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Caves in Halong


Halong bay Vietnam

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Ha Long Bay is northern Vietnam's biggest attraction, one of the most magnificent natural splendors of the Far East. "Ha Long" means "Where the Dragon Descends into the Sea." From the emerald-green waters of Ha Long Bay some 3000 limestone and dolomite islands (. or "grottos") rise jaggedly from

 the Gulf of Tonkin like medieval stone cathedral spires, or the scales on a dragon's back. Local lore has it that an enormous dragon created the bay, grottos and outcroppings as it thrashed its way toward the open sea to prevent the intrusion of enemy navies. Today, local fishermen still report encountering a giant sea beast called Tarasque, sort of the Nessie of the South China Sea

 

Ha Long Bay affords some of Vietnam's most spectacular scenery, including beautiful limestone formations, rock arches, gin-clear water, virtually inaccessible lagoons, sheer cliffs, peaceful coves, eerie caves, secluded strips of white, powdery sand, and thousands of limestone islets. Like sculpted cartoon characters, these islets are fancifully named: Frog Island, Face Island, the Isle of Wonders and the Isle of Surprise. Chinese junks glide over the teal-hued bay between the grottos, which are densely carpeted in neon-green ficas, mangrove and spiky cacti. Pearl oyster farms are tucked into tight channels between the towering, limestone cliffs. Primitive floating fish hatcheries are spun across the waters between the grottos like neglected spider webs. This maritime mountain range reaches for a distance of more than 100 kilometers and covers an area of some 1500 square kilometers.

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Two major battles were fought in Ha Long Bay during the 10th and 13th centuries. In 1882, French Captain Henri Rivière was beheaded here after trying to capture the region's enormous coal deposits. The locals paraded his head from village to village. The French weren't amused, and decided that Vietnam should be permanently annexed as a French colony.

Coal remained the mainstay of local industry until recent years, when hydroelectric projects in both Vietnam and China (where much of the coal was destined) largely relegated it to the proverbial back burner. Locals have diverted their attention from the coal mines to the gold mine of tourism. Nevertheless, coal mining remains an eyesore to the more adventurous travelers who decide to head to Mong Cai in Vietnam's far northeast.

Ha Long's only natural drawback is the weather: It can be horrible. It is often damp, rainy and cold, particularly during the winter months. Visitors during the winter tend to spend most of their time in the bay itself, as Ha Long's waters remain bathtub-warm year-round. If Ha Long were, say, a thousand kilometers closer to the equator, this would be paradise on Earth. As it is, it's still darn close. Catch the area on a nice day, particularly during the spring and fall months, and you're in for one of the biggest treats of your Vietnam visit

Ha Long's only natural drawback is the weather: It can be horrible. It is often damp, rainy and cold, particularly during the winter months. Visitors during the winter tend to spend most of their time inside playing online casino games or in the bay itself, as Ha Long's waters remain bathtub-warm year-round. If Ha Long were, say, a thousand kilometers closer to the equator, this would be paradise on Earth. As it is, it's still darn close. Catch the area on a nice day, particularly during the spring and fall months, and you're in for one of the biggest treats of your Vietnam visit. Stuck on a rainy day?

   Halong Bay Maps I  Halong Bay Beaches  I  Halong islands   I  Halong Bay Caves

 


63A Cuabac str., Badinh, Hanoi- Vietnam

Tel: (+844) 3716 4132 - Fax: (+844) 3716 4133

E-mail:info@halongjunk.net

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