island); that one looks like a dragon
hovering above the sea surface: H�n R�ng (Dragon Island); another looks like an
old man sitting fishing: H�n L� Vọng; some look like big sails struggling amidst
the wind to set off for the sea: H�n C�nh Buồm (Sail Island); then two islands
look like a pair of chicken lovingly playing with each other above the sea: H�n
Trống M�i (Male and Female Chicken Island); and amid the vast sea stands an
island like a big incense burner like a ritual offering to Heaven: H�n Lư Hương
(Incense Burner Island). All are so real that people are taken aback by them.
Those stone islands have experienced unpredictable changes over time and they
take different shapes from different angles of view. Here, we come to realize
that they are not dumb inanimate things but are vivid and soulful.
the stone islands are various breath-taking caves, such as Thi�n Cung, �ầu Gỗ,
Sửng Sốt, Trinh Nữ, Tam Cung and others. These are really magnificent palaces of
the Creation on earth. Long ago,
Long Bay has been called by the great national poet Nguyễn
wonder of the earth erected towards the high sky�.
Many men of letters from all over the world have been taken aback at the
grandiose scenery of Hạ Long. They seem to get puzzled and incompetent as their
treasure of vocabulary is not rich enough to depict the splendor of this place.
Long Bay is also attached to glorious pages of Vietnamese history, with famous
sites such as V�n �ồn, a bustling trade port in the 12th century,
charming B�i Thơ Mountain, and not very far away from here is the Bạch Đằng
River which witnessed two famous naval battles of the Vi�t�s ancestors against
invaders. Also, Hạ Long is one of the cradles of human kind with the glorious Hạ
Long culture in the late Neolithic age, discovered at such archeological sites
as �ộng Mang, X�ch Thổ, Soi Nhụ and Thoi Giếng.
Hạ Long is also home to great
biodiversity with typical eco-systems like mangrove forest, coral and tropical
forest. It is also home to thousands of plants and animals of numerous species,
for example shrimp, fish and squid. Some species are particularly rare and can
be found no where else.
With such special values, at the 18th
Session of UNESCO�s Council of World Heritage held on 17 December 1994 in
Thailand, Hạ Long Bay was officially placed on the list of the World Natural
Heritage. In 2000, UNESCO recognized it as the World Heritage for the second
time for its geographical and geomorphologic values. This confirms the global
premier value of Hạ Long Bay.
come from, whosoever you are and however old you are, you will certainly
experience the same emotion and feeling when admiring this wonder of stone and
water. And great experiences will always remain even when you leave the place.
The legend of Mother Dragon and Child Dragons sending out pearls to form
thousands of stone islands to stop invaders still serve as the soul of this
invaluable heritage of the world.
Have you ever come to Hạ Long, the
unique wonder of the world of its kind, to admire and explore secretes implicit
in the place?