Kissing Rocks is a symbol of Ha Long tourism. In the midst of a vast sea of water, two rocks jutting out in the shape of a rooster and a hen make many tourists excited. At dawn, when the red glow of the kissing rocks, it is an incredibly romantic moment. That is also an ideal time for photographers to capture their masterpieces.
Kissing Rocks attracts travelers’ attention not only by its own latent beauty but it also represents for something special people are searching for: eternal love. Natural fantastic scene combined with glorious meaning would never disappoint travelers once they take cruise boat offshore to get there.
With thousands of islets of different shapes and sizes on its surface, there are countless stories about them in Halong Bay.
They are not only the symbols of Halong but also the symbols of passionate love. While to some others, these rocks seem fighting each other and they call them Fighting Chicken Rock, people seem to prefer the name Kissing Rocks. The rocks that have been facing each other for probably a hundred thousand years, like an eternal love
The kissing rocks of Ha Long Bay have a mythical origin story deeply rooted in Vietnamese culture. According to a traditional folk tale told by the Vietnamese people, the striking rock formation originated long ago during the early days of Vietnam.
As the story goes, when the early Vietnamese were battling foreign invaders, the highest deity Ngoc Hoang sent a ferocious dragon mother and her children from heaven to aid the Vietnamese in fighting off their enemies. After the war was won, Ngoc Hoang expected the dragons to return to heaven, but they instead remained in the beautiful landscape of Ha Long Bay.
Surprised by their failure to return, Ngoc Hoang sent two chickens to retrieve the dragon mother and her children. However, the two chickens themselves became enamored with the breathtaking scenery of Ha Long Bay and fell in love, forgetting their divine mission. The two chickens decided to remain in Ha Long Bay together, and over much time, their bodies slowly petrified into stone, becoming the iconic kissing rocks still seen today.
According to this beloved origin myth, the striking rock formation known as the kissing rocks owe their existence to the two chickens who disobeyed their godly directive and gave in to their love for one another, remaining embraced in Ha Long Bay for eternity as stony symbols of enduring love.
Kissing Rocks or Fighting cock islet?
The iconic rock formation in Ha Long Bay is known by two contradictory names, reflecting differing perspectives on the nature of the rocks. Some refer to the geological structure as the Kissing Rocks, evoking the romantic legend of two chickens who fell eternally in love. However, others call the same formation the Fighting Cocks Rocks, because the rocks appear to be locked in combat with each other.
The disagreement over the appropriate name has been longstanding, but Vietnam’s Quang Ninh Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism issued a written proposal to officially unify the name as the “Rooster-Hen Islet” rather than “Fighting Cock Islet.” Their document also established that the official written form would be “Rooster-Hen” with a dash connecting the two words.
Proponents of the romantic “Kissing Rocks” name emphasize how the two rocks have faced one another for hundreds of thousands of years, suggesting eternal love.
Taking in the Splendor of the Kissing Rocks
The iconic Kissing Rocks geological formation can be viewed by tourists about 5 kilometers offshore from Bai Chay Wharf in Ha Long Bay. Local Vietnamese residents often describe the romantic sight using words like “passionate,” “faithful,” and “eternal” to convey the enduring love represented by the two stones.
According to locals, one particularly striking time to observe the Kissing Rocks is during the hazy dawn when the first rays of sunlight illuminate the stone couple. As the glowing sunrise lights up the rocks, the entire landscape becomes a picturesque vision of natural beauty. The radiant morning light showcases the rocks in a ethereal aura, making it a prime time for awe-inspiring photos.
Watching the milliseconds when sunlight first strikes the stones in the dawn’s early light allows viewers to observe the Kissing Rocks in their full glory.
What led to the erosion of the rocks?
The iconic Kissing Rocks of Ha Long Bay now face a threat from steady erosion taking place over time. Geologists warn that the formations, which rise 14 meters above the water, are deteriorating from within their core structures.
Recent studies have detected multiple cracks and fractures within the rocks. Experts from Vietnam’s Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources caution that factors like rising sea levels and seismic events make the rocks prone to further damage.
Erosion threatens the foundations of the stones, as Institute head Ho Tien Chung described,
“Tourists can see the rocks that are precarious at low tide. The water level then is low, exposing the supporting foot of the rocks which are gradually being eroded, causing a risk of collapse if no measures are taken to protect and reinforce them soon,”
Decades of unregulated tourism and illegal fishing around the Kissing Rocks have also contributed to their decline. The stones took an estimated 20 million years to form, but now face severe wear and tear. As one of the 2,000 rock islands that make up Ha Long Bay, preserving the Kissing Rocks holds importance for maintaining the area’s natural landscape.
Quang Ninh province welcomes nearly 4 million tourists annually who expect to view the rocks in their full grandeur. However, since 2016, erosion has caused portions like the “Swan Neck” headland to collapse into the sea. With the rocks clearly at risk, authorities have prohibited tourists from climbing or approaching them in effort to curb further damage. Urgent solutions are required to save these icons of eternal love.
Proposed Measures to Protect the Kissing Rocks
Islets in the bay have long been buffeted by coastal erosion and several other notable tourist attractions have been heavily damaged in recent years by buffeting seas.
To counteract the effects, the report urged officials to introduce new regulations to the bay, including limiting the speed of boats passing through it to just 5-10kmh (3-6mph).
Local fishermen should also be encouraged to avoid fishing around the rocks to reduce churn and cement could be inserted into cracks in the islet to shore up its foundations, the report added.