The Ha Long Bay in Vietnam

Monday, 25 September 2017 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  6 minutes

Ha Long Bay © Arianos

Ha Long Bay © Arianos

Hạ Long Bay (Vietnamese: Vịnh Hạ Long) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular travel destination in Quảng Ninh Province, Vietnam. Administratively, the bay belongs to Hạ Long City, Cẩm Phả town, bordered on the south and southeast by the Gulf of Tonkin, on the north by China, and is a part of Vân Đồn District. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various shapes and sizes. Hạ Long Bay is a center of a larger zone which includes Bái Tử Long Bay to the northeast, and Cát Bà Island to the southwest. These larger zones share a similar geological, geographical, geomorphological, climate and cultural characters. Hạ Long Bay has an area of around 1,553 km², including 1,960–2,000 islets, most of which are limestone. The core of the bay has an area of 334 km² with a high density of 775 islets. The limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. The evolution of the karst in this bay has taken 20 million years under the impact of the tropical wet climate. The geo-diversity of the environment in the area has created biodiversity, including a tropical evergreen biosystem, oceanic and sea shore biosystem. Hạ Long Bay is home to 14 endemic floral species and 60 endemic faunal species.

Historical research surveys have shown the presence of prehistorical human beings in this area tens of thousands years ago. The successive ancient cultures are the Soi Nhụ culture around 18,000–7000 BC, the Cái Bèo culture 7000–5000 BC and the Hạ Long culture 5,000–3,500 years ago. Hạ Long Bay also marked important events in the history of Vietnam with many artifacts found in Bài Thơ Mount, Đầu Gỗ Cave, Bãi Cháy. 500 years ago, Nguyễn Trãi praised the beauty of Hạ Long Bay in his verse Lộ nhập Vân Đồn, in which he called it “rock wonder in the sky”. In 1962, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of North Vietnam listed Hạ Long Bay in the National Relics and Landscapes publication. In 1994, the core zone of Hạ Long Bay was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site according to criterion vii, and listed for a second time according to criterion viii.

Ha Long Bay © Arianos Ha Long Bay © Tango7174/cc-by-sa-4.0 Ha Long Bay © Thierry Borie Vendor's boat © flickr.com - David McKelvey/cc-by-2.0 Thien Cung Grotto © Erik A. Drabløs/cc-by-3.0 Fisherman's house © Steven C. Price/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Vendor's boat © flickr.com - David McKelvey/cc-by-2.0
A community of around 1,600 people live on Hạ Long Bay in four fishing villages: Cửa Vạn, Ba Hang, Cống Tàu and Vông Viêng in Hùng Thắng commune, Hạ Long city. They live on floating houses and are sustained through fishing and marine aquaculture (cultivating marine biota), plying the shallow waters for 200 species of fish and 450 different kinds of mollusks. Many of the islands have acquired their names as a result of interpretation of their unusual shapes. Such names include Voi Islet (elephant), Ga Choi Islet (fighting cock), Khi Islet (monkey), and Mai Nha Islet (roof). 989 of the islands have been given names. Birds and animals including bantams, antelopes, monkeys, and lizard also live on some of the islands. Almost all these islands are as individual towers in a classic fenglin landscape with heights from 50m to 100m, and height/width ratios of up to about six. Another specific feature of Halong Bay is the abundance of lakes inside the limestone islands. For example, Dau Be island has six enclosed lakes. All these island lakes occupy drowned dolines within fengcong karst.

In 1962, the Vietnam Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism designated Hạ Long Bay a Renowned National Landscape Monument. Hạ Long Bay was first listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, in recognition of its outstanding, universal aesthetic value. In 2000 the World Heritage Committee additionally recognised Hạ Long Bay for its outstanding geological and geomorphological value, and its World Heritage Listing was updated. In October 2011, World Monuments Fund included the bay on the 2012 World Monuments Watch, citing tourism pressures and associated development as threats to the site that must be addressed. The goal of Watch-listing is to promote strategies of responsible heritage-driven development for a sustainable future. In 2012, New 7 Wonders Foundation officially named Halong Bay as one of New Seven Natural Wonders of the world. Hạ Long Bay is also a member of the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World.

Read more on Vinh Ha Long, unesco.org – Ha Long Bay, Wikivoyage Ha Long Bay and Wikipedia Ha Long Bay (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.








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