Imposing and unique, inspiring and imperious: words and phrases on their own are not able to make justice to the natural wonder that is Halong Bay. Picture 3000 or more fabulous islands rising from the emerald green sea of the Gulf of Tonkin and you have a vision of splendid beauty. is pure art, an invaluable bunch of incomplete sculptures hewn coming from the hands of nature.
In 1994 Halong bay was designated a World Heritage site. Visitors can’t help but compare the wonderful, mystical scenery of limestone islets to Guilin in China and Krabi in southern Thailand, but in reality Halong Bay is more spectacular. These very small islands are dotted with golden beaches and grottoes created by blowing wind as well as wave form, and have sparsely wooded slopes ringing with birdsong.
Far beyond the remarkable vistas on a boat tour across the bay, visitors to Halong go to explore the caves – many of which are beautifully illuminated for the benefit of tourists – and to hike in Cat Ba National Park. There are few real sandy beaches in Halong Bay, but Lan Ha Bay (off the coast of Cat Ba Island) has a lot more than 100 sandy strips.
Halong City is the gateway to Halong Bay but not the ideal explanation to this extraordinary World Heritage site. Developers haven’t been kind to the city and most visitors sensibly go for tours which includes sleep on a boat in the bay. In brief, Halong Bay is the attraction; Halong City is not really.
As the number-one tourist attraction in the northeast, Halong Bay draws a gradual stream of visitors all year long. From February to April the weather in this location is absolutely cool and rainy. The following fog can make visibility poor, but this adds an ethereal air to the region as well as the temp hardly falls lower than 10°C. Throughout the summertime tropical severe weather are regular, and tourist boats may have to alter their itineraries, depending on the weather.
Halong Bay is the things of myths and naturally the Vietnamese have concocted one. Halong interprets as ‘where the dragon descends straight into the sea’. History has it that the place of Halong Bay were developed a terrific dragon that stayed in the mountains. As it charged towards the coast, its flailing tail gouged out valleys and crevasses. When it finally jumped straight into the gulf, the area water, leaving only the pinnacles visible.
Dragons apart, the largest threat to the bay may be from souvenir-hunting tourists. corals and seashells are easily being stripped from the sea floor, and stalactites and stalagmites are being damaged off from the caves. These items get changed into rings, paperweights and ashtrays, which are on the market in the local souvenir shops. Obviously the fewer people buy, the less the local people will take to sell, so don’t encourage the trade.
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