The Gulf of Tonkin, located between the northern coast of Vietnam and southern China. While it is economically important to Vietnam, it is also the location of the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage site of Halong Bay and its world-famous karst landscape.
The Gulf of Tonkin is located in the Southeast Asia Sea (South China Sea), an important economic gateway for merchant ships.
The gulf is 500 kilometres long, 250 kilometres wide and up to 70 metres deep in places. The Red River flows into the Gulf, and the main Vietnamese ports of Ben Thuy and Hai Phong are situated there.
As well as being the locale for many conflicts, Gulf of Tonkin is also the location of spectacular Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay.
Positioned 170km east of Hanoi, Halong Bay and covers an area of around 1553km2 in the Gulf of Tonkin. It belongs to Halong City administration in the Quang Ninh province, in the north-west. Bai Tu Long Bay lies to the north-east and Lan Ha Bay are in the south-west.
The UNESCO World Heritage inscribed site of Halong Bay was first recognised in 1994 and again in 2000. Famous for its stunning landscape of 1969 majestic limestone pillars, islands and islets, Halong Bay also houses mysterious caves, caverns and grottoes, all waiting to be explored by travellers to the area.
A few of our favourite things
Cruising Halong Bay and exploring the surrounding area should be on the “to do” list for visitors to the Gulf of Tonkin because there are so many things to see and do, including:
Discover hidden treasures
The islands and islets of Halong Bay hide mysterious caves, caverns and grottoes. Descend into the subterranean coolness and discover a magical world formed by limestone and water. Spot interesting animal and human formations in the stalactites and stalagmites. Listen to the legends of love and betrayal that have been woven into Halong cave mythology.
Vietnam is famous for its food: fresh, healthy and full of flavour, and the gastronomy available on a Paradise Cruise will delight even the fussiest diner. Choose from grilled, steamed or stir-fried fish and shellfish, garden fresh fruit and vegetables, moist and tender beef, chicken and pork, and an endless variety of tasty rice and noodle dishes and delectable desserts.
History and culture
Halong Bay is still inhabited by indigenous people who live a traditional life. Visitors can explore the rich tradition of the ancient Viet culture found in the area, with the Soi Nhu culture being the oldest culture, followed by Cai Beo, then Ha Long, the remnants of which can still be seen and experienced in the floating fishing villages of Halong Bay.