When you suddenly grow up from childhood, you will realize that you have just passed through space and time in a wonderland. There are miracles, fairies, and witches. There are even legends that carry dreams or thousands of questions about a vast universe.
In that vast universe, there is a natural wonder of the world named Ha Long Bay. Coming here, the natives will tell you how many legends are as beautiful as this land itself.
1. Legend of Ha Long Bay
I don’t know since when, the Vietnamese people say that: In the olden days, when the country was still miserable in the scene of war and invasion. The kind and generous people always had to live in hardship. The heaven emperor got pity for the good people, so he decided to send the God Dragon to the world to help the Vietnamese people fight foreign invaders.
Wherever the dragon went, the invaders scattered there. The dragon used precious gems to drop into the sea. The dragon balls immediately turned into large and small rocks that protruded all over the water, creating a water formation to block the advance of enemy ships.
When the enemy went away, the Dragon God and her cubs realized that the scenery here was very charming, the water was clear, the people were gentle. So Dragon God decided to stay in this place to protect the people of Vietnam forever.
From there, the place where the Mother Dragon landed is called Ha Long Bay, being one of the top famous destinations in Halong City. The place where the baby dragons live is Bai Tu Long Bay. The area where the dragons are splashing in the waves is Bach Long Vi.
The birth of this legend also comes from the pride of the Vietnamese people’s Fairy Dragon race. And it is the belief in their origin that has helped the Vietnamese stand up firmly in all difficulties, always reaching for a peaceful and gentle life.
2. Legend of Hanh Cave
The longest cave in Ha Long Bay is called Hanh Cave. According to the local people: a long time ago, on a beautiful day, three girls were rowing a boat into Hanh cave for a walk. The beautiful scenery of the cave made the three girls forget the time to return. The tide rises. The water flooded the exit. The three girls were trapped in the cave and could never return.
People mourn these girls, so they set up a shrine in front of the cave. The shrine is called the temple of the three girls. The souls of the three girls also turn into divine gods to help the gentle people.
Today, people in the region and tourists when coming to Ha Long Bay still often visit Hanh cave. They burned incense in front of the Ba Co shrine to ask the souls of the three girls to protect their family’s health and peace.
3. Legend of Trinh Nu Cave – Trong Cave
If the legend of Hanh cave is to praise the beauty of the cave, human affection, honesty, and humanity of the indigenous people, the legends of Trinh Nu cave (also called Virgin Cave) and Trong cave highlight the beauty of the couple’s love and loyalty in Vietnam.
Legend has it that: In ancient times, in Ha Long, there was an extremely beautiful girl. Living in a poor fishing family, her family had to work as hired labor for the rich landowner in the area.
Seeing the beautiful girl, the landowner actively wanted to rob her as his concubine. But the girl soon fell in love with the truthful fisherman living in the same village. They love each other and look forward to a peaceful married life.
While the boy was busy sailing with dreams of a bright future, the girl had to find ways to stay away from the hands of the evil landlord. Finally, not accepting the forced fate, the girl had to flee to the cave in the bay, waiting for his lover to return. Hungry and exhausted, on a stormy rainy night, the beautiful girl was petrified in the cold dark cave.
Today, in the cave, there is still a stone statue in the shape of a lying girl with long hair loose, her eyes looking forward to the distant sea. And from there, the place where the girl was petrified was named Trinh Nu Cave as the tribute that the villagers had for the pure and faithful girl.
As for the guy. Returning from the sea, he hurriedly rowed everywhere to find his lover. Under the lightning in the rainy night sky, he realized where the girl was waiting for him. But his lover’s call was drowned in the waves. He used a rock to knock on the cliff to signal to the girl. He kept knocking, knocking, knocking until his hands bled. In the end, he is also petrified in vain.
The people in the area were impressed by the boy’s love, so they named this place Trong Cave, also known as Boy cave.
Today, the location of Trong cave is opposite Trinh Nu cave, about 700-800 meters apart. At the entrance of the cave, a stone statue in the shape of a boy is looking at Trinh Nu cave with a look of nostalgia and hopelessness.
Although the ending of the legend is full of tragedy, it creates an attractive and poetic feature that makes anyone who comes here want to visit these two caves once. Explorers come to see and hear about the story of Trinh Nu – Trong caves to see somewhere in their hearts the belief in love.
4. Legend of Dau Go Cave
To explain the origin of the name Dau Go cave, also called Hidden Wood, Ha Long people often circulate three different theories.
The first hypothesis is given because of the shape of the Dau Go island chain. It is a bow-shaped island chain that hugs the mouth of a cave inside. From here, it creates an airtight sea that can act as a safe haven for boats when there is a storm.
Therefore, fishermen throughout the bay often choose this place as a place to anchor their boats during the rainy and stormy season. Gradually becoming a habit, this place became a familiar wharf for the locals after each trip to sea.
They buy, sell, exchange seafood as well as repair and rebuild boats right here. It is the wood samples left after each repair and construction of new boats on the beach that has made the name Dau Go (meaning the upper part of wood) for this bow-shaped island chain. And since then, the cave is located in the heart of the Dau Go island range called Dau Go Cave.
The second hypothesis is much simpler. Local people think that the shape of the island range looks like a log floating on the sea. That’s why they call it the Dau Go island chain. After getting used to it, the island chain is automatically named Dau Go Island. And the cave located in the heart of the island chain is called Dau Go Cave.
The third hypothesis concerns the great historical event of Vietnam. According to folklore, in the 13th century, Vietnam was invaded by the Mongols. Under the leadership of the Tran dynasty, the Vietnamese people stood up and completely drove the foreign invaders out of the territory.
Among the achievements that remain to this day, the victory on the Bach Dang River created a proud mark for all generations of the nation. To create that historic position, the Tran army and people silently planted a large number of wooden sticks in the Bach Dang river bed.
The wood prepared to make piles is hidden everywhere, including caves located on Ha Long Bay. Later, people called that cave Dấu Gỗ (Hidden-wood Cave). Over time, the word Dấu Gỗ deviated to Đầu Gỗ (The upper part of wood). Some people also believe that the wood samples left in the cave have created the name Đầu Gỗ for this beautiful cave.
Of the three theories about the origin of the name Dau Go cave still handed down to this day, the third theory is the most favored by the people here. It is like a way for Vietnamese people to remind them of their father’s heroic feats, expressing the spirit of national pride. It is also from this legend that adds to the beauty of the Dau Go cave in the hearts of every Vietnamese.
5. Legend of Cat Ba Island
If Dau Go cave was used by the Tran army as a place to hide wooden tips, another legend also records that Hung Dao Dai Vuong Tran Quoc Tuan chose the waters of Lan Ha Bay as a place to hide food and take care of military medicine. As the logistics and work area is mainly managed and performed by women, the island where the army is concentrated is called the place of the Ladies (Các Bà in Vietnamese).
Over time, the word Các Bà is read gradually deviating into Cát Bà. The people have called it Cat Ba Island from here.
From the above legends, it can be seen that, whether they come from mysterious colors or historical imprints, the names bring their own beauty and color to the place they are attached to. It is a natural beauty containing the soul, love, and national pride of all generations of Vietnamese people.
As a tourist, if you ever come to Ha Long, listen to these beautiful legends to see how much more wonderful this place becomes.