Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Annually, tourists travel to Halong Bay to marvel at its beauty and swim in its waters. However, very few really know the mystery that lie in its calm waters.
The word “halong” literally means descending dragon. According to legend, during the old times when the country of Vietnam was just formed, there were fierce invaders from the north. The Jade Emperor felt sorry for the country and the people so he sent the Mother Dragon and her children down to earth to help the ancient Vietnamese people.
The Mother Dragon and her children incinerated the enemies and it is said that the emeralds in the dragon’s mouth fell around the battlefield on the sea and it was these emeralds, which repelled the northern invaders and formed the many islands which now make up Halong Bay.
After the battle, the Mother Dragon and her children did not go back to heaven, but instead lived as humans in the mortal world, helping people with their crops, cattle and even expanding the country.
I have seen many a pictures of Halong Bay and having come from a country which is also renowned for its clear, blue waters, sunshine all year round and the best diving spot, I was not really that impressed.
However, when I was actually enjoying the cruise with my friends, I was more than impressed. Halong Bay deserves its spot as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was just surreal, as if I was in a fantasy and any minute dragons would rise from the clam and clear waters.
Alas, luck was not with us that day. No dragon was in sight, however, we were able to take pictures of a place which most people can only dream about. I can just live there without any care in the world, like the people in the fishing village, happy and content. On second thought, when I think of days spent without internet and any form of communication, I am not as brave as I claim to be. I think I can go on a week but not an entire lifetime without Internet!
I will always remember the picturesque sunset and sunrise, as the shadows surrendered to the light and crept from behind the mountains. I will always delight at falling asleep while the junk was swayed from one side to another by the gentle waves. I will always be grateful for beauty, peace and the magnificence of Halong.