Halong Bay in Vietnam is often a big ticket item on people's bucket list and it's easy to see why. The unusual landscape is simply breathtaking and there is nothing else like it in the world; which is why it has been named one the 'New Seven Wonders of the World'.
In ancient Vietnamese, the word 'Ha Long' translates to "Descending Dragon" and legend has it that when the country was newly formed about 1000 years ago, the Vietnamese had to constantly fight off invaders from the North coming through the sea. To protect his people, the Jade Emperor sent a mother dragon and her children to help the Vietnamese fight and defend the country (Pure Game of Thrones Style). As the dragons swooped down they incinerated the enemies with their divine fire and also fired out giant emeralds into the water to form rock walls to stop more invaders coming through. These emeralds turned into the thousands of islands and islets that are dotted about "Descending Dragon Bay" today.
After the battle was over, the dragons decided to stick around, taking human form and helping with agriculture. This is why they say Vietnamese people as the descendants of Dragons and Fairies. Cool hey.
Anyway, this place is truly stunning and really does take your breath away and it was definitely a highlight for us when we visited last year. We use a company called 'Majestic Cruises' and all our Vietnam tours include a 2 Day / 1 Night Halong Bay cruise on a traditional Junk Boat. It's such a relaxing experience, just laying on the sundeck watching the emerald landscape drift by while sipping a cheeky cocktail! If you're feeling a little active you can explore caves, climb up to stunning look-outs, do some Tai Chi, visit a pearl farm and buy some pearls, take a rowing boat around some of the smaller islets the big boat cannot get to, and if the weather is nice, go for a swim in the bay - we didn't, It was a bit too chilly for us North Queenslanders!
All images taken by MyHoliday2 staff members.