To the east of Hanoi, lies one of the most famous of Vietnam’s, and indeed the world's, natural wonders. Ha Long Bay is the largest example of marine ‘karst’ landscape on Earth, the formation of which began some five hundred million years ago, with over two thousand sculptural island formations covering an area of 1,500 square kilometres of the South China Sea.


In the Vietnamese language, Ha Long translates as the ‘bay of descending dragons’, and indeed, it is easy to see why, with its extraordinary natural features laid out like many clutches of Sea-dragon eggs, full of otherworldly mystery and a fertile inspiration to awaken in the visitor the ancient myths of Vietnam’s culture.

Rock formations, ha long bay, vietnam 

At once stunning to behold, and more akin to a fantasy planet than more usual natural encounters, it is little surprise that the area attracts in excess of two million visitors annually, with a variety of one to three day cruises available, usually aboard well specified, even luxurious, replicas of the imperial royal Junks of the Emperors of old.

Cruise ship afloat ha long bay, vietnam

Longer excursions can penetrate well beyond the most accessible areas, and although though the accommodation is fairly basic, it is also possible to arrange a stay at Quan Lan Island, in the outer seascape of Bai Tu Long Bay.

daily life in ha long bay, vietnam

Among the most popular attractions are the caves at Hang Dau Go (Grotto of the wooden stakes), Hang Sung Sot (Surprise Cave), Ho Dong Tien (Grotto of the Fairy Lake), Dong Me Cung (Grotto of the Labyrinth) and Ho Ba Ham with its ‘three tunnel’ lagoon.

cave in ha long bay, vietnam 

A favourite pastime for visitors is sea kayaking around the many structures and sea level caves.

Cat ba langurs, ha long bay, vietnam

The islands are also a haven for wildlife. One of the largest islands of the bay is Cat Ba, home to a National Park of the same name, most famous for its unique golden-headed langurs, clinging on the precipice of extinction.

Beach at cat ba, ha long bay, vietnam

Ha Long bay is also the home of the rare Haivenu Orchid, from which our company name is derived.

Cat ba harbour, vietnam 

Despite the contemporary busyness of the bay, and the occasional resultant waves of diesel, flotsam and jetsam that modern tourism and trade inevitably engenders, Ha Long Bay is one of the world’s ‘must see’ attractions, and is deservedly a premier hotspot on world cruise itineraries.

View in ha long bay, vietnam

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