Day 2 - Halong Bay

It means “Bay of the Descending Dragon” in Vietnamese. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, meeting criterion vii(7) and vii(8) of the UNESCO criterias. It is also lined with limestones and up to 2000 limestone islets. It has also shown significance in the Vietnamese History from artifacts found in the bay. Also in 1994 and 2000, UNESCO recognized Ha Long Bay as a World Heritage site for its remarkable landscape and geomorphology , It was then listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2011.

Nguyen Trai - a skilled politician and tactician - who had helped Vietnam free itself from the Chinese rule, had praised the naturally formed beauty that took 500 million years to form, saying it was a “rock wonder in the sky”.

Myths also tell a story that say since there were a lot of pirates and invader trying to get into Vietnam, gods sent out a family of dragons to protect Ha Long Bay. And these dragons had spit out jades and jewels along the bay, dotting it, forming islets and islands that make up a great wall to defend the bay against the invaders.

There are four residential areas of fishermen living on the bay, about 400 households totaling approximately 1.000 people. The fishermen live on boats and floating wooden houses in the core-zone of Ha Long Bay, which is dozens of kilometers away from the mainland. They have no home or land ownership and their main livelihood is fishing and aquaculture

A picture of how Ha Long Bay looks like.

3 Questions to think about
1) Why does the UNESCO still allow tourists even though the natural beauty is slowly degraded through frequent visits?
2) Do fishermen and new restaurants affect the landscape and ecosystem of the Ha Long Bay?
3) What do you think had caused the limestone to naturally form a line protecting Ha Long Bay?


  1. We went to a cave called heavenly palace. In the palace there are many beautiful stones. The guide told us to use our imaginations to imagine what does the rocks look like. After this cave, we went to the place where one of the generals of Vietnam died. He was the general when china decided to attack Vietnam. He place wooden sticks under the water during the high tide and when the boats come the water level and drop and the boats will get caught on the sticks and they cannot move nor escape. The general send small boats to burn down the ships. Legend has it that dragons went to settle down on the island to protect Vietnam from the invaders. We are also very fortunate to live in singapore and not like those who live in halong bay. They got to drop out of school because they need to help their families. They also stay in boats rather than living in a flat.

  2. So during the entire day 2 I was wondering why we were travelling for 3 hours to go to a single place , but the moment I saw it I instantly understood.The bay was beautiful and had many mountains around it .I enjoyed viewing all of the somewhat natural caves , I say somewhat because they had lights in them,even if it was really tiring.I also learned about villages on Halong Bay they had many houses but had only one school,and the students inly studied to Primary 5 , the reason was that there was only one school was because there were few students and most of them drop out in order to help their family make ends met . I feel very fortunate that I do not have to travel to a new city to study unlike those children in Halong bay .I also enjoyed the lunch onboard the cruise thanks to the fact that I sat at a different table because if I had sat at a normal one I would be forced to eat seafood.

  3. A UNESCO world heritage site, the picturesque formations of rocks over thousands of years forms the Halong Bay. A bay which in legend is said to be where the dragon descended into the sea to help thea Vietnamese against the invaders. Arriving at the caves, we were wowed by the spectacular stalagmites around the cave. The natural formations provided good ambush and strategic base location for the Vienamese when they fought against the invaders.
    The area inside the Halong bay is where boats such as market boats and boats for living are. It is sad that they are not as fortunate as we are and had dropped out of school to help with the families like in fishing, and selling food to tourists.

  4. Today we went to Ha Long Bay,
    We took a 45 min boat ride to the cave. The cave was very beautiful and told us the story behind Halong Bay. I learned some of the cultures of Vietnam after visiting the cave and got to know some of the legends of Vietnam after After coming out of the cave we went back to the boat to have lunch. I could enjoy the sea breeze and witness spectacular and unique rock formations. 


  5. The sea ride was fun and interesting.A lot of things has been learnt from the stories and legends regarding the islands and caves.The natural formations provided good ambush and strategic base location for the Vietnamese when they fought against the invaders. There were boats which were selling fruits when we were sailing on the boat.If find that sad as it is hard to imagine someone selling something by begging people to buy their things.It is even worse at the thought of them staying there

  6. The ' cruise ' was fun and surprisingly, we were not sea-sick, We learnt many legend and stories about the mountains and hills , we also visit the caves and went to eat lunch on board !

  7. Ha Long Bay
    ­ The sight was stunning and the caves there were beautiful, being labelled as a World Heritage
    Site. However there were still litter everywhere even though there were many dustbins
    Journey on the boat
    ­ We saw the beautiful view of Ha Long Bay and learnt the story of the dragon that protected
    Vietnam, then forming the mountains there. we also had seafood for lunch on the boat. We also
    learnt that Singapore was lucky as in Hanoi, most drop ot before Grade 5 as they have to help
    their parents.

  8. The cruise was fun and awesome and it was very relaxing, we also learned about the background story that surrounds Ha Long Bay, we visited 2 caves that were really beautiful and we had lunch on bored

  9. We then went to Ha long Bay. The name Ha Long comes from the myth. Ha long means ‘Descending Dragon’, this was because this bay was always being concur, and when a mother dragon saw this she and her sons went down to help them out. The formation of the bay is also shaped like a dragon. The first place we went was the Dong thien cong cave. The crystallized rocks would make it look like different things, such as some are shaped as a dragon head, snake head, etc. We had to use our imagination to see what it looks like.

  10. Legend of Ha Long Bay

    A mother dragon saw that the Vietnamese were losing the war,so she sent her son to help the Vietnamese.He was sent down from the heavens and is believed that the islands is actually the dragon’s scales.

    Cruise Ride

    On the cruise,I saw clothes on the back end of every boat,meaning people lived on the boat.We had lunch on the cruise,and we were given a weird looking dish which I later learned was the mantis shrimp.The guide told us about the fishing villages,how they were unable to pursue their studies more than the 5th grade as they are needed by their parents to help them in fishing.


    After the cruise ride,we arrived on the south islands of Vietnam and climbed up two flight of stairs to get in two caves,and one of them played a big part in a war where the general had put stakes so that when the tides were high,enemies would be able to sail,but the tide quickly lowered and made the boats got became stuck on the stakes,allowing him to burn them down by navigating in a smaller boat.

  11. And now, time for the Ha Long Bay cruise. This is our group’s research expertise. We learnt that the locals believe a myth that a mother dragon, had seen Vietnam being constantly invaded by pirates and people trying to take over Vietnam and sent her child (another dragon) to help with the situation. This dragon decided to lie its body along the bay to stop the invaders from attacking Vietnam. Thus people called the bay, “Ha Long Bay” meaning ‘bay of the descending dragon’.
    It’s natural beauty and geographically exotic got it the name of being one of the new Natural 7 Wanders of the world. UNESCO also added it as one of it’s world heritage areas. However, issues are constantly popping up around the caves, islets and islands. Issues such as litter and mistaking the pits and holes in the caves as wishing-wells. It’s rather enraging and also confusing to understand, making me unsure as to why UNESCO still allows tourism even though they are being mistreated.

  12. The Halong Bay cruise was long but interesting as we did our own activities. We had seen two caves which were quite littered by tourists who visit them. We had also learned of how the name was formed from legend.

  13. Ha Long Bay was indeed worthy of being one of the 7 natural wonders of the world because of its beauty and legends/folklore.We went to visit two caves,one is called the Heavenly palace while the other one is were the general in the legend died.The dragons in the sky settle into the sea in order to protect the Vietnamese from harm and invaders,thus the name Ha Long Bay,Bay of the Descending Dragons.

  14. We learn that Ha Long Bay got its name from an old folktale saying how Vietnam was constantly being invaded and the mother dragon in the sky saw this and sent her children down to protect Vietnam. Ha Long means descending dragon which refers to the dragons descending from the sky to protect Vietnam. I feel that we are lucky to study in singapore as people in the fishing village drop out at grade 5 to help their family. Although it is a UNESCO site, people do not cherish it and litter the place instead of conserving and protecting it.

  15. Halong means descending dragon and this bay is named by a folk tale passed from generations to generations. Halong Bay is one of the seven wonders of the worldWe saw two big caves, one was quite empty but very big, and another was filled with life as there were many swallows flying everywhere. I learnt how the Vietnamese language was made up. We realised that the littering/pollution case in Hanoi was quite bad too. There was litter everywhere on the ground and roads. Traffic in Hanoi is mostly made up of motorcycles. The roads are very dangerous, and crossing seems easy for the Vietnamese to cross. Drivers are also very friendly as they would stop for you. We also passed by Hanoi’s Ceramic Mosaic Mural Project. This long wall about 4km is a 1000 year celebration. An artist took 3 years to build this wall. Japanese flags on a rubbish truck, due to donations from a Japanese company to help Vietnam develop; they sponsored the garbage trucks. The Vietnamese houses are long and thin. The front part of the house is the shop and the back part of the house is a workshop

  16. Ha Long Bay is believe that the mountain is parts of a dragon. Ha Long (Descending Dragon) came from a folks tale that says that there's lot's of invader in the past and a dragon was sent down on earth to help fight the invader . after they won , the dragon settled down into the bay.

    Động Thiên Cung
    It look like a palace. There are Stalagmites that will grow from both the top and bottom and soon it will connect together. However, if the top is too heavy, it'll drop.

  17. This place called Halong Bay is believed that there is a legendary dragon which descended into Halong Bay from heaven and decided to stay there. That is how Halong Bay got its name from; Halong descending dragon.

  18. Legend said to be the dragon descended into the sea to help the Vietnamese against the invaders. It was very beautiful and we visited the natural caves there. There were lights in the cave which makes the cave look even more beautiful but it was disappointing to see that there were people who littered inside the cave when there was a rubbish bin. We learned some of the cultures and legends there.

  19. The rocks in Halong Bay was actually made up of dragons who descended from the sky to help repel invaders who were attacking Vietnam(thats the legend)
    When we went to Halong bay, we went to two caves.
    The most significant is Dong thin cong cave where the stalagmites and stcacites were shaped as though it was a palace. It was a beautiful sight although we encountered some litter on the way.
    Did i say it was a UNESCO site too?

  20. Wow, No wonder its one of the 7 wonders of the world! The sight of it just amazes me. So how did HaLong Bay all come about? It started with a legend where Vietnam has been constantly been invaded by invaders. And one day, a mother dragon in the sky saw how Vietnam was in a bad state, she sent one of her baby dragon down to Earth to protect Vietnam. The baby dragon descended around Vietnam and Vietnam never lose to the the Invaders again.