QUANH NINH PROVINCE
Quang Ninh is a mountainous and coastal province, with more than 80% of its area being made up of mountains and hills.
The sea and island zone of Quang Ninh has a unique terrain. There are more than 2,000 islands, making up two thirds of the Vietnam’s islands. They extend along the coast for more than 250km and divide into numerous layers. The largest islands are Cai Bau and Ban Sen, while the smallest are just like rocks in a garden. The sea bottom terrain of Quang Ninh isn’t smooth, and 20m-average depth. There are the remnants of ancient streams and underwater rocky banks. The streams from the mainland connect to deep drains along the sea-floor; creating a series of waterways, canals and harbors along the coast.
Quang Ninh’s climate is symbolic of the climate in the North Vietnam; featuring all four seasons. In summer, it’s hot, humid and rainy, while monsoons flourish. In winter, it’s cold, dry, and sometime rainly.
The average heat radiating during a year is 115.4 Kcal/sq. cm. The average temperature is over 21?C, while the average humidity is 84%. Annual rainfall totals between 1,700 and 2,400mm, and there can be between 90 to 170 rainy days in a year. These are mainly concentrated in the summer (more than 85%), and especially in the months of July and August. In winter, rainfall only reaches between 150 and 400mm.
In comparison to other provinces in the north, Quang Ninh has been more under the influences of north-eastern monsoons. The wind blows strongly and the temperature drops to between 1 and 3?C. During a north-eastern monsoon, high mountainous regions such as Binh Lieu and Hai Ha, Dam Ha sometimes see the temperature drop below 0OC.
Storms have a large influence on the province, mainly in June, July and August. The intensity can be extremely strong, especially in island and coastal regions.
Due to differences in terrain, the climate of sub-regions vary. The border area of the Mong Cai City is colder and rainy, with an average temperature of around 22OC and rainfall reaching 2,751mm. In the Yen Hung District, the most southern area, the average temperature is 24OC and sees an average rainfall of 1,700mm. The high mountainous region of Hoanh Bo, and Ba Che Districts, is victim to 20 days of frost a year, and is subject to little rainfall. In the Binh Lieu District there is heavy rain (2,400mm) and winter lasts for six months. The offshore island region is not the wettest area, with only 1,700 to 1,800mm2 of rainfall per year, but winter is often accompanied by thick mists.
Ethnologically, Quang Ninh is made up of 21 ethnic groups, but only 6 have a population of over 1,000. These groups live in their own communities, and have their own dialects and particular ethnic features. They include the Viet (Kinh), Dao, Tay, San Diu, San Chi and Hoa. After these, there are two ethnic groups with populations of several hundred: the Nung and Muong. The remaining 14 have populations of less than 100: the Thai, Khmer, Hre, H’Mong, E De, Co Tu, Gia Rai, Ngai, Xo Dang, Co Ho, Ha Nhi, Lao. These originate from remote centres in the Central Highlands.
Among the major ethnic groups, the Kinh make up 89.2% of the ethnic population. The Dao have two main branches: the Thanh Y and Thanh Phan. They conserve their particular ethnic features such as dialect, clothing and traditional festivals, and some continue practices of nomadic farming. The Tay, San Diu and San Chi live in low mountainous areas, chiefly relying on agriculture, in particular the production of wet rice. The Hoa include many ethnic minorities, having immigrated from China many years ago. A small portion is Chinese residents who come to deal in commerce and handicrafts and live in townlets in eastern areas. Most live in the country, relying on agriculture, fishing and forestry.
There are many beautiful beaches and natural beauty spots such as Ha Long Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, Tra Co Beach, Co To Beach, Dai Beach in Van Don etc. Besides, there are historical and architectural relics enabling the development of tours on land, sea and islands. See more : Halong Phoenix Cruiser .
Ha Long Bay covers an area of 1,553 sq. km including 1,969 islands, of which an area of over 434 sq. km including 788 islands has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage due to its cultural, aesthetic, bio-geological and economic value. There are in the bay many soil islands, caves, grottoes, beaches, beautiful landscapes enabling the development of attractive tourist sites of various types.
Tuan Chau Island belonging to Ha Long Bay has an area of 220ha. It is 8km from Ha Long City and 2km offshore. This is an ideal spot to develop a super tourist complex. Bai Chay Beach is a wonderful spot and provides full range of services.
With around 500 historical, cultural and arts relics, attached with many traditional festivals; such as Yen Tu Pagoda, Cua Ong Temple, Bach Dang historical relic, Long Tien Pagoda, Quan Lan Communal House etc, which attract a large number of visitors, especially during festivals.
Coming to Quang Ninh, tourists can have good chance of enjoying seafood, including holothurians, abalone, shrimp, crab, areca, shellfish, gaillardia, etc
Road:- Hanoi - Bac Ninh - Halong: 155km. This is the shortest land route from Hanoi to Halong.
- Hanoi - Hai Duong - Halong: 163km.
- Mong Cai - Halong: 180km. From Mong Cai go along National Highway No. 4B via Hai Ha, Dam Ha then take National Highway No.18B through Cua Ong, Cam Pha, Hon Gai to Bai Chay.
Every day runs a train depart from Yen Vien Railway Station (Gia Lam District, Hanoi) for Halong at 4.50am and arrive at 11.40am.
Air:Offers a helicopter flight every Saturday from Gia Lam Airport (Hanoi), departing at 8 am and returning at 3 pm.
Waterways:It is convenient for visitors to travel to Halong Bay. Hon Gai Port and the boat system in Halong Bay have the capacity to serve many visitors.
HA LONG BAY - A WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Location: Halong Bay is located in the northeastern part of Vietnam and constitutes part of the western bank of Bac Bo Gulf, including the sea area of Halong City, Cam Pha Town and part of Van Don island district, Quang Ninh Province.
Characteristics: UNESCO recognized it as the World Natural Heritage two times.
The legend of Halong has it that, Once upon a time, soon after the Viet people established their country, invaders came. The Jade Emperor sent Mother Dragon and her Child Dragons down to earth to help the Viet people fight against their enemy. Right at the time invaders boats were rushing to the shore, the dragons landed down on earth. The dragons immediately sent out from their mouths a lot of pearls, which then turned into thousands of stone islands emerging in the sea like great walls challenging the invadersï boats. The fast boats couldnï't manage to stop and crashed into the islands and into each other and broke into pieces.
After the victory, Mother Dragon and Child Dragons didn't return Heaven but stayed on earth at the place where the battle had occurred. The location Mother Dragon landed is nowadays Halong Bay and where Child Dragons descended is now Bai Tu Long. The dragons tails waving the water created Long Vi (present Tra Co peninsula) and formed a fine sand beach over ten kilometers long
It abuts Cat Ba Island in the southwest. Toward the west is the shore with a 120km-long coastline. The site is 1553 sq. km with 1969 islands of various sizes, of which 989 have been named.
The islands in Halong Bay are mainly limestone and schist islands most lying in the two main areas: the southeastern part of Bai Tu Long Bay and southwestern part of Halong Bay. These islands represent the most ancient images of a geographical site having a tectonic age of from 250 million to 280 million years. They are the result of many times of rising and lowering processes of the continent to form a karst. The process of nearly full erosion and weathering of the karst created the unique Halong Bay in the world. In a not very large area, thousands of islands with different forms look like glittering emeralds attached to the blue scarf of a virgin. The area where many stone islands concentrate has spectacular scenes and world-famous caves and is the center of Halong Bay Natural Heritage, including Halong Bay and a part of Bai Tu Long Bay.
The area is recognized as the World Natural Heritage that is the area of 434 sq. km with 775 islands. It looks like a giant triangle with Dau Go Island (in the west), Ba Ham Lake (in the south) and Cong Tay Island (in the east) as its three angle points. The nearby area is the buffer area and areas classified as national beauty spots in 1962 by the Ministry of Culture and Information.
Viewed from above, Halong Bay looks like an extremely vivid huge drawing. This is a wonderful and skilful masterpiece of the Creation and of nature that turns thousands of dumb soulless stone islands into fantastic sculptural and artistic works of various graceful shapes, both familiar and strange to human beings. Thousands of islands emerging uneven in the fanciful waves look strong and magnificent but also mild and vivid. Amidst these islands we feel as if we were astray in a petrified legendary world. There are many names given to islands according to their shapes and forms. This one looks like somebody heading toward the shore: Hon Dau Nguoi (Human Head Island); that one looks like a dragon hovering above the sea surface: Hon Rong (Dragon Island); another looks like an old man sitting fishing: Hon La Vong; some look like big sails struggling amidst the wind to set off for the sea: Hon Canh Buom (Sail Island); then two islands look like a pair of chicken lovingly playing with each other above the sea: Hon Trong Mai (Male and Female Chicken Island); and amid the vast sea stands an island like a big incense burner like a ritual offering to Heaven: Hon Lu Huong (Incense Burner Island). All are so real that people are taken aback by them. Those stone islands have experienced unpredictable changes over time and they take different shapes from different angles of view. Here, we come to realize that they are not dumb inanimate things but are vivid and soulful.
Inside the stone islands are various breath-taking caves, such as Thien Cung, Dau Go, Sung Sot, Trinh Nu, Tam Cung and others. These are really magnificent palaces of the Creation on earth. Long ago, Halong Bay has been called by the great national poet Nguyen Trai: "wonder of the earth erected towards the high sky". Many men of letters from all over the world have been taken aback at the grandiose scenery of Halong. They seem to get puzzled and incompetent as their treasure of vocabulary is not rich enough to depict the splendor of this place.
Halong Bay is also attached to glorious pages of Vietnamese history, with famous sites such as Van Don, a bustling trade port in the 12th century, charming Bai Tho Mountain, and not very far away from here is the Bach Dang River which witnessed two famous naval battles of the Viet ancestors against invaders. Also, Halong is one of the cradles of human kind with the glorious Halong culture in the late Neolithic age, discovered at such archeological sites as Dong Mang, Xich Tho, Soi Nhu and Thoi Gieng.
Halong is also Home to great biodiversity with typical eco-systems like mangrove forest, coral and tropical forest. It is also Home to thousands of plants and animals of numerous species, for example shrimp, fish and squid. Some species are particularly rare and can be found no where else.
With such special values, at the 18th Session of UNESCO Council of World Heritage held on 17 December 1994 in Thailand, Halong Bay was officially placed on the list of the World Natural Heritage. In 2000, UNESCO recognized it as the World Heritage for the second time for its geographical and geomorphologic values. This confirms the global premier value of Halong Bay.
Wherever you come from, whosoever you are and however old you are, you will certainly experience the same emotion and feeling when admiring this wonder of stone and water. And great experiences will always remain even when you leave the place. The legend of Mother Dragon and Child Dragons sending out pearls to form thousands of stone islands to stop invaders still serve as the soul of this invaluable heritage of the world.