The city is the main gateway to Ha Long Bay. Though the city enjoys a delightful position on the cusp of Ha Long Bay, the raffish collection of high-rise hotels and karaoke bars dot the shoreline is not a great introduction to this incredible site. However, these are where you find accommodation and enjoy delicious fresh sea food as well as other recreational services. Designated a World Heritage site in 1994, Ha Long Bay is a mystical and stunning landscape, comprising of a multitude of limestone islands and islets rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, in a variety of sizes and shapes and presenting spectacular and unspoiled nature.
Legend has it that the islands of Ha Long Bay were created by a great dragon from the mountains. As it charged towards the coast, its flailing tail gouged out valleys and crevasses. When it finally plunged into the ocean, the area filled with water, leaving only the pinnacles visible. That’s why the city is named Ha Long, meaning ‘the dragon descends into the sea’. Sleeping overnight on boat in Ha Long Bay is a must-try activity for every visitor. What could be more interesting than relaxing on sundeck and witnessing the immense number of islands dotted with wind- and wave-eroded caverns, and their sparsely tree-covered slopes ring with birdsong. Beyond a boat cruise, visitors to Ha Long also come to explore the world’s most charming caves. Ha Long Bay possesses a incredible diversity of caves and other landforms, deriving from the uncommon geomorphological process of marine invaded tower karst. Some travelers dodge Ha Long City and head straight for Cat Ba Town, from where trips to less-travelled, equally captivating Lan Ha Bay are easily set up.
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