Ha Long Bay is a World Heritage site in Vietnam twice recognized by UNESCO – in 1994 and 1999. With almost 2000 islands rising from the emerald water of the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long is an excellent example of a Karst landscape created by a complex chain of millions of years of geological movement.
A local legend tells the following tale of the origins of Ha Long Bay:
“Long ago, the Viet people were attacked by foreign aggressors. The Jade Emperor sent the Mother Dragon and her band of Dragon Children to help the Viet people fight the invaders. While the enemy vessels were launching massive attacks against the mainland, the dragons descended in flocks from the sky. They spat out innumerable pearls which changed into jade stone islands the moment they touched the water. These islands linked together to form firm citadels that checked the enemy’s advance and smashed their vessels to pieces.
After the invaders were driven out, Mother Dragon and her Dragon Children did not return to Heaven but stayed on earth, right at the place where the battle occurred. The spot where the Mother Dragon landed was Ha Long, and where the Dragon Children came down was Bai Tu Long.”
Lan Ha Bay
Lan Ha Bay is made up of around 300 karst islands and limestone sea rocks and can be found southeast of Cat Ba Island. As a geological extension of Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay is equally as beautiful although it is less visited, less inhabited and therefore has the extra appeal of being a more peaceful place.
This isolated paradise is an ideal beach location, with hundreds of undisturbed white sand beaches. While the beaches are fairly small, they are surrounded by towering limestone karsts that give visitors lots of privacy. Whilst relaxing at these tiny beaches visitors may see many butterflies and birds enjoying the many flowers and trees that sit around the edges of the sand. Lan Ha Bay is also a great place to take part in water-based activities such as snorkeling, kayaking or scuba-diving!
Cat Ba Island
Cát Bà Island is the largest of the 367 islands spanning 260 km2 (100 sq mi) that comprise the Cat Ba Archipelago, which makes up the southeastern edge of Lan Ha Bay in Northern Vietnam. Cat Ba island has a surface area of 285 km2 (110 sq mi) and maintains the dramatic and rugged features of Ha Long Bay.
Cat Ba Island has become the adventure-tourism capital of Vietnam, and many of the activities advertised are nature-based. Visitors can kayak and take boat cruises through Ha Long Bay and the Cat Ba Archipelago, hike through the national park, mountain bike around the Island, spend time hiking and swimming on Monkey Island just offshore, tourist can stay at Monkey Island Resort for real relax time on private beach, explore the Island’s many caves, swim on Cat Co 1, 2, or 3 (three sandy beaches a short walk from Cat Ba town), or even go rock climbing and deep water soloing on the limestone karsts in Lan Ha Bay. With so many things to do, Cat Ba Island is slowly gaining popularity as an alternative to the crowded Ha Long Bay Town
Tra Bau fishing village
The area of Tra Bau is located in Lan Ha Bay, in the south of Halong Bay. You can discover the floating village, communicate with the local fishermen, and watch how the fishing activities will be performed. Other amazing activities include swimming, fishing, kayaking, boat competition, or even role-playing as pirates. This location is also the background film studio for the King Kong movie: Kong – Skull Island in 2017.
A great idea is to take numerous photographs that are cool, so-deep, and unique. This experience is more fantastic if you are going with a group of friends who are passionate about photography. It is the floating raft that is a flattering object for you all to pose and get the cool pictures at the end. The backgrounds of the emerald sea, forested mountain, and spacious green-covered islets just add spice and enhance the quality of your photographs. Whether you’re posing alone or with friends, the results will happily surprise you.
Day and Night grotto
At the water-level, an arched entrance leads to the grotto, just at the base of the island. Passing through the pretty entrance, you come across a tranquil round lake, surrounded by luxuriant trees and high dangerous stone walls. Monkeys run to and fro in groups, benjamin fig trees shade the landscape and many orchids hang their sweet-scented flowers. In the lake, many species abound: shrimp, fish, crab and cuttle-fish.
This is an enclosed group of islands. It connects with the sea via a 4-meter-wide, 100-meter-long, and 3-meter-high mouth. Inside the grotto, the 1-km2 brackish lake is surrounded by mountains. On the cliff one still find traces of fossils of fresh-water snails, which prove that men used to live there and this must have been a deep valley then.
The beauty of the site, is the mingling of a number of factors: the mountain’s size and form, the color of the water and the clouds.
Ba Trai Dao Islet
This island consists of three small mountains with the height of 23 m, seen from afar, resemble three peaches (Ba Trái Đào).
The island connects to a legend of about the romantic love between a youngest fairy who was very pretty with a young and poor fisherman. Because of feeling in love with him, she stole three peaches from Heaven for him, that if he ate, would give him eternal life, allowing them to live together forever. The King of the Heavens discovered the robbery and turned the peaches into three stone islands. Chastised, the young fairy had to return.
Today, Ba Trái Ðào is a famous tourist attraction with three nice fairy beaches, romantic landscape. It is 22 km from south north of Bãi Cháy Tourist Wharf.
Soi Sim Island
Located approximately 18 km from Cat Ba island, the small village named Viet Hai is in the midst of jungles, covered by high mountains. The village is situated in the heart of Cat Ba National Park, which belongs to Cat Hai district of Hai Phong city. To reach the village, tourists will have to embark on an 8km trek passing the Ao Ech Lake. On this route, tourists will walk through the primary forest in the national park and then follow adventurous trails. If you are not fit enough for those sheer cliffs, deep gorges, and muddy ponds, choose a 45 minutes boat from Beo pier in Cat Ba Town to visit this village.