Halong Bay is located in Quang Ninh Province in the northern part of Vietnam with attractive natural scenery. Halong Bay is the most famous tourist attraction in Vietnam and is well known all over the world. Vietnamese people call it the eighth wonder of the world. In 1994, UNESCO (United Nations Educational，Scientific，and Cultural Organization) included Halong Bay into the World Heritage List. Due to the small limestone peaks with different shapes of the island in Halong Bay, the scenery there is similar to the scenery in Guilin, China. Therefore, every Chinese tourist visiting there calls Haling Bay “stone forest on the sea”. According to the tales in Vietnam, a long time ago, a female dragon landed on the bay, blocking the billowy waves. Since then, local people began to live and work in peace and contentment. That is why local people started to call this bay Halong Bay (meaning the bay where a dragon landed). A group of little dragons landed on this bay together with the female dragon, so the little bays nearby are called “Bai Zi Long Bay” (meaning the bay which are the embodiment of the little dragons).
The scenery in Halong Bay changes with the change of seasons. In winter, the sky is gloom. The grey sky, grey sea water and black mountain rocks consists of a listless picture. When summer comes, the bright sun shines on the sea water of Beibu Gulf. The blue sky, white clouds, pellucid sea and black peaks sparkle in this most beautiful season in Halong Bay. At this time of a year, fishermen will spread their red sails on the ship’s bow, and chase new tourists and new hopes. During it changes from summer to winter, it is no long noisy. Instead, it is more quiet and tourists come and leave. What remain are only the sea and mountain rocks in Halong Bay protected by generations.
Tourists Attractions in Halong Bay
A: Marvelous Spectacles of Caves
There are a lot of caves on the rock isles, among which the Hang Đầu Gỗ (wooden stakes cave) is the most unique. It is called the “Marvelous Spectacles of Grottos”. The Hang Đầu Gỗ lies on the hillside of the highest peak on the Wan Jing Isle (meaning the isle of ten thousand scenes), which is about 189 meters above sea level. The entrance to the cave is not big, while the space inside the cave is broad. There are three layers in Hang Đầu Gỗ, and the outer layer can accommodate thousands of tourists. The shapes of the stalactites inside the caves look like the shapes of different animals, looking quite vivid and amazing.
Zhong Men Cave is another famous cave in Halong Bay, which also has three layers of different shapes and different areas. The outer cave is like a spacious hall, which can accommodate thousands of people. The ground of the cave is quite flat, and the entrance to the cave connects with the sea. When the tide rises, small boats can sail into the cave. Around the entrance to the cave, there grow some banyans, bamboos, lycopods and some other plants.
The entrance from the outer cave to the middle cave is very narrow, which is only enough for one person to go through. Beside the entrance, there stands a grey big stone, just like a guard guarding at the entrance. The middle cave is eight meters long, five meters wide and four meters high. The scenery inside the middle cave looks like an exquisite gallery. When going through a screw-shape hole, tourists will enter the inner cave. The oblong inner cave is sixty meters long and twenty meters wide. The stalactites are everywhere inside the cave, all of which have some small holes and create an interesting scenery.
B: Wooden Isle
Wooden Isle is about 189 meters above sea level. The cave is on the hillside of the cliff. The entrance to the cave is not big. however, when you enter into the cave, you will find that the inner space is quite big. Due to the erosion of the wind and water inside the cave, there are lots of stalagmites in it with various shapes. In the bright light, all of them look vivid and interesting. It is quite unusual that there is such a big cave on this isle. It takes nearly half an hour to walk from the entrance to the exit of the cave. Actually, this isle was formed owing to the cave. With the boat going forward, tourists will get to a natural scenic spot that consists of two hills. It is called Hon Trong Mai (Male and Female Rooster Isle because it looks like a pair of roosters). It is very unique that it looks like two game cocks which are fighting fiercely. However, it also seems like two lovers who have fell deep in love with each other who are whispering and kissing. The two hills look like a doomed couple.
C: Titop Island
It is said that Titop Island was named by Ho Chi Minh in honor of the Soviet cosmonaut Gherman Titov who visited the island in 1962. The scenery there is quite amazing. Titop Island is a famous tourist attraction in Halong Bay. At the foot of the hill, tourists can swim and boat. On the hill there stands a five-pointed pavilion where tourists can appreciate the scenery on the sea. After swimming, tourists can take a shower by the shoreside because there is well there providing clean water for tourists. It takes 20 RMB for one bucket of water. When traveling in Halong Bay, climbing the mountain is a good choice for you can enjoy more beautiful natural scenery and take more beautiful photos along the rugged stone steps, It takes less than 15 minutes to get to the five-pointed pavilion. Standing there, when you are looking down at Halong Bay and looking around, you will feel that t a panoramic view of all the scenery come into view. A lofty sentiment of “I must ascend the mountain’s crest, it dwarfs all peaks under my feet” will arise spontaneously.
D: Palace Recreational Ground
The Palace Recreational Ground is located near the sea, with the ticket price of 60 RMB, offering water puppet shows, folk dances, cock fighting, ghost palace and on the like. Tourists should not miss the water puppet show on water which is a unique form of art in Vietnam. Different from the puppet show in China, water puppet show is a unique work of art. The puppet is made of wood and painted with varnish, looking colorful, vivid and interesting. And every puppet is uniquely made according to the character of the role in plays. Just as what the name implies, water puppet show is a puppet show performed in water. The stage, which is set up with bamboos, is called “water pavilion”. In the middle of the stage, a bamboo curtain is hung, which is painted into green with oil color. The stage is divided into two ones by the bamboo curtain, including the half in the front which is a pool where the puppet show is performed and the half in the back where the performers who control the puppet work. All of the performers wear clothes made of rubbers, looking quite like the waterproof clothes of the fishermen. They control the movement of the puppets through a bamboo pole which is connected to the puppets. Near them there is a band. When the drumbeat arose, a kid puppet swam towards out from inside the bamboo curtain, staggering. He opened his mouth and began to sing. The little puppet “walked” to a bamboo pole which is inserted at the center of the pool and lit the firecrackers hung on the bamboo pole. In the sound of the firecracker, a golden dragon jumped out of the water and then came two awe-inspiring kylins. They started to compete for the embroidered ball thrown out by the little puppet. After a while, white red-crowned crane, gentle turtles and big carps came to join in the fun. They leaped and played in the water, creating a grand sight. After that were some other performances. All of these lasted forty minutes or so. With distinct style, water puppet show is really worth watching.
E: Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba Island, located in Ha Long Bay, Northern Vietnam, covers an area of approximately 140 square kilometers (1400 hectares). It is commonly used as an overnight hotel stop on tours to Ha Long Bayrun by travel agents from Hanoi. On Cat Ba Island, there are ferries crossing the sea. Cat Ba Island is under the control of Cat Hai County. There are Cat Ba Town, five villages and a fishing port on this island. Cat Ba Island is the largest island among the islands under the control of Hai Phong City. Most parts of the island are rocky hills. There is a boundless primeval forest on Cat Ba Island, which was listed as a national park by the Vietnamese government. In the national park, there grow a large number of precious species of trees and many kinds of rare fowls and strange animals are living. It is a huge natural zoo and botanic park.
Natural Resources: In the forest on Cat Ba Island, there are a lot of precious species of trees and rare animals, such as white erythrophleum, peruvian peppertree, white-headed langur, golden-headed langur and snub-nosed monkey. The sea nearby abounds with cuttlefish, shrimp, abalone, sea cucumber, sleeve-fish, sardine and on the like. On the hill which is five kilometers (about 3.11 miles) away from Cat Ba Island, there is a cave named “Zhong Zhuang”, lying across the hill. In the cave, there are some remains dating from the Neolithic Period. On Cat Ba Island, the surrounding mountains are like the billows of the sea. is the island is surrounded by a winding coastline and several bays with calm breakers and still waves. Between the rocky hills there are some natural bathing beaches. Every summer, these bathing beaches become a summer resort that is full of laughter and happiness.
Cat Ba Island is a pearl in Beibu Gulf and it is also a big fishery center in the northern part of Vietnam. The fishing seasons last from September to May of the following year. It is said that there are more than 900 kinds of fishes and hundreds of kinds of shrimps there. The fish sauce in Cat Pa Island is famous all over Vietnam. The landform there is rough and the coastline is winding. The forest on Cat Ba Island covers an area of 9.8 thousand hectares. With the precious species of trees, rare fowls and strange animals in this forest, Cat Ba Island is ranked as one of the several famous national parks in Vietnam. There are many natural caves on this island. With lots of bathing beaches around, Cat Ba Island can be regarded as a tourist attraction with great potential.