Located on the right bank of the Red River, Hanoi is both the second largest city and the capital..Ho Chi Minh City Information
Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnams largest city. It is located on the banks of the Saigon River, 60..Hoi An Information
Hoi An is a popular tourist town situated and hour south of Da Nang on the Coast of the South China..Mui Ne Information
Located on the southern coast of Vietnam Mui Ne is a popular coastal resort strip that has..Mekong Delta Information
A large area of South Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is a region where numerous tributaries of the..My Son Information
My Son is the site of the ruins of a centre for the Champa Kingdom which thrived here from for over..Nha Trang Information
Nha Trang is a reasonably large coastal town of 300,000 inhabitants in Southern Vietnam and is..Cu Chi Tunnels Information
The Cu Chi tunnels are located about 70 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh city. They are a large network..
In the north east of Vietnam around 165 kilometres from Hanoi is the natural wonder Halong Bay. It is located is the Quang Ninh province and stretches from Yên Hưng district to the Vân Đồn district. The three and a half hour road journey from the capital takes visitors to an almost mythical landscape of calm waters dotted with limestone islets cloaked in emerald green vegetation. It is recognised as one of the most beautiful bays in the world and is one of Vietnam's most prized tourist destinations. It was awarded UNESCO world heritage status in 1994.
Halong Bay covers an enormous area of some 1500 square kilometres and has almost 2000 of the signature limestone islands. The central core area covers 330 square kilometres with a dense population of almost 800 islets. The islets are single pieces of limestone and many have cave systems or lakes on them, some of which are accessible by tourists wishing to explore. The area has a remarkable biodiversity of plant and animal life and there are hundreds of species of marine life in the waters around the islands. There are several species of plants and animals that are only found in the area.
The islands were formed by geological processes over million of years. According to legend the islands were formed by dragons sent by the gods to defend Vietnamese against the chinese invaders. The dragons spat jewells of jade into the sea and these formed the islands and provided a natural barrier to the invaders. The name Halong Bay, literally translates to mean "Bay of the Descending Dragons".
The bay has been inhabited for tens of thousands of years and was occupied by people of the Soi Nhu culture, the Cai Beo culture among others. Today the bay is home to a permanent population of less than 2000, many of which are fisherman or work in aqua culture. Some of the population live on floating villages.
Two of the larger islands Tuần Châu and Cat Ba have accommodation for visitors. Several of the islands have small beaches where visitors can swim and are frequented by the many junk boats that provide tours of the bay.