The islands on Ha Long Bay, formed over 500 million years ago, are limestones and are massed in the southeast and southwest. There are islands that resemble a resplendent throne, a mother’s curved back carrying her child, a roof, an old man, a human head and so on.
Ha Long Bay has hundreds of beautiful caves of different shapes and sizes. Some of them are archaeological sites retaining tangible archaeological evidence. As a result, Ha Long’s island system can be regarded as work of art that provokes the imagination.
Legend has it that invaders came to conquer Vietnam many years ago. The Emerald Caesar sent mother dragon and its dragon babies from the sky to help the Vietnamese. As the invaders’ boats reached the shore, the dragons landed and shot a stream of pearls from their mouths that turned into thousands of stone islands in the water.
In geological terms, the mythical monster at work is wind and water, weathering the porous limestones over a few million years. This process created limestone cathedrals with stalactites and stalagmites.
The bay was World Heritage listed by UNESCO at the 18th meeting of the Committee of the World Heritages of UNESCO (in Thailand on December 17th, 1994). It is one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist destinations. The surrounding land region of Halong City is rich with high grade coal deposits, and is operated by the Vietnamese government.