Photos: Limestone masterpieces in the heart of Ha Long Bay

Experience a boat trip in Ha Long Bay – the World Natural Heritage site – where there are hundreds of limestone islands of strange shapes.
Halong Bay is located west of Tonkin Gulf. The bay has twice been recognized by the UNESCO as a world natural heritage of aesthetic value in 1994 and for its geology and geomorphology in 2010.
In addition to the spectacular cave system, visitors are attracted by thousands of islands of diverse shapes. Of the nearly 2,000 islands in the bay, about 980 have been named by local people based on their shapes.
While exploring the bay, visitors will feel lost in a legendary world of stone islands where shapes change depending on the angle and the light.
There are many names given to islands according to their shapes and forms such as Hon Dau Nguoi (Human Head Islet), Hon Rong (Dragon Islet), Hon Canh Buom (Sail Islet), Hon But (Pen Islet), Hon Dinh Huong (Dinh Huong islet), and Hon Con Coc (Toad Islet).
Trong Mai Islet (rock of ‘the kissing cocks’) is a famous islet on the bay. It has become a symbol of Ha Long Bay and Vietnam’s tourism. It can also be found with the name “Ga Choi Islet” (rock of “the fighting cocks”).
Trong Mai Islet is located at the southwestern Ha Long Bay, about 5 kilometres from Bai Chay tourist wharf. It has the shape of a cock couple rising from the blue sea. These two huge cocks have stood by each other for thousands of years. As the story told by the locals, Trong Mai Islet represents faithfulness of love.
The islet is most beautiful at dawn, when the sun sheds the first shine of a day and lights up the cock couple.
The Bay’s geological value is evaluated in two ways including by the history of its formation and its karst geomorphology. It is also home to the ancient Viet people about 7,000 to 18,000 years ago.
Bio-diversity is an all important natural resource, to be well-conserved so as to maintain the ecological balance of the whole region.
Thanks to its inherent natural beauty, Ha Long Bay attracts tens of thousands of domestic and overseas visitors each year.
The bay has been cited as a vision of outstanding beauty and one of the world’s top ten Valentine’s Day getaways by US-based National Geographic magazine.
It has also appeared in a list of “100 trips you must take in your lifetime” by the US magazine, Business Insider.


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