Meet the other New7Wonders of Nature: Halong Bay

The campaign to have Table Mountain voted in as one of the New7Wonders of Nature was a long and grueling one, the culmination of a three-year campaign that drew more than 100 million votes from a variety of countries. A huge number of ambassadors, media partners, and volunteers all got behind the message to encourage people to cast their vote, especially during the last few days of the competition.

But how did the other six do it? Here we profile each one of the six other New7Wonders of Nature, find out a little more about each site, and how they made it into the final selection.

Halong Bay (inaugurated April 27, 2012)

Photo courtesy Wikitravel

It’s no wonder several Hollywood filmmakers have chosen Halong Bay to serve as a backdrop to their movies over the years – the breathtaking scenery was once described by Ho Chi Minh as “a wonder that one cannot impart to others”.

Located on the coast of Vietnam, the turquoise waters of Halong Bay (meaning “descending dragon”, so-called because of the legends locals tell of dragons protecting the Socialist Republic of Vietnam from ocean invaders) are dotted with thousands of limestone islets that are rich in endemic species of flora and fauna.

The steep edges of these islets give the appearance of pillars jutting out of the serene seascape, and it also means that they have remained largely uninhabited by humans. The warm and wet tropical climate has helped carve interesting shapes into the limestone rocks and conical pillars, towers (some as high as 100m), arches and caves form part of the charm and majesty of the natural scenery.

Photo courtesy New7Wonders of Nature

Due to the unique geology of the place, Halong Bay became a protected World Heritage Site in 1994. Since then the number of visitors to the bay has increased, and will no doubt do so again now that the site has been declared a New7Wonder of Nature. Its inauguration ceremony took place on April 27 2012.

“This recognition is a one-time event but carries an eternal value,” said Nguyen Van Doc, deputy head of the Quáng Ninh People’s Committee (the provincial authority for Halong Bay), speaking at the Halong Bay carnival. “We will ensure the protection of the surroundings and safety for tourists, so that Halong Bay remains an attractive destination.”

The best time to visit Halong Bay is from March to June – check the weather forecast before you go, and book a day cruise to make the most of it.

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