From the World Heritage inscription for Ha Long Bay:
Ha Long Bay, located in the Gulf of Tonkin, within Quang Ninh Province, in the northeast of Vietnam, is165 km from the capital of Ha Noi. Covering an area of 43,400 ha and including over 1600 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabited and unaffected by humans, it forms a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars and is an ideal model of a mature Karst landscape developed during a warm and wet tropical climate. The property’s exceptional scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest.
The outstanding value of the property is centered around the drowned limestone karst landforms, displaying spectacular pillars with a variety of coastal erosional features such as arches and caves which form a majestic natural scenery. The repeated regression and transgression of the sea on the limestone karst over geological time has produced a mature landscape of clusters of conical peaks and isolated towers which were modified by sea invasion, adding an extra element to the process of lateral undercutting of the limestone towers and islands.
Ha Long Bay might be the best natural heritage site in SE Asia (excluding Borneo).
They typical Ha Long Bay excursion will be a 3-4 hour bus ride from Hanoi and a 1 or 2-night stay on a junk in Ha Long Bay. There are also options to stay in nearby Cat Ba National Park.
One of the unique features of Ha Long Bay are the women who sell snacks and drinks from their boats. They will row up to the anchored junks to sell things to tourists. The woman in the above photo had a boat full of soft drinks, potato chips, and candy.
View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam.
View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.