In the Rough Guides to the 100 Best Places on Earth, the magazine describes “the scattering of limestone pinnacles jutting out of the smooth waters of Ha Long Bay”, around four hours east of Hanoi, as an “incredible sight”.
The bay is the only Vietnamese destination in the list.
Since its recognition as a UNESCO natural world heritage in 1994, Ha Long Bay has entrenched itself on the global tourism map, receiving rave reviews from travel bloggers and filmmakers.
Around 5.2 million foreigners visited the bay last year, up 22 percent year-on-year.
In addition to the popular kayaking and cruise tour, visitors can also book Ha Long Heli Tours, a new helicopter tour, through Fastsky, the country’s first helicopter service offered by ride-hailing firm Fast-Go.
According to deputy head of the Ha Long Bay Management Board Nguyen Huyen Anh, as of late 2018, there were around 500 ships operating in Ha Long Bay, including over 160 overnight ships, and 121 vessels operating around the Cat Ba archipelago, including 59 overnight boats.
Ha Long Bay, literally “descending dragon bay”, is a must-see destination in Quang Ninh province in the northeast of Vietnam. It was twice recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 and 2000.
The bay spans 1,553 square kilometres and includes 1,969 islands of various sizes. It features thousands of limestone karsts and islets in various shapes and sizes. The limestone in the bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. The geo-diversity of the environment has created biodiversity, including a tropical evergreen biosystem, oceanic and sea biosystem. Ha Long Bay is home to 14 endemic floral species and 60 endemic faunal species.
This year, Ha Long Bay has been listed among the world’s most beautiful sunrise spots in 2019 by the Microsoft Network (MSN). It was also labelled as one of the most mentioned global cruise destinations on Instagram by British magazine Woman and Home; among the 25 most beautiful places around the world by the US’s Cable News Network (CNN), and among the most popular attractions in Asia by the South China Morning Post.