Posted Date: 9/6/2019
*Legend of Ha Long Bay*
Halong Bay in English is translated into 'the Bay of the Dragons'. Folklore had it that pride of Dragons was once summoned by the Emperor to assist Modern Vietnam in resistance to the colonial aggression of their enemies. In a flurry, the Mother dragon and its whelps took a boat from the Heaven and landed on the shore. Within a matter of seconds, the dragons erupted into a myriad of jewels and rocks in the sea and evolved into a strong, gigantic wall that halted the advanced of their enemy ships. The attacks of invaders were quick but unfortunately were not agile enough to escape from the eruption. In the end, they crashed with the stones and died.
After the rebellion, Mother Dragon and Baby Dragon did not return to Heaven but remained in the mortal world where the battle took place. The place of Mother Dragon's landing is Ha Long, while the place where Baby Dragon descended is Bai Tu Long.
*Halong Bay to UNESCO*
Ha Long Bay has a large area of 1,553 square kilometers and is consisted of 1,969 large and small limestone islands in different shapes. Some islands have interesting names such as, 'Fighting Cock Islet, The Saddle of Horse Islet, Turtle Islet, Human Face Islet, Duck Island Islet and etc'. The core zone of the bay is famously known as one of the world heritage sites with a colossal area that spans 335 square kilometers with 775 large and small islands. Most of their limestone islands are the result of the process that began about 350 to 500 millions years ago.
Ha Long Bay was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage for the first time in 1994 due to their majestic beauty. In 2000, Ha Long Bay was once again recognized by UNESCO for its geology and geomorphology. In 2011, Ha Long Bay was listed as a member of the latest 7 Wonders of the World.
On the other hand, Bai Tu Long Bay is the name given to a large area of 5,783 ha land located in the northeast of Halong Bay Vietnam. Although it shares many similar geological characteristics as Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay is considered more of an off-the-beaten destination.
It has many more deserted but pristine beaches such as Van Don, Quan Lan, Minh Chau, Co To, and has impressive karst mountains such as Tra Ban, Tra Ngo, Ba Mun and etc. Furthermore, the Bay has a rich biodiversity with two important ecosystems. Firstly, there's a tropical, moist, evergreen rainforest ecosystem. Secondly, it's also a form of marine and coastal ecosystem. This is a scarce phenomenon rarely known by any tourists and therefore it's less crowded than that of Halong Bay.
*Halong Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay?*
If Ha Long Bay was a beautiful girl, then Bai Tu Long Bay would be an enchanting princess. Halong Bay is known as a popular tourist destination with more than 6 millions of tourists per year. With rapid and asynchronous tourism development, the ecosystem and environment are seriously affected. There's an increase in the number of uncontrolled vessels to more than registered 2,000 ships in the past years. At the same time, the developments of Ha Long City have caused serious water pollution. The once pristine bay is now too dirty to the extent that the holiday-makers refuse to swim in it.
Thus, two questions emerge: Should you still visit Ha Long Bay? How do you select your trip between Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay? In our opinion, you may still enjoy Ha Long if you didn't mind the large crowd and the pollution issues there. There're many 5-Star cruise companies such as Paradise, Au Co, Jasmin, Violet, Indochina, in which that they'd depart from Tuan Chau wharf will be a great choice for your consideration. Starting from Ha Long City, there're cruises such as Victory Star, Dragon Legend, Indochina Junk and etc. All these mentioned cruises may still be able to fit in your itinerary for Ha Long and Bai Tu Long. However, you should also take note that some areas in Ha Long are bordered by a buffer zone where you may still get some memorable experiences.
What if we provide you with a better solution? Bai Tu Long Bay might just be the answer for you! To visit the Bai Tu Long National Park, you must depart from Cai Rong Wharf, which is a local fishing port at Cai Bau Island. That way, you can get to experience the entire Bai Tu Long Bay! The islands are completely silent and the water there is always crystal clear. You can explore and even rest on islands like Quan Lan, Tra Ban, Co To, Ngoc Vung.
Co To island in Bai Tu Long is a newly-discovered sanctuary that has successfully retained its inherent wilderness that reflects that of Ha Long 20 years ago. There're some fishing villages and oyster farms. The water there is clean as ever. an original Ha Long of more than 20 years ago. Bai Tu Long National Park has been selected as one of the representative areas of the marine conservatory in Vietnam. There're two ways you can reach this place. First, you may use the speedboat facilities of local businesses or you may contact Ha Noi-based travel companies.
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