Quang Ninh is 165km east of Hanoi, with an area of 6110 km2 and a population of over 1 million. The province is rich in natural resources and is Vietnam’s largest coal mining area with 3.6 billion tons of coal reserves, accounting for 94% of the country’s coal output. It is only coal exporting region in Vietnam.
A wealth of archaeological sites, artefacts from the Stone and Bronze Ages and items from the Halong Culture dating from 5,000 to 3.500 BC have established the presence of prehistoric people in Quang Ninh. In 938 AD, the battles of Ngo Quyen on Bach Dang River ended the 1000 year Chinese domination of Vietnam and ushered the Dai Viet era, leaving behind ancient Van Don commercial port and Yen Tu major Buddhist devotional center.
In 1883, the French occupied Quang Ninh and established a series of mining enterprises. The province thus witnessed the emergence of the working class and the growth of the proletarian workers’ movement.
In 1964, after staging the “Gulf of Tonkin Incident”, the United States started bombing North Vietnam. Quang Ninh was the first province to shoot down US aircraft, and arrested first American POW.
Quang Ninh's climate is symbolic of the climate of North Vietnam; featuring all four seasons. In summer, it is hot, humid and rainy, while monsoons flourish. In winter, it is cold (between 1 and 3 °C), dry, and sees little rainfall. The average humidity is 82 percent. Annual average rainfall, influenced by north-eastern monsoons, varies between 1,700 mm and 2,400 mm (maximum recorded is 2751 mm), with rainfall concentrated in the summer months for 90 to 170 days, particularly in July and August.
Ha Long Bay is well-known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. Halong means “bay of descending dragons,” and local legend has it that dragons created these islands to protect people from invasion by sea.
This mystical landscape of limestone islands is often compared to Guilin in China or Krabi in southern Thailand. In reality, Halong Bay is much more spectacular.
Halong Bay covers an area of 1,553 sq. km including 1,969 islands, of which an area of over 434 sq. km including 788 islands has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage due to its cultural, aesthetic, bio-geological and economic value. There are in the bay many soil islands, caves, grottoes, beaches, beautiful landscapes enabling the development of attractive tourist sites of various types.