THE LEGEND OF HALONG BAY

While many have come to know of Halong bay’s majestic beauty, not many know about the legend and mystery behind its namesake. People may know Halong bay is a UNESCO world heritage site and has been declared one of the new wonders of the world.

They may even know it’s located in the northern province of QuangNinh approximately 140km from the capital city of Hanoi, and attracts millions of visitors each year.

Thosewho flock here know that they will be treated to a cinematic-esque experience of Halong bay which is comprised of nearly 2000 islets, caves and thousands of limestone karsts. It’s quite possible people may even know the limestone in this bay have gone through 500 million years of transformation.

However what most people do not know is the intriguing legend behind Ha Long bay, the legend of dragons.The name Halong is derived from Sino-Vietnamese meaning “descending dragon” and has its root in the formation of the country. Local legend has it that during the early history of the country, the Vietnamese were in an epic battle with invaders. In an effort to protect the country, the Jade emperor sent a family of dragons who ascended from the heavens to help assist the ancient Vietnamese people in their battle.

The mother dragon and her children incinerated the enemies with their divine fire and emeralds, which scattered around the sea created an indestructible defense sinking enemy battle fleets. With the help of the dragons, the northern invaders were finally repelled bringing peace back to the country. Despite the conclusion of the battle, the mother dragon and her children remained in the mortal world to assist these ancient Vietnamese people.

The mother dragon would form what is known as Ha Long bay while her children created the adjacent Bai Tu Long bay. The emeralds which once protected the seas would rise and become the islands and limestone karst.

If you look close enough and use a bit of imagination you can make see the dragons in Halong bay.On misty days, when the haze slightly alters your vision, you can make them out twisting and turning along the bay. If you’re up close, you can see how the ragged edges of the limestone resemble the rigid scales of a dragon. Many people who have travelled here have said that thelimestone karsts connect with one another forming what looks like the curving body of a dragon.

Folklore and legends are an integral part of Vietnamese culture as many countries around the world. For history buffs or curious visitors in general, these folklore passed down from generation to generation gives us a glimpse into an ancient world that once was and how it has shaped the world today. Vietnam is full of intriguing legends from the majestic Halong Bay to the Sword lake located in the center which tells a tale of a turtle who surfaced and equipped Le Loi with a sword to defeat the enemies.

Don’t just take others advice for it, come visit and hear about the folklore and legends that surround Vietnam. Whether you choose to believe or not can not be determined until you have visited and feel the magic for yourself.

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