Halong is the capital of Quang Ninh province, Vietnam. The name Halong means “descending dragon”. In 1993, the city was founded when the old city Hon Gai was merged with Bai Chay. The city mainly lies on Halong bay. Located in the coastal area, Hạ Long bears unique potentials of tourism and seaport due to its land lies along the shore of Hạ Long Bay by 50 km. Hạ Long is 160 km to the north-east from Ha Noi, 60 km to the east from Hai Phong, 180 km to the south-west from Móng Cái international border gate, and bounded by the Gulf of Tonkin to the south. Hạ Long has the strategic location of economic development in the region and the country also.
Halong bay is well-known for its natural beauty consisted of more than 3000 islands rising from the clear, emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin and covering an area of 1500 square kilometers. Most of islands are uninhabited and untouched by humans. The formation of the seascape of limestone pillars is very spectacular. The outstanding value of this property is centered around the soaked limestone karst landforms, displaying the pillars with a variety of coastal erosional features such as arches and caves which form a majestic natural scenery.
In 1994, Halong bay was designated as Vietnam’s second World Heritage by UNESCO. As the number one tourist attraction in the north-east, it draws a steady stream of visitors year round. From December till March, the weather is often cold and drizzly and the ensuing fog can make visibility low, although the temperature rarely falls below 10 degree. During the summer time, the tropical storms appear. Besides the breathtaking vista, visitors visit the bay to explore the countless caves. There is only one beach called Titop beach. Over Lan Ha bay (off Cat Ba island) the opposite is true, Lan Ha boasts over 100 beaches but almost no caves at all.
Halong literally means “where the dragon descends into the sea”. Legend has it that the islands of Halong Bay were created by a great dragon who lived in the mountains. As it ran towards the coast, its flailing tail gouged out valleys and crevasses, as it plunged into the sea, the areas dug up by the tail became filled with water, leaving only the highland visible.