Halong Bay, in Northern Vietnam, is an area of outstanding natural beauty and means ‘Bay of Descending Dragons.’ Why not head on a tour of the area this summer and enjoy all that Vietnam has to offer, from the friendly local people to the amazing street food, there is something for everyone.
It is thought that the traditional name of Halong Bay, ‘Bay of Descending Dragons’ could have come from reports in a French newspaper during the summer of 1898, that the sub-lieutenant of a local ship, had seen a large sea dragon swimming at Halong Bay. Reports of this creature were never verified, but this could explain the Bay’s name.
There are 1,969 islands making up Halong Bay, with many of these remaining uninhabited. With the Bay listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, large portions of the area have received protection against future developments, making the Bay a largely peaceful and unchanged area over the last few years.
Halong Bay’s Islands:
Cat Ba is one of the most popular islands for tourists to visit, home to the endangered cat species ‘Ba Langur’ as well as some beautiful national parks and caves. Nearby Dau Be Island is recommended if swimming and diving is your thing; its stunning grottoes, lakes and rich coral attract thousands of tourists every year. Why not visit Bo Hon island, where ‘Hang Trinh Nu’ (The Virgin Cave) attracts tourists in flocks to see the small shrine set inside, where legend tells a young woman committed suicide after she was unable to go back home after an arranged marriage to a Mandarin man. It is said that her body turned to stone.
After a long day of cruising and sightseeing, experience local cuisine at its finest. Try ‘Tu Hai’ a local shellfish which is enjoyed simply baked or steamed, or added to soups and salads, ‘Gat Gu’ a steamed rice pancake which is delicious and moist. You will find street food vendors on every corner in Vietnam and the quality of food rivals most restaurants in the UK for freshness and taste.
Halong Bay is the perfect stop-off on your tour of Vietnam; although once your group has spent a few days here, they may never want to leave! Soak up the local culture, history and cuisine and enjoy the friendly, welcoming attitude of the local people. tour halong