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Halong Bay Facts

Halong Bay is a bay in the north of Vietnam, in Quang Ninh province.

The bay is around 579 square miles in size and is filled with over 1,960 tall, rocky islands. Most of the islands are made out of limestone and are covered in tropical plants.

There are beaches and caves on many of them, too.

Many kinds of animals are found on the islands, such as lizards, deer, antelope, and monkeys. 200 species of fish live in the waters of the bay.

Halong Bay is famous for its variety of plant and animal life, its beauty, and its history.

Halong Bay Facts for Kids

  • The name Halong Bay means ‘Descending Dragon Bay’. There is a legend that tells of how the gods sent dragons that dropped jewels out of their mouths. These fell into the bay and created the islands.
  • The limestone in the bay is around 500 million years old. Archaeologists have found proof that there were people living in and around Halong Bay up to 18,000 years ago!
  • The bay has 75 miles of coastline.
  • Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
  • Not all of the islands are named, but those that are mostly getting their names because of their shape. For example, there’s one island called ‘Teapot Island’ and another called ‘Chopsticks Island’.
  • The islands are mostly taller than they are wide – around six times taller, in fact. They are between 160 and 330 feet high. On many islands, there are very steep cliffs.
  • The blue waters of the bay are not very deep, only around 33 feet. As well as around 1,000 species of marine wildlife, there are also over 160 types of coral in the bay.
  • The bay is also well-known for producing some delicious seafood, such as Vietnamese calamari and horseshoe crab.
  • Halong Bay is extremely beautiful, so it’s not surprising that it has been used as a set for quite a few famous movies, such as ‘Pan’ and ‘Kong: Skull Island’.
  • Up until 2014, hundreds of people lived in the bay in floating villages. These were the families of fishermen. In the floating villages, there were houses, shops, community buildings and even schools. In 2014, the government moved these families to the mainland so they could have a better life, with better access to schools and health care. Today, although people no longer live in the villages full time, locals still work in the bay. For example, some continue to fish or weave fishing nets there whilst others work in tourism, giving visitors tours of the harbor and the four floating villages that remain.
  • Because Halong Bay is a popular tourist destination, there are lots of hotels and other accommodation in the bay. Tourists can also go on cruises, either just for a day or for a few nights. During the cruises, visitors might go to the floating villages, explore caves, swim in the beautiful blue waters of the bay, go kayaking or even try their hand at squid fishing.
  • On the island of Cat Ba, there is a cave called Hospital Cave. This was used during the Vietnam War as a secret bomb-proof hospital and somewhere for the leaders of North Vietnam to meet. The hospital was completely hidden from view, both from the ground and from the air. There were hospital beds for up to 100 patients. There was even a swimming pool and cinema! The cave was used until 1975. Today, visitors can explore its 17 rooms.

 

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Question: What kind of islands are in Halong Bay?
Answer: There are tall, rocky, limestone islands.

Question: What does the name ‘Halong Bay’ mean?
Answer: It means ‘Descending Dragon Bay’.