Ha Long Bay is an area that was established as a World Heritage Site in 1994. Visitors will see the beauty of its towering limestone pillars, small islets and beautiful caves. The region consists of some 1,600 of these limestone islands and islets, some of which are more than 20 million years old. Not only is it a sight to behold, but pan-Asian cuisine is delicious, especially seafood. Ha Long Bay is an area where visitors can go and see something truly spectacular in Vietnam and a place that should be next on their list of dishes. In addition to exploring settings you would never have imagined in Vietnam, you also have the option of staying in a luxury resort that is a cult of well-being and rest, all in a natural and idyllic setting.
More than half of the 1,600 limestone islands are unnamed and untouched because of their steep edges and heights – however the ones that are named, come from the shapes of the islands themselves such as Mai Nha Island (roof) and Voi Island (elephant). These remarkable islands consist of sheer, vertical cliffs ranging from 50-100 metres. Apart from the islands, another thing to explore are the exquisite grottos, many are open to visitors – however some are closed off to preserve their beauty.Ha Long Bay’s magnificence has not gone unnoticed – in 2012, it was included as a one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature alongside other sites like Indonesia’s Komodo island.
The Largest Island of Them All
Among the many islands of Ha Long Bay is Cat Ba, the largest of them all and which sees the most tourism. It features beaches Cat Co 1 and Cat Co 2 for sunbathers and swimmers to enjoy as well as Cannon Fort. Cannon Fort is the place to go for the best views of Ha Long Bay, getting there takes around 30 minutes but the walk is well worth it and features tunnels and gun emplacements for visitors to look at along the way.
Under the Sea
The bay of Ha Long Bay may not be the deepest but that doesn’t mean it’s not full of life. It is home to roughly 507 species of plants, 200 fish, more than 200 corals, numerous molluscs, 71 birds and 45 reptiles – it’s no wonder scuba diving is a popular aspect of tourism in the region, an activity you won’t regret!
While there’s plenty of marine life to be found underwater, you’ll want to explore some of the great Vietnamese restaurants and food stands above land, where you can sample some delicious seafood and modern-Asian cuisine. The sea snails are delicious, Cao Xanh market and Bai Chay market being the best places to samplesthis delicacy – Ha Long Bay is also known for their squid-sausages and while it can be found across Vietnam, nowhere will you find it as delicious as here. Should Vietnam not be somewhere you see yourself going in the near future and you’re wondering where to eat some delicious food, you can find the next best thing in the UK with Vietnamese in Oxford at Banana Tree, serving authentic Vietnamese and Southeast Asian Cuisine – like their delicious Vietnamese Lettuce Wraps that come with vegetables or pulled duck.
So, whether you fancy seafood, snorkelling or sand, Ha Long Bay has it all and if UNESCO has given it a stamp of approval then you know it must be worth the trip!