Halong bay – the world heritage

Halong bay, one of the world’s natural wonders, is located in the north east of Vietnam. It covers an area of 1,553 square kms, and contains 1,969 islands of which 980 have been named. Halong bay has been recognized twice by UNESCO as a World Heritages, first because of its wonderful scenery in 1994 and then in 2000 for its geomorphology. It is ranked by many as the most beautiful bay in the world. Halong is an excellent example of a karst landscape. Created by a complex chain of millions of years of geological movement, these karsts are not only superb and monumental but also graceful and poetic. They were developed in the seas of Halong bay through centuries of erosion by sea and rain. The Fenglin and Fengcong tower karsts are unique topographical features of Halong . The islands in Halong bay are vivid and diverse. Each island has its own individual shape which changes according to perspective and the time of day. The bay look like a world of animals: one like a couple of loving cocks, others like a little toad, a loyal dog, a pen or a chopstick. Halong also contains hundreds of caves big and small. Some of the larger, more beautiful caves are famous for their spendid stalactites. Caves such as Thien Cung (Palace of Heaven), Dau Go (Grotto of Wood) and Sung Sot (Big Surprise) have lighting systems and are easily accessible to visitors. Visiting these caves is a must for all who journey to Halong bay. Halong has a rich and abundant ecology with evergreen tropical forests, as wellas marine coral, fir-tree and mangrove ecosystems. Many of the endemic plants discovered here are unique to the area. Halong bay was also the cradle of ancient Vietnam, having been occupied for 20,000 years from the later Palaoelithic era and incorporating three successive cultural peri-ods: Soi Nhu, Cai Beo and Halong. Perhaps the most attractive destination in Vietnam, Halong bay is irresistible to foregn and domestic visitors alike. A popular saying says it all: “If you are Vietnamese haven’t been to Halong, you can’t really understand your own country. If you are a foreigner and haven’t visited Halong, you can not say you have been to Vietnam”.

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