Halong Bay – One of nature’s best works

Halong Bay – One of nature’s best works

Halong Bay - One of nature's best works
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Halong Bay – One of nature’s best works

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Vietnam is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It takes so many people by surprise. After all, when it comes to Southeast Asia, Thailand gets the serious holiday numbers and Cambodia has Angkor Wat. That is some serious competition. However, for stunning scenery, Vietnam wins hands down. It is all so varied and there simply is loads of it. The south has the amazing Mekong Delta, with its floating markets and villages. The central coastal area has UNESCO sites in Hué and Hoi An. Whilst the north has the incredible mountain vistas of Sapa and the real jewel in the crown, Halong Bay.

Halong Bay is quite simply, the most astonishing place you could ever imagine. Two thousand islands dotted throughout six hundred square miles of magnificent turquoise sea.  Many tour boats ply their trade here, taking holiday makers on cruises, in the lap of luxury. These boats are superbly appointed and offer facilities more in common with five star hotels. They slip in and out of the inlets between the islands, presenting passengers with an ever changing view.

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Halong Bay - One of nature's best works

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The accommodation on board is in superbly appointed private cabins, all have en suite facilities and many, private balconies. On board chefs present superb menus serving diners in amazing dining rooms. All staff are well trained both in the service trade and the all important safety measures. These cruises are incredibly popular and in the peak season, some eight thousand visitors per day, head off out into the bay. However, even with numbers like this, it is not difficult for each boat to find a quiet spot, such is the vast nature of the bay.

The largest island in the Bay is Cat Ba. Half of the area here is given over to the Cat Ba National Park. It is a lush green park, providing habitat for some incredible species of flora and fauna. Many of these are endangered, probably the most well known being, the amazing Chinese white-headed langurs. This beautiful primate was so endangered that by the year 2000 its numbers had shrunk to just 53 individuals. Poaching and destruction of its natural habitat was responsible. However conservation measures have seen their numbers increase in recent years. Whilst it is not out of the woods yet, naturalists are hopeful that it has turned the corner.

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Halong Bay - One of nature's best works

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Another popular stoping off point for the cruise vessels is Bo Hon Island, where tourists can visit the Sung Sot Cave. Its name means surprise cave and it certainly lives up to its reputation.  Magnificent geological structures including stalagmites, stalactites and columns can be found here. There is a garden within the depths, that has a pond and tress, where monkeys appear foraging for food.As with most things in Vietnam, many legends are associated with the rock shapes deep within the bowels of this beautiful grotto.

Halong Bay is an incredible experience and one that should be on everyone’s bucket list. No trip to Vietnam is complete without bearing witness to its scenic beauty.

 

Halong Bay - One of nature's best worksKeith Hancock is a singer/songwriter and writer based in Saigon, Vietnam. He has lived in Asia for more than 5 years and travels throughout the continent researching and writing. He’s also Publication Manager of  HalongLuxuryTravel– the #1 ranked Halong Bay tour operator in Vietnam. Keith is one of only two DIAMOND STATUS rated writers on Ezine articles in the whole of Indochina He has had work published in magazines and websites in the UK, Europe, USA, Australia and Asia. His great loves are music and travel, but he writes on a whole range of subjects.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Vietnam has really peaked my interest and I’m dying to visit! Especially after having enjoyed Myanmar so much, I have no doubt I’ll love Vietnam. But my dad served in the Vietnam War and he has some horrific memories of his time there. I’ll be waiting, out of respect for him, to visit until he is no longer with us.

    • I completely understand than Jennifer! We were blown away by Vietnam and it was totally nothing like we expected. Let us know when you decide to visit as we just might be somewhere close by!

  2. It’s a beautiful corner of the planet, but I left there quite worried. There were way too many people (and I wasn’t there in peak season, visited in Oct 2010), no apparent development plan, and no apparent limits on the number of boats/passengers. At least not any that appeared to be enforced. The departure pier looked like a staging area for a naval invasion. Pollution was on the rise and the mainland area doesn’t have the infrastructure or services to handle so many people. Status quo did not seem sustainable. I hope things have changed since.
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