Listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO 1994, Ha Long Bay is a stunning limestone archipelago stretching over some 1500 square kilometers and comprising nearly 2000 islets. Also known as the bay of ‘the descending dragon’, legend has is that the bay was formed when a dragon plunged into the sea whipping its tail from side to side that carved a stunning seascape of craggy limestone karst islands. However, geologists claim that this ‘eighth wonder of the world’ has formed over the last 280 million years as a result of rainwater and the tidal seas eroding the land.
This 1000 km2 (620 square mile) offshoot of the Gulf of Tonkin is easily reached by road from Hanoi, a journey of roughly three and a half hours. Enjoy a gentle cruise through the emerald green waters as you glide past fishing communities and hidden cave systems such as the ‘Cave of Surprises’, where you can marvel at strangely formed stalactites and stalagmites. Anchor at a nearby beach where you can swim or climb to the top of the island for a panoramic view of the bay and the surrounding islands. Don’t miss out on the chance to sample some delicious local seafood served aboard your atmospheric jun