Today’s WHS visit: Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. Really, what can we add to its accolades?
- UNESCO World Heritage Site
- New Seven Natural Wonder of Nature
- Forbes Must See Site
- The scenery in the latest Kong movie!
Ha Long Bay, located in the Gulf of Tonkin, within Quang Ninh Province, in the northeast of Vietnam, is165 km from the capital of Ha Noi. Covering an area of 43,400 ha and including over 1600 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabitated and unaffected by humans, it forms a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars and is an ideal model of a mature Karst landscape developed during a warm and wet tropical climate. The property’s exceptional scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest.
The outstanding value of the property is centered around the drowned limestone karst landforms, displaying spectacular pillars with a variety of coastal erosional features such as arches and caves which form a majestic natural scenery. The repeated regression and transgression of the sea on the limestone karst over geological time has produced a mature landscape of clusters of conical peaks and isolated towers which were modified by sea invasion, adding an extra elemant to the process of lateral undercutting of the limstone towers and islands…
Let’s just take it as a given, if your bucket list has anything to do with natural beauty, Ha Long Bay should be on it!
There is a wide, wide variety of ways to visit Ha Long Bay that a cursory Internet search will turn up; personally, we like smaller boats so we booked the overnight Petit White Dolphin cruise with Ha Long Bay Tours and found every aspect of the trip to be handled smoothly and professionally at a quite reasonable price; our only regret is that we didn’t book a longer cruise!
Definitely, we do not recommend a daytrip; you need at least an overnight stay to experience the place properly. And we’re quite sure that those who visited longer will tell us that just overnight is missing out. But so many WHS, so little time…
We have quite a lot of video and pictures that one day we’ll get around to sharing with you all, but for now here’s a few shots to whet your appetite:
The sailing is otherworldly — almost surreal — when the mist lies over the karst
As you enjoy your delightfully prepared lunch
Everywhere you look, it’s like this:
As remote offices go, this place is pretty darn hard to beat
Floating vendors deliver souvenirs and comestibles to your cabin window
Take a scenic walk up the island
And visit Surprising Cave, which was more of a surprise than expected
… so yep. Yep, that’s one WHS site for everybody to visit!