Halong Bay Facts

Halong Bay Facts
Located in the Quang Ninh province of Vietnam is Halong Bay. This bay is famous for its more than 1960 limestone, rocky, tall islands which are rich in tropical vegetation. Halong Bay is approximately 579 square miles in size and is home to approximately 1600 fishermen who live in floating villages. The rich bio-diversity of the bay, and its beauty and its history has captured the interest of many throughout the ages. It is classified as both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
Interesting Halong Bay Facts:
Halong Bay means 'descending dragon bay'. Legend states that gods sent dragons, who dropped jewels and jade from their mouths into the bay, creating the islands.
Research has shown that there were prehistoric humans in the area tens of thousands of years ago.
The bay extends 120km along the coastline and is 1,553 square kilometers in size.
Many of the more than 1960 islands have secluded beaches, grottos and caves.
Some of the wildlife found on the islands include: monkeys, birds, lizards, and even antelopes.
There are 450 different mollusks and 200 different species of fish in Halong Bay.
Some of the islands have permanent residents and tourism businesses.
Most of the islands in Halong Bay are limestone. This limestone has been forming for over 500 million years.
Less than half of the islands have been named. Many of the names come from the shape of the islands themselves, such as Mai Nha Island (roof) and Voi Island (elephant).
Many of the islands are untouched due to their steep edges and heights which make it too dangerous to explore.
Some of the islets (small islands) rise from the water to heights of up to 330 feet.
The height to width ratio of many of these islets is 6:1. They reach much higher than they are wide.
The most famous grottos in Halong Bay are Heavenly Residence Grotto (Thien Cung), Surprise Grotto (Sung Spot), Driftwood Grotto (Dau Go) and Three Palace Grotto (Tam Cung). The grottos in Halong Bay are some of the most spectacular in the world. Many are open to visitors but a number of others are not in an attempt to preserve their integrity.
There are both an oceanic and seashore bio-system and a tropical evergreen bio-system in this region.
There are 60 widespread faunal and 14 widespread floral species in this region.
Nguyen Tai, a scholar and poet wrote about Halong Bay 500 years ago, calling it ‘rock wonder in the sky'.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam listed Halong Bay in the National Relics and Landscapes publication in 1962.
UNESCO classified the core of Halong Bay as a World Heritage Site in 1994.
Ho Chi Minh, who was both the prime minister and the president of Vietnam at different times, called Halong Bay ‘the wonder that one cannot impart to others'.
The mines placed in the channels between the islands by the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War there is still a threat to shipping today.
Many of the species of endangered fish in Halong Bay are being threatened by the game fishing that occurs near the coral reefs.
Halong Bay was classified as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2012.

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