It means “Bay of the Descending Dragon” in Vietnamese. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, meeting criterion vii(7) and vii(8) of the UNESCO criterias. It is also lined with limestones and up to 2000 limestone islets. It has also shown significance in the Vietnamese History from artifacts found in the bay. Also in 1994 and 2000, UNESCO recognized Ha Long Bay as a World Heritage site for its remarkable landscape and geomorphology , It was then listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2011.
Nguyen Trai - a skilled politician and tactician - who had helped Vietnam free itself from the Chinese rule, had praised the naturally formed beauty that took 500 million years to form, saying it was a “rock wonder in the sky”.
Myths also tell a story that say since there were a lot of pirates and invader trying to get into Vietnam, gods sent out a family of dragons to protect Ha Long Bay. And these dragons had spit out jades and jewels along the bay, dotting it, forming islets and islands that make up a great wall to defend the bay against the invaders.
There are four residential areas of fishermen living on the bay, about 400 households totaling approximately 1.000 people. The fishermen live on boats and floating wooden houses in the core-zone of Ha Long Bay, which is dozens of kilometers away from the mainland. They have no home or land ownership and their main livelihood is fishing and aquaculture
A picture of how Ha Long Bay looks like.
3 Questions to think about
1) Why does the UNESCO still allow tourists even though the natural beauty is slowly degraded through frequent visits?
2) Do fishermen and new restaurants affect the landscape and ecosystem of the Ha Long Bay?
3) What do you think had caused the limestone to naturally form a line protecting Ha Long Bay?