Hạ Long bay in North Vietnam is a wonder to behold. Consisting of thousands of islets and limestone karsts, the bays and inlets of Descending Dragon Bay has been marked by the country of Vietnam and UNESCO as a natural wonder. While it is a tourist destination, the inhabitants only number 1600, living on fishing boats, floating cities, and coastal villages.
Unlike other single destinations or walking meditations, Hạ Long bay allows those seeking solitude to move from one area to another via boat. A non-motorized vessel will follow the winds and tides, carrying the sage or hermit to as the Tao dictates.
Hạ Long is the center of an area that consists of the Bái Tử Long to the northeast and the Cat Ba islands to the southwest. All of these areas combine under the local legends of dragons sent to protect the people of Vietnam. According to local legend, when Vietnam had just started to develop into a country, they had to fight against invaders. To assist the Vietnamese in defending their country, the gods sent a family of dragons as protectors. This family of dragons began spitting out jewels and jade. These jewels turned into the islands and islets dotting the bay, linking together to form a great wall against the invaders.
Under magics, numerous rock mountains abruptly appeared on the sea, ahead of invaders’ ships; the forward ships struck the rocks and each other. After winning the battle, the dragons were interested in peaceful sightseeing of the Earth, and then decided to live in this bay. The place where the mother dragon descended was named Hạ Long, the place where the dragon’s children attended upon their mother was called Bái Tử Long and the place where the dragon’s children wriggled their tails violently was called Bạch Long Vỹ island, present day Trà Cổ peninsula, Mong Cai.