Breathtaking view of the islands of Ha Long Bay

Local Vietnamese legend has it that in the country’s early beginnings, to assist the Vietnamese in defending their territory against invaders, the gods sent dragons to protect locals.

These dragons are said to have destroyed their enemies by spitting out a divine sort of emerald fire, which transformed into the islands that are today strewn around the bay. 

These emeralds swept invaders away and left in their wake the breathtaking Halong Bay. 

The remnants of this legend are the several islands decorated by thick, majestic vegetation dotted around the ocean. 

Many of these islands have large, hollow limestone caves, the result of centuries of weathering. The community of Halong Bay, which is populated by just under 2000 people, reside in floating houses. How crazy is that?

Surrounding these floating houses are over 200 species of fish and 450 different kinds of mollusks, which sustain this fishing town. 

Islands have names adapted from their unique shapes. A few examples of these are the Voi Islet (elephant), Ga Choi Islet (fighting cock), Khi Islet (monkey) and Mai Nha Islet (roof). 

There’s significant biodiversity within its limestone islands, including a tropical evergreen biosystem, oceanic and sea shore biosystem. 

According to Wikipedia, this diverse biodiversity is home to 14 endemic floral species and 60 endemic faunal species.

As you’d expect, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a popular travel destination in Vietnam. Judging from our pic of the day, it’s a place definitely worth experiencing at least once in your lifetime. Or maybe twice...