Ha Long Bay, located in Northern Vietnam, is a home for thousands of limestone islands rising up from the ocean and it’s a one truly amazing UNESCO site.
Ha Long Bay is located couple hours away from Hanoi to the coast. It is popular to book a complete tour for there, including transfers, night in a boat, meals and activities. You can also get there independently reaching the city of Ha Long or Haiphong and booking a boat from there.
The name Ha Long meaning descending dragon, comes from the ancient stories. A legend tells that the gods sent mighty dragons to help the Vietnamese fight off foreign invaders. After the war, the dragons decided to live on the earth and this bay is where the mother dragon landed.
Many of the islands have large caves which you are able to visit Hang Đầu Gỗ being the largest. The water is unfortunately quite polluted here, because of the close by ports. But kayaking is a safe way to get a more intimate perspective of the place.
Visit also the floating fishing villages which inhabit around 1500 people. See the traditional way of living in the area.
Many of the tours for Ha Long Bay, take you also to the largest island of the are, Cát Bà. It is a beautiful green island, a half of it being a National Park. You can find many hotels and restaurants from the only town on the island.
I did Ha Long Bay with a tour operator all included. But after fell in love with Cát Bà island decided to stay there little longer. Ha Long Bay is quite crowded with tourists but the island felt more relaxed.