Ha Long bay & Bai Tu Long bay - Legends of Dragons

Male & Female Chicken Male & Female Chicken

Up to now, no document or research has officially provided any credible evidence to explain the origin of the name Halong (or Hạ Long in Vietnamese). A folk legend has it that, long ago, the local inhabitants used to see a herd of god-dragons led by a mother-dragon descending from the sky and playing over the waves. At times of drought, the dragons made rain to the whole area. They protected fishing-boat against high waves and guided the boats land on stormy days. To show their gratitude, the local people usually presented the dragons with offerings.

One day, pirates flocked to the bay and massacred the inhabitants. Hearing the cries of the people, the dragons immediately appeared, spouting fire to burn the invaders. The scared fire dropped down as blackish grey ash to create thousand of rough columns of the present-day limestone islands. The place where the dragons landed is named Halong (descending dragons) and the site where the dragons kowtowed to their mother before returning the sky is called Bai Tu Long (prostrating child-dragons).


There is another version saying that: “Once upon a time, soon after the Việt people established their country, invaders came. The Jade Emperor sent Mother Dragon and her Child Dragons down to earth to help the Việt 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 invaders’ boats. The fast boats couldn’t manage to stop and crashed into the islands and into each other and broke into pieces.

After the victory, attracted by magnificent and peaceful beauty of the earth, Mother Dragon and Child Dragons didn’t return Heaven but stayed at the place where the battle had occurred. The location Mother Dragon landed is nowadays Hạ Long Bay and where Child Dragons descended is now Bái Tử Long (kowtowing child dragons). The dragons’ tails waving the water created Long Vĩ (present Trà Cổ peninsula) and formed a fine sand beach over ten kilometers long”.

Ha Long Bay Legends

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