Situated in the north-east region of Viet Nam, Ha Long Bay covers a total area of 1,553km², including 1,969 islands of various sizes. The beauty of Ha Long Bay consists in the forms of its mountains, islands and the color of its waters. While exploring the bay, tourists will feel lost in a legendary world of stone islands whose shapes change depending on angle and light and names given according to their shapes and forms and they are astonished by rich system of grottoes and caves which are grandiose and refined natural architectural creations. Ha Long is considered as a precious geological museum that has been naturally preserved in the open air for hundreds million years.
Ha Long Bay has value of biological diversity featured ecosystems of a tropical ocean region including ecosystem of coral reefs, salt water-flooded forests, tropical rain forests… Many important cultural and historical relics have been preserved in Ha Long Bay area.
The islands in Halong Bay are mainly limestone and schist islands most lying in the two main areas : the southeastern part of Bái Tử Long Bay and southwestern part of Halong Bay. These islands represent the most ancient images of a geographical site having a tectonic age of from 250 million to 280 million years. They are the result of many times of rising and lowering processes of the continent to form a karst. The process of nearly full erosion and weathering of the karst created the unique Hạlong Bay in the world.
Viewed from above, Hạ Long Bay looks like an extremely vivid huge drawing. This is a wonderful and skilful masterpiece of the creation and of nature that turns thousands of dumb soulless stone islands into fantastic sculptural and artistic works of various graceful shapes, both familiar and strange to human beings. Thousands of islands emerging uneven in the fanciful waves look strong and magnificent but also mild and vivid.
There are many names given to islands according to their shapes and forms : Human Head Island, Dragon Island, Lã Vọng Island, Sail Island, Male and Female Chicken Island; and amid Incense Burner Island. Those stone islands have experienced unpredictable changes over time and they take different shapes from different angles of view. Inside the stone islands are various breath-taking caves, such as Thiên Cung, Ðầu Gỗ, Sung Sot, Trinh Nữ, Tam Cung and others. These are really magnificent palaces of the creation on earth.
With such special values, at the 18th Session of UNESCO’s Council of World Heritage held on 17 December 1994 in Thailand, Hạ Long Bay was officially placed on the list of the World Natural Heritage. In 2000, UNESCO recognized it as the World Heritage for the second time for its geographical and geomorphologic values. This confirms the global premier value of Ha Long Bay. Now, Ha Long Bay becomes a new Seven Natural Wonder of the World.