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Friday, April 9, 2010

Halong bay

Halong bay view

Since December the 14th 1994 at the 18th session of the World Heritage Commission in Phuket- Thailand Ha Long Bay has been inscribed in the World Heritage List by UNESCO. The decision of recognizing Ha Long Bay as a World Heritage area confirms the exceptional and universal value of this landscape.

For Vietnamese people Ha Long Bay is not only a great landscape but it is also a sacred and longstanding symbol of the country. In the Vietnamese people's consciousness the stone islands in Ha Long Bay are not only limestone but biotic. When the Nation was in danger Mother- dragon and her children landed and stay forever to depend the country.

Vietnamese Vinh Ha Long (?Where the Dragon Descends to the Sea?), bay on the northwest coast of the Gulf of Tonkin, near the city of Hong Gai, Quang Ninh province, northern Vietnam. Situated 102 miles (164 km) southeast of Hanoi, the 580-square-mile (1,500-square-kilometre) area contains some 3,000 rocky and earthen islands, typically in the form of jagged limestone pillars jutting out from the sea, and several caves and grottoes.

The system of grottos in multiform islands in Ha Long Bay are really heavenly palaces in the world. But Ha Long is not only beautiful within range of the traveler?s vision but also within their profound mind with respect to the far- off past and changes of nature and cultural history.

Visiting Ha Long Bay travelers can see the remains left by primitive people at the last 20000 years. Three famous prehistory cultures continuously developed in this landscape from the late Paleolithic age to age to early metal age. They are the Soi Nhu culture Cai Beo culture and Ha Long culture.

The most impressive of the grottoes is the Hang Dau Go, a huge cave of three chambers, while the Thien Cung Caves are also very impressive. The name Ha Long means ‘where the dragon descended into the sea’, and refers to a legend about a dragon that created the bay and islands with its flailing tail. There’s even a modern legendary creature, the Tarasque, said to haunt the area.

Taking a tour of the bay is the main activity here; most book a tour at a cafe or hotel in Hanoi. If you want to arrange things independently, be ready for lots of hard sell from touts in Halong Bay City. To see a lot, choose a fast boat. If you want a romantic experience but with the risk of getting hardly anywhere, look for one of the old junks. You have to charter the whole boat, but there are usually enough travelers around to make up a party and keep costs down.

The main town in the region is Halong City, which is in two halves, bisected by a bay. Bai Chay (the western part) is the more scenic and has the most hotels, restaurants and persistent touts. Hon Gai (the eastern part) is connected to Haiphong by a ferry. Masochists might try seeing the bay on a day-trip from Hanoi. Another option is to travel to Cat Ba Island, where you can arrange a tour of the bay with less hassles.

The name Ha Long Bay is literally translated as “Bay of Descending Dragons.” Prior to the 19th century, this name was not recorded in any document or archive. When mentioning the present-day Quang Ninh Sea or Ha Long Bay, old historical books often referred to them as the seas of Giao Chau, Luc Chau, Luc Thuy, Van Don, Hai Dong or An Bang. Not until in the late 19th century did the name of Ha Long Bay appear on the Bac Bo (Tonkin) Gulf chart or in press articles in French and in Vietnamese.

A legend has been handed down in the local area relating to the name Ha Long Bay, which says: ?Long ago, in the first founding days, the Viet people were attacked by foreign aggressors. The Jade Emperor sent the Mother Dragon and a herd of Child Dragons to help the Viet fight the invaders. While the enemy vessels were lauching massive attacks against the mainland, the dragons descended in flocks from the sky. They spat out innumerable pearls which, in a moment, were changed into innumerable jade stone islands linked together into firm citadels that checked the enemy?s advance and smashed their vessels into pieces. The Viet won at last.

After the invaders were driven out, Mother Dragon and her Child Dragons did not return to Heaven but stayed on earth, right at the place where the battle occurred. The spot where the Mother Dragon landed was Ha Long, and where the Child Dragons came down was Bai Tu Long. The place where their tails violently wagged was called Long Vi, the present-day Tra Co Peninsula with its soft sandy beach stretching dozens of kilometers.?

Source: newsfinder.org

Supported by: Indochina Sails

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