Ha Long bay (literally: Descending Dragon bay; Vietnamese: Vịnh Hạ Long) is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Quảng Ninh province, Vietnam. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes. The Ha Long bay, dotted with 3000 limestone islets rising from emerald waters, is the best known natural wonder of Vietnam. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence. The site's outstanding scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest. The islands feature endless numbers of beaches, grottoes, and caves.


The Floating Villages

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. The floating village in the photos below had about 600 inhabitants. It is a magically calm place, an escape from the hustle of Vietnam streets. The village is a true waterworld, rising and falling with the tides, sheltered amidst limestone towers.

Hang Sung Sot Grotto

Discovered by the French, in 1901, Hang Sung Sot Grotto (Cave of the Surprises) rests 25 m above sea level and is immense. Located at the Bo Hon Island, the cave got its name (grotte des surprises) from a French admiral who was surprised at the size of the cave when he discovered it. The cave’s ceiling is approximately 30m high and the paved passage inside is 500-meters in length. It is so large that over 1,000 people can easily fit inside it at one time. The uniqueness of this cave is that it holds many different unique shapes of stalagmites and stalactites which hang from the high ceiling. The formations inside seemingly come alive when light is reflected from several water pools inside the cave. Walking through the cave ones imagination can easily run wild conjuring up all kinds of fantastic creatures and fanciful creations.


Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge
Enlarge