top of page

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Everything you need to know about Halong Bay


Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular travel destination in Quảng Ninh Province, Vietnam. The name Hạ Long means "descending dragon". The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various shapes and sizes. Hạ Long Bay has an area of around 1,553 km2 (600 sq mi), including 1,960–2,000 islets, most of which are limestone. 

The limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. The evolution of the karst in this bay has taken 20 million years under the impact of the tropical wet climate.


Hạ Long Bay is located in northeastern Vietnam, from E106°55' to E107°37' and from N20°43' to N21°09'. The bay stretches from Quang Yen town, past Hạ Long city, Cẩm Phả city to Vân Đồn District, is bordered on the south and southeast by Lan Ha Bay, on the north by Hạ Long city, and on the west by Bai Tu Long Bay. The bay has a 120-kilometre-long (75 mi) coastline and is approximately 1,553 km2 (600 sq mi) in size with about 2,000 islets. The area designated by UNESCO as the World Natural Heritage Site incorporates 434 km2 (168 sq mi) with 775 islets, of which the core zone is delimited by 69 points: Dau Go island on the west, Ba Ham lake on the south and Cong Tay island on the east. The protected area is from the Cái Dăm petrol store to Quang Hanh ward, Cẩm Phả city and the surrounding zone.


The climate of the bay is tropical, wet, sea islands, with two seasons: hot and moist summer, dry and cold winter. The average temperature is from 15–25 °C (59–77 °F), and annual rainfall is between 2 and 2.2 metres (6.6 and 7.2 ft). Ha Long Bay has the typical diurnal tide system (tide amplitude ranges from 3.5–4 metres or 11–13 feet). The salinity is from 31 to 34.5MT in the dry season and lower in the rainy season.


Of the 1,969 islands in Ha Long, only approximately 40 are inhabited. These islands range from tens to thousands of hectares in size, mainly in the East and Southeast of Hạ Long Bay. In recent decades, thousands of villagers have been starting to settle down on the pristine islands and build new communities such as Sa Tô Island (Hạ Long City), Thắng Lợi Island (Vân Đồn district).

The population of Hạ Long Bay is about 1,540, mainly in Cửa Vạn, Ba Hang and Cặp Dè fishing villages (Hùng Thắng Ward, Hạ Long City). Residents of the bay mostly live on boats and rafts buoyed by tires and plastic jugs to facilitate the fishing, cultivating and breeding of aquatic and marine species. Fish require feeding every other day for up to three years, when they are eventually sold to local seafood restaurants for up to 300,000 Vietnamese dong per kilogram. Today the life of Hạ Long Bay inhabitants has much improved due to new travel businesses. Residents of the floating villages around the Ha Long bay now offer bedrooms for rent, boat tours, and fresh seafood meals to tourists. While this is an isolating, back-breaking lifestyle, floating village residents are considered wealthy to residents of other Hạ Long Bay islands.[13]


Search for more popular destinations

bottom of page