Legend of HaLong Bay
The Natural Wonder of the World
During the old time when the Land was newly formed, Vietnamese had to fight against very fierce invaders coming from the North ,they wanted to occupy the country named Vietnam. Luckily, Jade Emperor felt sorry for humankind here ,he sent Dragon Mother with her children to this land for helping people to sweep away the invaders. Dragon Mother and her children blow gems and pearls which became into thousand of islands. Some of islands linked as a ramparts but many other looked like battles to prevent the invaders. After destroying the enemy, they had not flied to the heaven but descended in this area. The place where Dragon Mother descended down called Ha Long Bay; the place where her children descended down called Bai Tu Long (a part of HaLong Bay, the place where Dragon's tail whisked called Bach Long Vi island.The beauty of Halong Bay consists in its mountains, water, clouds and caves and grottoes. Many, however, do not realise that Halong was also the cradle of an ancient people helping create the present Halong culture. It is also a place closely linked to Vietnam's history with such famus geographical names as : Van Don (site of an ancient commercial port); Poem Mountain (with engrav-ings of many poems by emperors and other famous people of the past) and Bach Dang River (the location of three fierce naval battles of Tran Dynasty fighting against Mongols foreign aggressors).
In the two wars against the French and American, together with the people in the whole country, Halong Bay had achieved many glorious feat of arms, particularly a general strike of over 30,000 miners participated in the period from 1930-1945 which made the French domination system in the coal area to be loosed. Now the 12th day of the November every year becomes the traditional festive day of the miners.
Halong is a small bay at the western coast section of Bac Bo Gulf, in the northeastern sea region of Viet Nam. It includes the sea areas and islands of Halong city, Cam Pha town and a part of Van Don island district. Its name have changed over historical periods. The present name of Halong Bay ( Landing Dragon Bay ) appeared in bibliographies and in some French maritime maps only from the late 19th century. Bai Tu Long Bay lies adjacent to the northest part of Halong Bay. Cat Ba islands are next to the southwest part of Halong Bay.
The area of Halong Bay is about 1,500 km2 , including about 2,000 small and large islands, most of which are made of limestone. The core area of the bay covers 334 km2 where 775 islands are clustered. The tectonic movement in the bay, in which limestone was formed, occurred about 500 million years ago under different geographical circumstances. The full tectonic evolution of the karst terrain of Halong Bay took over 20 million years. In this evolution thick limestone was decomposed under hot and humid climate and the terrain was slowly raised. Halong Bay is the center of a larger area with similar elements of geology, geomorphology, landscape, climate and culture.
At the present people live on about 40 of the nearly 2,000 islands of Halong Bay. These islands have areas from tens to thousands of hectares and they are mainly located in the east and southeast of Halong Bay. In recent decades, many floating fishing villages have started to settle on the virgin islands and turned them into fertile islands, for example Sa To island (Halong city) and Victory island (Van Dong island district).The heritage area (core area) of Halong Bay, which was officially recognized by the world community, has an area of 434 km2. It is similar to a triangle with the three vertices of Dau Go island in the west, Ba Ham lake in the south, and Cong Tay island in the east. The heritage area includes 775 islands with a great number of caves and beaches. The adjacent area (buffer area) is a national heritage recognised by the Ministry of Culture and Information of Viet Nam.
The terrain of Ha Long is composed of mountains with abrupt cliffs and islands alternating between ocean basins. The soil is saline and has mangrove forest. Rock, water and the sky are the lively elements making up the beauty of Ha Long. Islands in Halong Bay have their own shapes absolutely different from that of other coastal areas of Viet Nam. But they are also not similar to each other. There are places where islands are so much clustered that they seem to be piled up if looked at from a far distance. But there are also places where many islands stand in horizontal or vertical rows like ramparts. These island rows are as long as tens of kilometers and cross each other. It seems that all islands make a mythical realm of rocks. One island is like a human face turning towards the mainland ( Man Head Island), while another resembles a dragon flying above water (Dragon Island) . La Vong island looks like and old fisherman and at a distance from him is Sails Island with two parts like two sails. Mam Xoi Island is a small island similar to a tray of steamed glutinous rice.
Rooster and Hen Island reminds one of a cock and a hen lovingly playing on the waves. Lu Huong island ( Incense Burner Island) stands on a vast sea like a giant incense burner. Ong Su Island (Monk Island) is like a monk standing in the middle of the immense bay, who clasps hands to worship the Buddha. Chopstick Island is a round island of 40 meters in height and looks like a great chopstick. But viewed from another direction, it is like a royal mandarin with a blue costume and a "dragonfly" hat, so fishermen called this island Royal Mandarin Island, and so forth.