Story: Kim Ngan
Photos: Hoang Ha, Ba Hao, Duc Thinh, Le Bich, Ngoc Vu, Quang Duc

Legend has it that the Heavenly God dispatched a mother dragon and her offspring to earth to help the Vietnamese people to overcome invaders at the dawn of their history. Upon arrival, the flock of dragons spat many pearls into the sea, which formed thousands of rocky islands that blocked the enemy fleet. The attacking ships hit the rocks and were smashed. For this reason, people called the places where the dragon and her offspring landed ‘Ha Long’ (Descending Dragon) and ‘Bai Tu Long’ (Young Dragons Attend to their Mother), whereas the place where the dragons splashed water with their tails was called ‘Bach Long Vi’ (The Tail of the White Dragon).

Van Don Bridge

Magical archipelago

About 165 kilometers northeast of Hanoi, Ha Long Bay boasts nearly 2,000 rocky islands of various shapes and sizes set in a calm sea. The Creator formed islands in shapes that are vivid and familiar to humans. One looks like a pair of chickens. One brings to mind a dozing turtle. Another resembles an urn used to worship Earth and Heaven. Deep inside the islands lie beautiful caves, namely Thien Cung Cave, Tam Cung Cave, Sung Sot Cave, and Trinh Nu Cave.  

To gain a panoramic view of the bay, visitors can climb Mount Bai Tho, the peak of which lies roughly 200 meters above sea level. From here, they can see the blue sea, twinkling islands, and floating clouds, together with plants, flowers, and birds. 

Ha Long Bay

Endowed with such beauty, Ha Long Bay was declared one of the world’s ‘Seven New Natural Wonders’ in an online poll in 2012. In 2015, it made the top 15 of the world’s most amazing landscapes and rock formations in a BBC poll in the UK. The UNESCO has twice certified this place as a ‘World Natural Heritage’. However, besides Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh has many more wonders waiting to be explored. 

Van Don – an 800-year-old port                

Van Don is located east of Bai Tu Long Bay and consists of about 600 islands. In the old days, it was described as an area of desolate islands with rudimentary fishing villages. To come here, people had to wait outdoors for a ferry. Today, Van Don is very different. It has become one of the North’s most appealing tourist spots. The ferries of the past have been replaced by Van Don Bridge. In the near future, flights will land at the newly-built Van Don International Airport, making it easier than ever for visitors from southern Vietnam to reach Quang Ninh.  

From Cai Rong Wharf, tourists can take boat trips to see scenic spots on Cai Bau Island (the biggest island in Van Don) and other nearby islands. 

A bird’s eye view of Van Don

Scenic fishing village

Situated on a calm sea and surrounded by rocky mountains, Cua Van Fishing Village is a must-visit destination in Quang Ninh. In 2014, Travel & Leisure magazine declared this place among the world’s ‘Ten Most Beautiful Coastal Towns’.

Floating on the bay, this little village is home to around 700 residents who survive by fishing. In Cua Van, as well as enjoying the natural beauty, visitors can study the fishermen’s cultural lives, row boats, go fishing, and feast on local specialties.

A dynamic city                                                                                                              

Go into town if you crave some hustle and bustle. For young people, Dragon Park, Southeast Asia’s biggest theme park, is an exciting destination. Covering 23 hectares, this park offers entertainment for people of all ages, from pony rides for children to sensational roller coasters for adults. 

After burning off some energy, visitors can relax at the nearby pedestrian precinct. Both sides of the street are lined with nice, small restaurants, bars with loud music, and games counters, among other things, to create a bustling atmosphere. 

Quang Ninh offers more than just heritage sites. This province is making every effort to please even the most demanding visitors. Come and see how beautiful and interesting this region is!