Halong Bay, or Descending Dragon Bay, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular travel destination along the coast 170km east of Hanoi. The Bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles dotted with caves and grottos.
Halong Bay occupies 1553 square kilometres and includes 1960 islets, most made of limestone. A fine example of aging with grace, the bay has been in geological transformation for 500 million years and was once called the “rock wonder in the sky” by poet Nguyen Trai in his verse Lo Nhap Van Don.
The geodiversity of the environment has created an incredible range of natural wonders spread over tropical evergreen, oceanic and sea shore ecosystems. While tourism and industry have taken a toll on the ecology, constant efforts to practise sustainable tourism ensure that visitors will continue to enjoy this natural wonder in a responsible manner. Local people employed in the tourism and souvenir industries are encouraged to be mindful that they are working in a fragile environment. New developments must not be allowed to compromise this.
After enjoying the above ground wonders, step into another world through the expansive caves dotted throughout the islets. Each cavern contains jagged stalactites and stalagmites in a vast spectrum of shapes, all open to imaginative interpretation.
Halong Bay has also been the setting of two James Bond films. Though it may be difficult to imagine a speedboat chase through such serenity, how can you blame the filmmakers for taking advantage of the cinematic scenery?