Halong Bay, or the “Bay of Descending Dragons”, is a bay in the Quảng Ninh Province in Vietnam. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, Halong Bay is considered one of the natural wonders of the world, with limestone grottoes accented by slopes of forest. Comprised of around 2,000 islands rising from the Gulf of Tonkin, legend tells that this bay of islands was created by the flailing of a dragon, whose tail cut and crushed the rock into the islands we see today. When the dragon retreated into the sea, the water rose, surrounding the gouged rocks.
Perhaps one of the most impressive seascapes in the world, Halong Bay is a place of uncompromised natural beauty. Often called Vietnam’s 8th wonder of the world, there are tons of limestone karsts, hidden caves, beaches and arches to discover here. Choose from a variety of options, whether you fancy to sleep overnight aboard a ship, explore by kayak or trek through one of the islands. Known for its amazing caves and rock formations, Halong Bay has a number of islands worthy of exploration.
Monkey Island, as its name suggests, is an island inhabited by monkeys, which were imported to inhabit the area. These monkeys are well adjusted to the presence of humans and can be hand fed with the assistance and supervision of a trained guide. Monkey Island also has its own stunning beach resort, complete with exciting beach activities including volleyball, football, swimming, kayaking, billiards, and climbing up the mountain.
One of the most spectacular of the islands (and many find it hard to choose!), Bo Hon Island is located in the center of Halong Bay, and is home to one of the most fantastic caves in the area. Surprise Cave is indeed a surprise to many visitors, with many stunned speechless at the incredible natural beauty of the caves. The entrance to the cave seems tiny and cramped, but amazingly opens into a massive cavern of carved rock, stalagmites, and stalactites illuminated by vibrant colors. This cave has earned its name as one of the most astonishing sights in Halong Bay.
Another favorite among visitors are the floating fishing villages of the bay. These fishermen and their families have lived this way of life for centuries, living by the bounty of the waters below. The residents of this village are incredibly friendly and always ready to greet visitors with song and fresh seafood. Take the time to explore the local museum on the island and dive into this peaceful and tranquil Vietnamese culture by fishing side-by-side with these fishermen and catching a tasty meal of your own.
Ti Top Island, named by President Ho Chi Minh for the Russian astronaut German Titop, is perfect for beach lovers or adrenaline seekers alike. Find your bliss sunbathing on the beach, or test your limits climbing to the top of the island and surveying the stunning beauty that is Halong Bay itself. No matter which way you choose to spend your visit to this island, you can’t go wrong.
One of the outlying islands in Halong Bay is Quan Lan, a sparsely populated and sandy island with little vegetation. This island is perfect for anyone looking for beaches to play on, away from more strenuous activities such as hiking or climbing. Hammocks, inner tubes, chairs, volleyball nets, and loungers are for rent on the beaches for your relaxation and enjoyment. There are a few small scattered shops selling straw and safari hats that you’ll see the locals sporting around the island, as well as local clothing. Some of the cuisine available on the island are hearty, delicious, and made from a few simple ingredients, and coffee is usually served strong and black or with thick, condensed milk.
If you’re looking to spend your time luxuriating in the water, whether diving through the water or powering with paddles, then Halong Bay is the perfect place for you. Whether it’s in one of the Bay’s many caves, along the beaches, or in a quiet and serene lagoon, there are plenty of open and private waterways for you to swim and kayak along.
Halong Bay is full of exquisite scenery, stunning and friendly wildlife, and gorgeous beaches in this hidden part of Vietnam. Take a relaxing cruise around the islands or hike through the dense foliage and expand your horizons in Halong Bay.
For more information on Halong Bay and Yampu Tours, visit them online at www.yampu.com.