HaLong Bay - World's Heritage
Situated in the North-East region ofVietnam, Halong Bayis a bay in the Gulfof Tonkin comprised of regions of Halong City, the township of Cam Pha, and apart of the island district of Van Don. HalongBay borders Cat Ba Island in thesouthwest, the East Sea in the east, and themainland, creating a 120 km coastline.
Halong Bay is made up of 1,969islands of various sizes, 989 of which have been given names. There are twokinds of islands, limestone and schist, which are concentrated in two mainzones: the southeast (belonging to Bai Tu Long Bay), and the southwest(belonging to Halong Bay). This denselyconcentrated zone of stone islands, world famous for its spectacular scenery ofgrottoes and caves, forms the central zone of Halong Bay,which has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The bay itself has an area of 43,400 ha, consists of 775islands, and forms a triangle with the islandof Dau Go (Driftwood Grotto) to thewest, the lake of Ba Ham (ThreeShelter Lake)to the south, and the island of Cong Tay to the east.
Viewed from above, Halong Bayresembles a geographic work of art. While Halong bay cruise, you feel lostin a legendary world of stone islands. There is Man's Head Island,which resembles a man standing and looking towards the mainland. Dragon Islandlooks like a dragon hovering above the turquoise water. La Vong Islandresembles an old man fishing. There are also the islands of the Sail, the Pairof Roosters, and the Incense Burner, which all astonishingly resemble theirnamesakes. The forms of the islands change depending on the angle of the lightand from where the islands are viewed. At the core of the islands, there arewonderful caves and grottoes, such as Thien Cung (Heavenly Residence Grotto),Dau Go (Driftwood Grotto), Sung Sot (Surprise Grotto), and Tam Cung (ThreePalace Grotto).
Halong Bay has many links to the history of Vietnam. Forexample, there are such famous geographical sites as Van Don (site of anancient commercial port), Poem Mountain (with engravings of many poems aboutemperors and other famous historical figures), and Bach Dang River (the location of two fierce navalbattles fought against foreign aggressors).
It has been proven by scientists that Halong wasone of the first cradles of human existence in the area at such archeologicalsites as Dong Mang, Xich Tho, Soi Nhu, and Thoi Gieng. It is also a region ofhighly-concentrated biological diversity with many ecosystems of saltwater-flooded forests, coral reefs, and tropical forests featuring thousands ofspecies of animal and plant life.
With all this in mind, the 18th meeting of theCommittee of the World Heritages of UNESCO (in Thailand on December 17th,1994), officially recognized Halong Bay as a natural heritage site of worldwideimportance and Ha Long Bay became one ofthe New 7 Wonders of the World in 2011