Guidebook Soak up the emerald waters of Halong Bay

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Soak up the emerald waters of Halong Bay

“Towering limestone pillars and tiny islets topped by forest rise from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin,” is how Lonely Planet describes Halong Bay. And this how UNESCO puts it: “Covering an area of 43,400 ha and including over 1600 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabitated 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.”

“Halong Bay hosts every type of craft from kayak and canoe to tanker and cruise ship,” says Mal Chenu at Traveller. “Many are tourist vessels winding their way through the striking karst rock formations that drip with foliage like mint ice cream melting on roughly cut chuoi chien (banana fritters) … everyone comes here to see the bay and many take extended cruises for days.” Designated a World Heritage site in 1994, Halong Bay's “scatter of islands, dotted with wind- and wave-eroded grottoes, is a vision of ethereal beauty and, unsurprisingly, northern Vietnam's number one tourism hub,” adds Lonely Planet.

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