Ha Long Bay, one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, features thousands of limestonekarsts and isles in various shapes and sizes. It’s the centre of a larger zone which includes Bái Tử Long Bay to the northeast, and Cát Bà Islands to the southwest. These larger zones share similar geological, geographical, geomorphological, climate, and cultural characters.
Ha Long Bay has an area of around 1,550 km2, including 1,960–2,000 islets, most of which are limestone. The core of the bay has an area of 334 km2 with a high density of 775 islets.The limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. The evolution of the karst in this bay has taken 20 million years under the impact of the tropical wet climate. (Wikipedia)
Halong City, a reformed coal-mining town, is gateway to one of the most majestic sites in Vietnam. Capital of its province, it now capitalises its greater profits by promoting tourism. Its nearby Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is attracting tourists both domestically & internationally.
“Halong Bay is the kind of rare site that inspires fairy tales and landscape paintings. It centres on a field of limestone karst towers jutting out the bay and soaring high over green waters. These rock formations take a number of odd, often surreal shapes. The name itself means ‘descending dragon’, and looking out over the myriad rock shapes, its easy to imaging the undulating tail of a dragon snaking its way through the water. “
Source: Wikipedia Pictures
A first visit to Halong Bay, with craggy, forested spires and perpetual mists, requires a few moments’ processing. After that initial gaze, visitors descend for all kinds of activities. Weaving through the pillars by kayak or rappelling off a limestone precipice are especially popular pursuits. Old Chinese junks launch sightseeing cruises from the pier.
The best hotels near Halong are on Cat Ba Island – an enviable place to spend a night or two. It’s an oasis of jungle in the midst of the bay, home to sandy beaches, lakes, Buddhist grottoes, waterfalls and five-star resorts.