As a local legend goes, once upon a time when Vietnam was attacked from the sea, the Jade Emperor sent a family of dragons to help the Vietnamese fight against their invaders from the sea. Those dragons flew down upon where is now Halong Bay and spat countless pearls into the sea, which turned into a myriad of jade islands linking together to form a barrier against the invaders, and helped the Vietnamese defend their land. Therefore, the area where the dragons landed was then called Halong Bay, meaning Bay of Descending Dragons.
Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, the northeast of Vietnam, Halong Bay has an area of around 1,553km2 (600mi2) featuring 1,969 islets, most of which are limestone formations rising out of the emerald waters. An overnight cruise on a traditional Vietnamese junk is the best way to experience the beautiful seascape of Halong Bay, though it is possible to do a day trip from Hanoi.
There are different boats offering two-day, three-day and longer excursions in Halong. Most travelers go for one-night cruise, while some other book two-night cruise so that they have more time to relax on the boat or enjoy ocean kayaking. All cruising itineraries offer visit to a limestone cave, floating village and a beach.