"Scenic Boat Ride" Ha Long by Ramonq

Ha Long Travel Guide: 457 reviews and 1,603 photos

Hundreds of Rocky Islands

Proudly touted as being one of the seven new natural wonders of the world, Halong Bay, on the northern-most coastline of Vietnam, certainly does not fail to impress. Thousands of rocky outcrops jutting out from the sea in various shapes and sizes are so captivating to watch especially when you are floating on a boat amidst these foliaged boulders. Some have small white sand beaches along their secluded alcoves which looks very inviting to drop by and enjoy the scenery. And some are large enough to house complex ecosystems, incredible caves, and even rare animal species.

Its geological history dates as far back as 500 million years ago when the entire region was underwater which slowly rose above the water level as the sea gradually subsided. Then the limestone karst where formed under the hot and violently wet weather over millions of years. The seas eventally returned and flooded the whole valley around 20 million years ago forming the bay and then the water, winds and rain sculpted the karsts into the form of what we see today. Truly a work of art by Mother Earth.

Humans have settled in Halong Bay since prehistoric times. The rich waters have provided seafood to the people here since time immemorial. Today, many Vietnamese people live on floating villages around the bay that offers safe haven from storms that hit the coast during the rainy season These villages are built on vast rafts that are connected to each other where they keep their pets and farm animals.

Although fishing has been their mainstay, new industries have developed and flourished to suplement their incomes. Around Halong Bay you will see pearl and oyster farms that usie modern aquaculture technologies. In Halong Bay the ancient and modern life are intertwined.

The increasing presence of humans in the bay have created new challenges for the Vietnamese authorities. The floating villages, although picturesque, have no proper sewerage, therefore everything is deposited untreated into the bay, aroma et all. There's also poor disposal of garbage from the community and it is disappointing to see all sorts of flotsam and jetsam bobbing up and down as your boat drifts around Halong bay. Tourism has increased the maritime traffic, and competition between tour operators is fierce, that Halong Bay is becoming ever more crowded with junks and cruise boats. It appears that Halong Bay has been too attractive for its own good. Its sheer beauty and rich maritime resources have somehow become its curse. UNESCO has declared this place a World Heritage Site, so there is still hope that the world will help out Vietnam in solving the pressing issues that Halong Bay is currently facing. Yet despite these, Halong Bay is still undeniably a most spectacular natural wonder.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Magnificent karsts in the sea
  • Cons:Water pollution
  • In a nutshell:Nature wonderland
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2012
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