Halong bay has more than
2000 large and small islands. There are up to 1969 islets in
the 1553 km2 area recognized by the Ministry of Culture and
Information in 1962, of which 980 islands have names. And in
the 434 km2 area recognized by Unesco as a World Heritage
with 411 islands in total 775 islands have names.
The names of the islands in Halong Bay are mostly
longstanding, some islands were given names by the
fishermen, some are named by well known people, some names
have a long story attached with them. It is not too much to
say that finding out about the names of the islands is also
learn about the value of history , culture of Halong Bay.
to cultural researchers, studying names of the islands and
associated with them are names of mountains, river mouths,
docks, pools, beaches...is very interesting and meaningful.
Halong Bay has been inhabited for thousands of years and as
a results the names started from the old time. According to
them, names of the islands in Halong Bay have 3
characteristics which are derived from the pure Vietnamese
names, derived from the natural conditions and daily life
and names bearing historical and cultural meanings.
For the names derived from pure Vietnamese, names of the
places clearly show regional characters of Quang Ninh
province in general and Halong Bay in particular. If in
south Vietnam there are "Vam, Cu Lao, Rach, Bung..." (local
names for small islands) Halong bay has "Con, Ang, Cap..."
with similar meanings.
The most common way to name the islands in Ha Long Bay is by
the shape of the islands, such as Con Coc (Toad islet), Ga
Choi (Fighting cocks islets), Cho Da (stone dog), saddle
island, Incense Burner, Man's head, Monster face...some
islets are given names by the ecological characteristics of
the island such as the island Vong Tree , Apple Tree , Star
The islands with cultural and historic meanings account for
less quantity however they are associated with famous
historical events . Dau Go Island area is associated with
General Tran Hung Dao beating Mongolian invaders on Bach
Dang river in 1288, where the wooden stakes were kept in the
cave before the battle. Bai Tho (poem) mountain is
associated with a poem composed by King Le Thanh Tong, Lord
Trinh Cuong and some other poets carved on the mountain.
Most recently, the Titop island was name by Uncle Ho after
the former Soviet hero G Titop who visited the island in
Notably, during the occupation of the Quang Ninh coal
region, the French used many French names given to the
islands of Halong Bay , Bai Tu Long bay . Many of them are
still unknown for origin such as Ngoc Vung Island (called as
Danh Do La by the French) or Tuan Chau island (called as
Deer island by the French)
The varied names of the islands is an interesting character
halong bay cruises, it can be considered as an intangible value
in the overall culture of the Halong Bay. Up to now there
have been many unnamed islands in Halong and Bai Tu Long
bay, some islands have names however unknown origins or
meaning such as Vong Vieng, Be Hen...Unfortunately, so far
there has been no comprehensive systematic research about
the names of the islands in Halong Bay.
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