Imagine a mystical landscape of turquoise water sprinkled with thousands of jagged, limestone islands. The Halong archipelago is one of the world's natural wonders -a bay with more than 3,000 islands, which time, wind and waves have sculpted into fantastic shapes. The best way to appreciate this magical scene is from a boat, cruising between these karst cliffs, which loom like fairy-tale castles, complete with rocky spires and hidden caves.
In this enchanted setting, you wouldn't be surprised to catch sight of a mermaid slipping from her rocky perch, or a sea serpent rising from the deep. In Vietnamese, Ha Long means 'where the dragon descends into the sea', in reference to the bay's legendary origins. According to an ancient tale, Halong Bay was formed by a dragon, which descended from the northern mountains, gouging out deep valleys with its flailing tail. When the dragon sank into the sea, water flowed into these valleys, leaving thousands of steep peaks to rise above the waves. These cliffs are riddled with caves, some of which are easily accessible. With some magnificent stalagmites and stalagmites, these caverns are well worth exploring.
A boat cruise through Halong Bay is an unforgettable experience. But for the occasional fisherman rowing past in his bamboo coracle, you'll be left alone to enjoy the sound of the waves lapping against deserted beaches. With thousands of uninhabited islands to explore, the possibilities are endless. Pull into a hidden cove, collect seashells on the beach, and swim in the Aquamarine Sea. In this enchanted atmosphere, work, deadlines and the stresses of modern life are soon forgotten. Halong Bay will soothe your soul and rekindle your belief in magic of culture continues to draw intellectuals and artists. Dozens of galleries showcase the fruits of a flourishing contemporary art scene.
This creative legacy is not surprising, given that Hanoi invites quiet contemplation. With its shady lakes and countless street-side cafes, the city tempts you to linger over a cup of thick Vietnamese coffee and watch the world go by. Spend some time in Hanoi and you too will fall under its languid spell. Hanoi's cloistered beauty hides Vietnam's ancient soul.