Halong Bay is an approximately 1500 km² area in the Gulf of Tonkin in northern Vietnam. According to official data, in 1969, limestone cliffs, mostly uninhabited islands and rocks, protrude several hundred meters high from the water. In 1994, UNESCO declared the Bay a World Heritage Site.
The name Vịnh Hạ Long means “Bay of the Inclining Dragon” in contrast to Thang Long (Ascending Dragon, the ancient name of Hanoi). Legend has it that the bay was formed by a dragon, who lived near the sea in the mountains. As he ran to the shore, he drew deep furrows with his tail into the land, which was flooded by the sea after the dragon had dived into the water.
The largest island, 354 km², is Cat Ba, where about 12,000 islanders live mainly from fishing, oyster farming, and tourism. The most extensive survey is over 330 m. In the bay of Halong, there are numerous caves, one of the most famous of which is the Sung Sot Grotto.
In the 1970s and 1980s, it was the starting point of the escape of numerous so-called boat people. In the movie ‘James Bond 007 – Tomorrow Never Dies’, the showdown takes place in the Halong Bay.