A tropical wet climate, a limestone base and 500 million years, has resulted in the immense beauty of Halong Bay in northern Vietnam. The area is scattered with around 1600 rocky islets, with evergreen jungles atop and stalactites below.
Limestone karsts are scattered throughout the bay, rising precipitously from the waters, some harbouring caves in their hollow interiors, others featuring their own lakes, and many providing home to a variety of wildlife. Its beauty and geological significance has been recognised afar. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, and was declared one of the New 7 Natural Wonders of the World in 2012 ( a list with concerns around its voting system but I don’t doubt Halong’s right to be there).
It does not require an inquisitive Hercule Poirot twitching his whiskers to detect that the horizon is spanned with almost as many tourist boats as islets. The crumbling effects of sea water erosion have been key to the mini-mountainous panoramas here, but perched on the immaculate deck of my boat gazing down at the litter bobbing alongside, I fear that we may be adding to the wear and tear. Local government and businesses are working to impose waste regulations and to encourage eco-friendly tourism. Let’s hope they are successful.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 12 October 2017
Posted as part of Thursday Special