Natural Beauty of Ha Long bay
1. Beautiful Islands:
Situated about 14 km south-east of Bai Chay lies the small Ti Tov Island. It displays a beach shaped like a crescent moon, and sand that has been washed to a snowy white by the tide. On 22 November 1962, this tiny island had the honour of receiving a visit from astronaut Ghermann Titov, a hero of the former Soviet Union, accompanied by Ho Chi Minh. To perpetuate the remembrance of their visit, Uncle Ho named the place Ti Top Island. It has now become an attractive beach for tourists and has various tourist services.
On the map of Ha Long Bay drawn by the French in late 19 century, this beautiful small island was called Cat Nang and lay against Cua Luc gulf with the Surprise Grotto in the front and Dam Nam on the right hand side.
Tuan Chau Island
Just 4km away from the Bai Chay Tourist Wharf, Tuan Chau is a sandy artificial beach which stretches over 3 km. Heading to the holiday resort in Tuan Chau Islands, besides swimming, tourist can enjoy such fascinating extras as sightseeing, entertainment and sports activities, including climbing or camping in the eco – tourism.
Ngoc Vung Island
Ngoc Vung Island and beach is located 34 km far from the tourist boat wharf in Van Don District. Stretching over an area of 12km2, the island is home to many beautiful beaches, the 182 m high Van Xuan Moutain and the relics of Ha Long ancient culture with an area of 45,000 m2.
From above, Ngoc Vung looks like a beautiful velvet handkerchief with exquisite white edging; Under the feudal dynasties, this island zone contained a great quantity of rare and precious species of mother-of-pearls.
Ba Trai Dao Island (three peaches island)
To the Ba Trai Dao beach, it costs 10 hours by cruise from Bai Chay Tourist Wharf. It has that name as Ba Trai Dao Beach, features three small sand beaches embracing small islands.
These islands, seem from afar, resemble three peaches. Tourists take bath in this beach only 2-3 hours in a day as in other time the beach is lapped by tides.
Quan Lan Island
This beach lies at Quan Lan Island in Bai Tu Long Bay, between Minh Chau and Quang Lan communes of Van Don District, 55 km far from Ha Long City. Its pristine beauty features unspoiled environment. The deep blue beach has strong waves and white sand, which spans over several km.
Cong Tay Island
Cong Tay Island is located in Bai Tu Long for route of Ngoc Vung Island and Quan Lan. The Island is 40 km far from Bai Chay harbor. Cam Pha train often runs from the Island in about 90 mins, and about 30 minutes by speedboat.
2. Beautiful Grottos and Caves:
Thien Cung Grotto
It is situated on the south-west side the bay, 4 km from the wharf outside of Ha Long City. The way to Thiên Cung is a perilous one, covered on both sides by thick forest. After entering a narrow gate, the grotto’s 130-meter-long girth opens up. Getting in we are more astonished in front of the very animated and splendid beauty which is made from stalactite. On the east wall of the grotto, there is a grandiose and imposing picture with characters of tales
Sung Sot Cave
Sung Sot Cave (or Surprise Cave) It is situated on the south-west side the bay, 4 km from the wharf outside of Ha Long City. The way to Thiên Cung is a perilous one, covered on both sides by thick forest. After entering a narrow gate, the grotto’s 130-meter-long girth opens up. Getting in we are more astonished in front of the very animated and splendid beauty which is made from stalactite. On the east wall of the grotto, there is a grandiose and imposing picture with characters of tales
Dau Go Cave
Dau Go Grotto (Driftwood Grotto) is found on Driftwood Island, formerly known as Canh Doc Island. The name Driftwood Grotto comes from the popular story of the resistance war against the Nguyen Mong aggressors. In a decisive battle, Tran Hung Dao was given an order to prepare many ironwood stakes to be planted on the riverbed of the Bach Dang River.
The remaining wooden pieces were found in the grotto and, as a result, the grotto was given its present name. The entrance is reached via 90 steps up to the island. The grotto is divided into three main parts. In the first chamber, rock of various majestic forms can be seen, depending on the imagination of the observer. In the middle of the chamber, on the top of the pillar, there appears to be a monk draped in a long, dark cloak, with his right hand clasping a cane. Moving into the second chamber, visitors pass through a narrow “door”, naturally formed by erosion. The light here is mysterious, and new images appear in the stone. The grotto ends with a well of clear water surrounded by four ancient walls.
Bo Nau Cave
Bo Nau Cave (Pelican Cave) is not as deep and large. Looking out from the cave the visitor can enjoy the scenic beauty of Ha Long. The clear blue water with rocky formations rising forms a picturesque setting. Bo Nau is a compound word derived from two words, bo cau meaning pigeon and nau meaning brown. Bo Nau literally means brown pigeon. For some reason, many foreign translations refer to this cave as Pelican cave. According to the fishermen in this region, long ago, when there were still few visitors, Bo Nau cave was home to thousands of pigeons. Today as more visitors and people begin to inhabit the surrounding islands, the pigeons have left until only the name Bo Nau remains out of habit of the local fishermen.
Me Cung Grotto
Two kilometers south-west of Titop Beach is the Mê Cung Grotto (or Bewitching Grotto). It formed on Luom Bo Island, and seen from afar, the entrance is like the roof of a house denting the island’s side.
On the island, there are many ancient trees casting long reflections on the water of the bay. They are home to many species of birds and animals (monkeys, chamois and varans).
Tam Cung Grotto
The Tam Cung Grotto (or Three-palace Grotto) is situated in the centre of Hạ Long Bay, 5 km from Sửng Sôt Grotto to the northeast. The grotto itself is divided into three parts; after threading the stone cracks, you find the first chamber. Many beautiful forms can be garnered from the rocky shapes.
Trinh Nu Grotto
The Trinh Nu Grotto (or Virgin Grotto) is situated on the island range of Bo Hon in the system comprising the Surprise Grotto, Dong Tien Lake and Luon Grotto. It is 15 km south of Bai Chay Beach. For fishermen, the Virgin Grotto is their house, but for young lovers, it is considered as the symbol of truly love, and is the romantic place for taking oath of love.
Entering Virgin Grotto, one finds in the middle of the grotto a stone statue of a lying-girl with her long hair hanging down who is looking to the sea in a vain hope.
Situated opposite to Virgin Grotto, Male Grotto has a stone statue of a boy who turns his face to Trinh Nữ Grotto. One still hears his vain scream in tune with the wind blowing into the cliff somewhere.
Kim Quy Grotto
Kim Quy Grotto (or Golden Tortoise Grotto) is situated on Dam Nam Islet, with a peak 187 m above sea level. Dam Bac Islet is in the front of the grotto and Soi Sim Islet in the back.
The grotto is 100 m long and 5 to 10 m wide, running in a north-south direction.
Situated on Bo Hon Island, 14 km south of Bai Chay Beach is the Luon Grotto. In front of the grotto is Con Rùa Islet, and the Sky Gate is on the right. Here the cliffs stretch vertically out of the pure blue and smooth water. At the water-level, an arched entrance leads to the grotto, just at the base of the island. Passing through the pretty entrance, you come across a tranquil round lake, surrounded by luxuriant trees and high dangerous stone walls. Monkeys run to and fro in groups, Benjamin fig trees shade the landscape and many orchids hang their sweet-scented flowers. In the lake, many species abound: shrimp, fish, crab and cuttle-fish.
3. Beautiful Islets
Trong Mai Islet or Ga Choi Islet
Trong Mai Islet (or Ga Choi Islet; fighting cock Islet) is situated on the south west side of Ha Long bay, 5 km from the tourist wharf near to Dinh Huong Islet. In a somewhat large expanse of open sea, the island seems to grow up from the bottom of the deep emerald waters. At sunset, the island with the height of over 10m is bright red and in a somewhat tottery position. Their tiny legs support heavy bodies, and it appears that one strong wave could throw the two stone blocks into the sea. However, hundreds of millions of years have passed, and the Trong Mai is still there. The image of the island is the logo of Ha Long Bay and Vietnam Tourism.
Cho Da Islet
In the itinerary of Thien Cung – Dau Go – Ti Tov, after visiting Thien Cung and Dau Go, one needs 10 minutes boating to the Cho Da Islet or Stone Dog Islet. Some 8 m up the islet one can figure out a piece of stone in the shape of a dog sitting with its back to the sea, standing guard for the safety of seagoing boats for millions of years.
Dau Nguoi Islet
From a far, you can see a 25-meter islet, which reminds us a huge Egyptian head with a big nose. Its chin lies close to the seasurface. Many people associate it with the image of the Egyptian Sphinx.
The Dau Nguoi Islet (or human head islet) in Ha Long Bay, a masterpiece of nature, has its own poetic beauty as it lies amidst seawaters. The islet lies near Luon cave, 13km away from the tourist wharf.
Con Coc Islet
Con Coc ( or Toad Islet ) is one of the most exquisite works nature has presented Ha Long. Just imagine, a 9-meter-tall toad sitting to wait for rain amidst the immenseness of the sea. The Toad Islet lies in the southeast of Ha Long Bay, 12 km away from the tourist boat wharf. The Toad is an ugly but useful animal. In the drought season, farmers usually listen to its sound to hope for rain, which is very helpful for their crop. The Vietnamese have a folk tale about the hard trek of thirsty animals to Heaven to plead for rain. A tiny courageous toad led this struggle. Eventually, the Jade Emperor adopted the Toad as his Uncle and willingly creates rain whenever it grinds its teeth
Dau Moi Islet
Dau Moi Islet lies in the middle of the route between Ấm Islet and Ðũa Islet in Bái Tử Long Bay. The islet resembles the head of a termite, a kind of insect often seen prior to the rainy season. Ðầu Mối Islet is listed in the diversified “animal collection” of Hạ Long Bay.
Yen Ngua Islet
The Yen Ngua ( or Saddle Islet ) lies in Halong Bay, in the centre of the World Heritage Area.
Characteristics: Nature has creatively shaped two pieces of stone, one high and one lower, which are linked together to form an imposing rock, looking like a saddle.
Boats can go through underneath. The whole rock resembles a sewing machine. How wonderful to have such a magnificent but elegant “saddle”, jutting some 10m above the sea surface.
Dinh Huong Islet
In the itinerary of Thien Cung – Dau Go –Ti Top, you can see the Dinh Huong Islet or Lu Huong (Incense Burner Islet) to the southwest of Dau Go Island. Passing the Cho Da (Stone Dog) Islet and the Con Meo (Cat) Islet, you will see an imposing stone slab resting on two other small stones stands blocked the way. The stone slab resembles a huge incense burner, which lies in the middle of the sea as a holy object to worship the Sky and Earth.
Su Tu Bien Islet
On the canoe route to Thien Cung – Dau Go Grottoes, one should visit Su Tu Bien or Sea Lion Islet, which is 10 minutes away from the Bai Chay Tourist Wharf. Amidst the vast seawaters of Ha Long, you recognize a high rock jutting from the sea, resembling a lion stretching. It attracts many French tourists because it was chosen as the background for the film L’Indochine produced by Paradis Film Company in 1992, with the famous French actress Catherine Deneuve playing a leading role. The movie focuses on a love story between a beautiful French noble woman, her adopted daughter and anti-war French lieutenant during the first Indochinese War. The main character, a young Vietnamese girl, sacrifices her love and even leaves her adopted mother behind to join the harsh resistance war and fight for national independence. In the island, some settings are still preserved including the stone-paved road to the beach (often called the Slave Pier), the prisons, etc
Soi Sim Islet
Soi Sim is an soil island 400 m away from Ti Top Island, and 7-8 km from the Bai Chay Tourist Wharf. In the island there are many ancient trees. The Hạ Long Bay Management Board is going to build a system of guesthouses equipped with modern facilities. At present, a small beach has been improved and upgraded, adding more charm to the attractive holiday resort.
Ngon Tay Islet
On the way to Titop Island, visitors see a stone rock resembling a thump jutting out of the sea.
Nature has put the Ngon Tay (Finger) Islet here as a reminder of many interesting extras in the discovery of Ha Long.
Mat Quy Islet
Boating past the Am Islet some 20 minutes, we see Mat Qui Islet or Monster Head Islet, which protrudes about 30-35 m from the waters of Bai Tu Long Bay. Nature has carved the rock in the shape of a monster head, with a rough big nose standing out from a distorted face. From whatever angle, one still find it horrible.
Am Rock (or Kettle Islet ) is situated in Bai Tu Long Bay on the way to Quan Lan and Ngoc Vung island. The name of this islet is associated with a legend which says that one day the Jade Emperor accidentally dropped his teapot into Ha Long Bay, and consequently, its handle was broken.
Thien Nga Islet
In the waters of Bái Tử Long Bay, a stone islet is bobbing like an alluring and graceful swan (Thiên Nga) – a swan losing its herd. This stone swan has taken up countless time and rolls of film of tourist near and far.
Xep Islet or Layer Islet is a huge, multi-layered, square piece of stone which looks like an Egyptian pyramid built in the middle of the Bai Tu Long, Cam Pha District.
Ba Trai Dao Islet
This island consists of three small mountains with the height of 23m, seen from far, resemble three peaches (Ba trai Dao)
The island connects to a legend of about the romantic love between a youngest fairy who was very pretty with a young and poor fisherman. Because of feeling in love with him, she stole three peaches from Heaven for him, that if he ate, would give him eternal life, allowing them to live together forever. The King of the heavens discovered the robbery and turned the peaches into three stone islands. Chastised, the young fairy had to return.
Today , Ba Trai Dao is a famous tourist attraction with three nice fairy beach, romantic landscape. It is 22 km from south north of Bai Chay Wharf.
Dua Islet (or chopstick Islet)
In Bái Tử Long Bay, some 7 km east of Bài Thơ (Poem) Mountain stands a stone islet, which resembles a huge magic wand in Andersen’s fairy tales. It clarifies the geological and geomorphologic significance of Hạ Long Bay. Dua Islet serves as an interesting tourist site and a “lighthouse” for seagoing boats
Situated 300 m away from Bai Tho Mountain and 5 km from the Bai Chay Tourist Wharf, this 22-meter islet stands out in Bai Tu Long Bay. It has the shape of truncated sticky rice, which serves as an offering to Buddha.