With its spectacular archipelago of islands towering out of misty water, Halong Bay takes the breath away with its mysterious yet enchanting beauty. These 3,000 naturally-formed limestone pillars, known as karst, are what make Halong Bay a unique place not found anywhere else in the world, and recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1994. Here, you can explore a landscape of fascinating caves, arches and lakes, filled with rare wildlife, Halong bay boat trips
Karst are not unique in Asia, as these limestone towers are also found in Thailand’s Krabi island and China’s Guilin region. But Vietnam’s Halong Bay leaves other karst formations in the dust, as the islets here fill the entire bay as far as the eye can see, almost like a civilisation that has been drowned by the ocean. Some of these islands are also so large that they have lakes, beaches and forests filled with animals.
Located in Northeastern Vietnam, Halong Bay is 165 kilometers from Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, and forms a part of the Gulf of Tonkin. It is possible to arrive by land via Halong City, but the best way to come is actually by boat from Hanoi, which also offers lovely sea views on the way and the opportunity to spend a night sleeping on a boat. International cruises also frequently come this way, bringing visitors to shore to visit the islands. Halong bay beaches
With its mild tropical climate, Halong Bay is a great place to visit at any time all year round. It does have a winter season, but temperatures typically hardly ever dip below 10°C, usually staying between the range of 15°C to 25°C. Frequent rainfall in the months of February, March and April mean that the air in the bay will feel moist but cool, and a romantic fog will fall over the water, shrouding the islands in its distinctive mist. In the hotter months, visitors should expect sudden thunderstorms, which can affect cruises and water activities depending on severity.
It is unlikely today to see any dragons in Halong Bay, but the bay is a place full of biodiversity. The islands and coastline are covered with beautiful rainforests where wildlife lovers can spot many species of colorful birds and amphibians. Underwater, it is a marine paradise of corals and many endangered species of fish and marine animals, including the dugong.
Unfortunately, the natural wealth and beauty of Halong Bay has also made it a target for those who wish to exploit its resources. Today, it is in danger of losing much of its magnificent aura due to the pressure of overfishing and hunting in the area. Game hunters are fast reducing the populations of rare animals, while many precious coral and shells in the sea are being ripped out to turn into souvenirs and trinkets for tourists.
Halong bay cruises – The government has tried to put a stop to this by creating national parks and reserves to protect the bay, but visitors can play a part by rejecting wasteful exploitation and embracing a more environmentally-friendly form of eco-tourism. Only then can they ensure that the beautiful Halong Bay will remain a treasure that can be kept for future generations to come.