WHS: Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Today’s WHS visit: Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. Really, what can we add to its accolades?

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

Otherwordly Sailing

As you enjoy your delightfully prepared lunch

Petit White Dolphin Lunch

Everywhere you look, it’s like this:

The Tourist Fleet

As remote offices go, this place is pretty darn hard to beat

Remote Office

Floating vendors deliver souvenirs and comestibles to your cabin window

Floating Vendor

Take a scenic walk up the island

Surprising Anchorage

And visit Surprising Cave, which was more of a surprise than expected

Surprising Cave

… so yep. Yep, that’s one WHS site for everybody to visit!

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  1. […] how do you follow up a visit to Ha Long Bay? Pretty much anything on the planet’s going to be an anticlimax after […]

  2. […] been a couple of pretty visually spectacular WHS visits, those last couple to Ha Long Bay and Trang An; to mix it up a bit, here’s another for the hard core history buffs, a couple hours […]

  3. […] must be on your list of places to visit. This tiny stretch of paradise is not as well-known as Ha-Long Bay, where most of the tourists can be found. If you can imagine Ha-Long Bay without the huge number of […]

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