Proudly honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site from 1994, Halong Bay is definitely a must see sight when arriving in Vietnam.
Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, it features thousands of limestone karsts and islets in various sizes and shapes topped with thick jungle vegetation, rising spectacularly from the ocean making a truly magnificent marine landscape very suitable for the title of the eight natural wonder of the world.
The name of Halong (descending dragon, contrast to old name of Hanoi: Thang Long means rising dragon) is based on a legend of a dragon from the mountain wagged his tail in order to defense Vietnam against Chinese invaders which makes the stones forming and creates a unique site as can be seen nowadays.
The islands of the bay are mostly inhabited and inaccessible by human; they are the formidable shelters for wild birds and some animals, so the bay still preserves the mysterious charms without being disturbed by human (although they still live within floating villages but cohabit and rather enhance the bay’s surrealistic landscape.
It is very easy to get to Halong Bay (by car, by bus or by sightseeing helicopter or seaplane) and it is very adaptive for every kind of travelers ranging from the daring backpackers to luxurious seekers. It offers many kinds of accommodation such as homestay in a farther island, a decent hotel with overlooking view to the sea, or an overnight junk on the bay which is the most favourable option for those who seek unique experience when immersing themselves into limestone karst cliffs dotted on emerald water, while enjoying a cool drink on board, they immediately find themselves in paradise. On the other hand, there are many activities for those who are active: a half/full day boat trip to explore the bay (for those who stay on land), kayaking, and amazing rock climbing or simply relaxing by the beach on the island, all are very easy and worth every minute.