The limestone pillars of Halong Bay

20 Mar

And now onto Halong Bay in the Gulf of Tonkin – Vietnam’s top attraction. The spectacular view of more than 1600 limestone pillars rising out the sea is best viewed on a cushioned lounge chair on top of a wooden junk. As most travellers, we opted for a two-day cruise organised from Hanoi. Both Vega Travels and Oceantours are reportedly reputable agencies.

If they could choose, most travel agencies would probably have used the shiny, dazzling UNESCO World Heritage designation to promote this magnificent karst landscape. But, Vietnam’s communist party wanted it differently. When a Swiss travel magazine launched an online poll of the ‘new seven wonders of the world’, the party mobilised the country’s population to vote. So instead of the universal label of UNESCO, Halong Bay is proudly presented today by tourist guides as one of the seven wonders according to the Swiss.

Plying waters dotted with hundreds of limestone pillars would obviously have made for a nice little video. I do have that video. But, unfortunately someone may have accidentally lost it into Halong Bay. As a touch of irony, the video camera is waterproof. So, here are therefore some photos instead:

 

 

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