Halong Bay - The bay of the descending dragon
Halong Bay - one of the New Seven Wonders of the World - welcomes thousands of guests every year. The location of Halong Bay is special, and offers travellers and endless variety of touristic activities: swim-worthy beautiful beaches, spectacular limestone islands and islets, mysterious caves and grottoes. And while Halong Bay formed due to geological processes over billions of years, the legend of how this magnificent landscape came to be is just as intriguing.
According to the Sino-Vietnamese, “Ha” means descending and “Long” means dragon. “Ha Long” Bay literally means the bay of the descending dragon, and is a fusion of ancient mythology and Vietnamese history.
Thousands of years ago, Vietnam - as a newly formed country - had to continuously fight against invaders from the north. This displeased Ngoc Hoang Thuong De - the Jade Emperor who ruled heaven - so he sent the Mother Dragon and her children to assist the Vietnamese overcome their endless struggles with would-be conquerors.
At the time, most of the Vietnamese army gathered on the mainland in defense against the enemy, and the navy in the Eastern Sea was suddenly attacked. It was at this moment that Mother Dragon and her children appeared in the sky to help the navy. With their mix of divine fire and giant emeralds, the dragons incinerated their enemies. The emeralds from the Dragons’ mouths scattered around the marine battlefield and formed the islands and islets that became the Halong Bay of today. Battleships were sunk, the enemy fleed and finally, Vietnam was at peace.
Following the battle, the Mother Dragon and her children decided to live in the mortal world in human form to protect the national sovereignty and support the Vietnamese with agriculture and animal husbandry. This explains the myth that says the Vietnamese people are the descendants of dragons and fairies.
Along with Halong Bay, its neighbour Bai Tu Long Bay also commemorates the event. “Bai” means to bow down for worship, “to long” means dragon children - the location reminds visitors to show respect for the dragon children.
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