Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay (Arianos/Wikimedia, Public Domain).

 Viet Nam
Province: Quang Ninh
N20 53 60 E107 5 60
Date of Inscription: 1994
Extension: 2000
Criteria: (vii)(viii)
Property : 150,000 ha
Ref: 672bis
News/Travelogue: VIET NAM; VN – HA LONG BAY

One of the caves in Ha Long Bay (Mike Colvin/Wikipedia, CC BY 2.0).

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.

Criterion (vii): Comprised of a multitude of limestone islands and islets rising from the sea, in a variety of sizes and shapes and presenting picturesque, unspoiled nature, Ha Long Bay is a spectacular seascape sculpted by nature. The property retains a high level of naturalness, and despite its long history of human use,  is not seriously degraded. Outstanding features of the property include the magnificent towering limestone pillars and associated notches, arches and caves, which are exceptionally well-developed and among the best presented of their type in the world.

Criterion (viii): As the most extensive and best known example of marine-invaded tower karst in the world Ha Long Bay is one of the world’s most important areas of Fengcong (clusters of conical peaks) and Fenglin (isolated tower features) karst. Abundant lakes, occupying drowned dolines, are one of the distinctive features of the Fencong karst, with some appearing to be tidal. Possessing a tremendous diversity of caves and other landforms derived from the unusual geomorphological process of marine invaded tower karst the caves are of three main types: remnants of phreatic caves; old karstic foot caves and marine notch caves. The property also displays the full range of karst formation processes on a very large scale and over a very long period of geological time, possessing the most complete and extensive exzample of its type in the world and providing a unique and extensive reservoir of data for the future understanding of geoclimatic history and the nature of karst processes in a complex environment.

Suggested Base:

Haiphong is Vietnam’s third largest city, a port near Hanoi. Haiphong is mostly significant as the largest city at the delta of the Red River, which is northern Vietnam’s main river and the first major river delta from the Chinese border, historically a source of military conflict and also the center of the largest major flat (ie. agriculturally suitable) region in the country, and therefore a population center of political importance. Its use as a port region is ancient, including opium trading from upriver warlords in Yunnan (China) and general shipping during the French colonial period up to the present. At the port (city centre, Ben Binh St) ferries depart to Cat Ba Island (up to 100,000 dong). To visit Đồ Sơn Beach, about 20 km southeast of Haiphong, go to Lạch Tray St and board any bus marked Đồ Sơn (17,000 dong). [read more]

Thai Binh is a city in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam. It is the capital of Thái Bình Province. The city is located 110 km from Hanoi. The city area is 67.7 square km, with a population of 210,000 people (2006). In the 10th century, the area was the domain of the Tran clan, which rose in power to become the Trần Dynasty of Vietnam in the early 13th century. The town Thái Bình developed near the Keo Pagoda constructed in 1061. Before the prime minister declared it a city in June 2004, Thai Binh was officially a town. The city is the center of economics and culture in its province. Thai Binh Medical College is considered one of the highest quality medical colleges in Vietnam. [read more]

Hanoi (Vietnamese: Hà Nội), the capital of Vietnam, and also its second largest city, is a fascinating blend of East and West, with Chinese influence from centuries of dominance, and French je ne sais quoi from its colonial past. It was largely unspoiled by the modern architecture of the 1970s and 80s, and is now undergoing a rapid transformation that makes it a rising star in Southeast Asia. Invading forces from every direction agree: Hanoi makes a fine capital. It has held that title for more than a thousand years, through several invasions, occupations, restorations, and name changes. The Chinese conquered the imperial city of Đại La in 1408 and renamed it Tống Bình. Le Loi repelled the invaders in 1428 and applied the name of Lê Thái Tổ. [read more]


3 Replies to “Ha Long Bay”

  1. The whole experience is a once-in-a-lifetime that is so uplifting that you develop a respect towards nature and what it provides you. One really realises the harmony between man and the nature is essence of human existence. The sunrise and the sunset at the place is so different and unique that one is is able to see the marigold sky with hues of yellow and orange which no other place in the world can really offer you.


  2. We went on a cruise and stayed one night on the cruise. To reach Halong City and catch the cruise, we travelled some 4 hours car journey to the East of Hanoi centre. The water wasn’t choppy and we could get a good night sleep in the cabins. We had a good feast on the Golden Cruise during dinner.

    The views are spectacular and there are many photo worthy shots of this Bay. It has lived up to its reputation as a heritage site. We visited Titop island on Halong Bay. It has a small beach where one can swim in it safely. Tourists climbed up 400 steps to reach the top for a spectacular bird’s eye view of many islands in Halong Bay.

    We had also visited Hang Sung Sot, “Cave of Surprises”, in Halong Bay area. This is a limestone cave that is big enough to go around it. Here you can see stalagmites and stalactites in their glories. It is paved with easy pathways for the visitors to walk on.


  3. As we drew closer, I began to see what had attracted so many others before me. The scenery was truly bewitching.

    I don’t know exactly what it is about a view of countless hills in all shapes and sizes which is so captivating. Perhaps it is because the hills stand at different distances so that some are rendered darker or clearer while others are only blurred silhouettes. Chinese artworks come to mind with their varying areas of bold brush strokes and soft washes.

    Is part of the appeal the sense that one is lost in painting?

    In the case of Halong, the experience is heightened by the fact that the hills are islands surrounded by a wide, dark sea. Every curve of peak is doubled, mirrored in a magical realm which appears or disappears according to the whims of the light.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s