Chapman Freeborn blog

Enchanting Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, recognising the immense natural beauty of this unique place. Within the bay there are around two thousand islands and islets covering an area of one and a half thousand square kilometres. The sight of thousands of islands and islets rising up from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin is truly striking and is something that remains with visitors long after their visit.

Natural beauty

Ha Long Bay is like nowhere else on earth and has been recognised as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature thanks to its breath-taking beauty and mysterious and slightly ethereal atmosphere.

The history of Ha Long Bay can be traced all the way back to around 570 million years ago when the area was part of the mainland. It has undergone many different geological processes and periods to turn it into the spectacular place that it is today.

The area has two distinct ecosystems – a moist, tropical ecosystem and a marine and coastal ecosystem. Within these two ecosystems almost three thousand species of flora and fauna can be found, including over one hundred rare species. There are also seventeen species that have only been found within the bay itself, making this a fantastically diverse area.

The majority of the islands and islets are limestone and are topped with thick, lush jungle vegetation. Due to their steep nature, very few of the islands are inhabited and they have been largely unaffected by humans, meaning it remains to this day a wonderfully natural place.

The myth

Ha Long Bay translates from Vietnamese to mean ‘descending dragon bay’. Vietnam was said to have been invaded thousands of years ago and Mother Dragon and her child dragons were sent to help the people of the country. The dragons sprayed pearls from their mouths which turned into the thousands of islands emerging from the sea and stopping the invaders boats.

Take a junk boat trip

Junk boats are the traditional wooden boats from this area of Vietnam that have been used by people for hundreds of years. Set sail through the calm waters to admire the limestone islands and islets up close. There are a multitude of different junk boat tours available, with durations starting from just a few hours to several days on more luxury converted junk boats.

During a junk boat trip, you will sail past at least one of the three traditional floating villages that date back to the early nineteenth century. Around 1,700 people live in these villages today, with each village containing around four hundred houses.

Travel to Ha Long Bay by private jet by chartering with Chapman Freeborn. Fly into Noi Ban International Airport, located around 85 miles from Ha Long Bay. We would be delighted to discuss your travel requirements and put together a personalised quote for your needs.