Ha Long Bay (literally known as descending Dragon Bay; Vietnamese: Vinh Ha Long) is a small bay located in the Northeastern part of Vietnam and constitutes part of the western bank of Bac Bo Gulf, including the sea area of Ha Long city , Cam Pha Town and part of Van Don Island District, Quang Ninh Province. The bay is well –known for thousands of limestone karsts and islets in various sizes and shapes. HaLong bay is a center of a larger zone which includes Bai Tu Long Bay to the Northeast, and Cat ba Islands to the Southwest. These larger zones share similar geological, geography , climate and cultural characters.
Ha Long Bay – the World Heritage by UNESCO
Ha Long was first recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1994 for its magnificent beauty sports as well as its geologic and geomorphology value, which is reflected through thousands of natural islands,and became the World Heritage for the second in 2000.
The part of World Heritage covers an area of around 1,553 km2, including about 2,000 islets, most of which are limestone. The core of the Bay has an area of 334km2 with a high density of 775 islets. The limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. 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 karts created the unique Ha Long Bay in the world.
In October 2011, World Monuments Fund included the bay on the 2012 World Monuments Watch, citing tourism pressures and associated development as threats to the site that must be addressed.
In 2011, the new 7wonders Foundation, which runs the New Seven Wonders of the World program officially recognized Ha Long Bay as one of them.
Ha Long Bay is also a member of the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World.
Legend of the name “Ha Long Bay”:
The name “Ha Long” means “descending Dragon”. According to local legend, when Vietnamese had just started to develop into a country, they had to fight against invaders. To assist Vietnamese in defending their country, the gods sent a family of Dragons as protectors. This family of dragons began spitting out jewels and jade. These jewels turned into the islands and islets dotting the Bay, linking together to form a great wall against the invaders. After winning the battle, the Dragons were interested in peaceful sightseeing of the Earth and then decided to live in this bay.
The place where the Mother Dragon descended was named Ha Long; the places where the Dragon’s Children attended upon their Mother was called Bai Tu Long Island ( Bai: attend upon, Tu: Children; Long: Dragon) and the place where they wriggled their tails violently was called Bach Long Vy Island(Bach: white color of the foam made when Dragon’s children wriggled; Long: Dragon; Vy: tail.)
People who live in Ha Long Bay:
A community of around 1,600 people live on Ha Long Bay in four fishing villages: Cua Van, Ba Hang, Cong Tau and Vong Vieng in Hung Thang Commune, Ha Long City. People live on floating houses and are sustained through fishing and marine aquaculture, plying the shallow waters for 200 species of fish and 450 different kinds of mollusks. Among 1969 islands of Ha Long, people only live on about 40 islands which mainly locate in East and Southeast of Ha Long Bay. Nowadays, their life has been much improved due to development of tourism services.
Climate in Ha Long Bay
The climate in Ha Long Bay is humid and tropical. There are two main seasons in Ha Long: a hot and humid summer and a dry and cold winter. Average temperature is from 150C to 250C.