The permanent beauty of Ha Long is created by three factors: stone, water and sky. Ha Long’s island system is multicolored with a variety of shapes and can be regarded as a water-color, a work of art.
The islands, scattered all round, have different shapes which provoke the imagination: Dinh Huong (Incense Burner) implies spiritual significance, Ga Choi (Fighting Cocks) the symbol of Viet Nam tourism, Con Coc (Toad) recalls the passage of time, waiting thousands of years to seek justice in Heaven. There are islands that resemble a resplendent throne, a Vietnamese mother’s curved back carrying her child, a roof, an old man, a human head and so on.
Within the bigger islands are great attractions. Dau Go Cave (Wooden Stakes) dazzles the senses with many huge stalactites hanging poised in mid air and stalagmites growing majestically upwards. Then there is Thien Cung Grotto (Heavenly Palace) with its small, narrow entrance, but inside looking like a marvelous palace. Bo Nau Cave (Pelican) has an arc-shape entrance containing many stalactites. Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave) lives up to its name. Within this cave are stalactites with many marvelous shapes, such as: jungle fowl, toad, dragon, waterfall and many others.
Other caves and grottoes such as Tam Cung (Three Palaces), Trinh Nu (Virgin), Ba Hang (Three Tunnels), Tien Long (Fairy Dragon), each has its own attractions and beauty.
Ha Long’s sea is always the same, blue, smooth and still. Ha Long has its own beauty by seasons. In Spring, buds of trees burst on limestone islands. In Summer, it is cool and clean with many sparkling sun rays reflecting from the sea’s surface. In Autumn, especially at night, moonlight illuminates the mountains so they appear like gold, inlaid into the earth. In Winter, with pervasive frost, Ha Long is glamorous as “a floating flower basket on smooth wave” (by writer Nguyen Tuan).