Halong Bay bay consists of a dense cluster of over 3,000 limestone monolithic islands, each topped with thick jungle vegetation, rising spectacularly from the ocean. Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves. Hang Dau Go (Wooden stakes cave) is the largest grotto in the Halong area. French tourists visited in the late 19th century, and named the cave Grotte des Merveilles. Its three large chambers contain large numerous stalactites and stalagmites (as well as 19th century French graffiti). There are two bigger islands, Tuan Chau and Cat Ba, that have permanent inhabitants. Both of them have tourist facilities including hotels and beaches. There are a number of beautiful beaches on the smaller islands.
Another specific feature of Halong Bay is the abundance of lakes inside the limestone islands. All these island lakes occupy drowned dolines within fengcong karst. In 1962, the Vietnam Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism designated Halong Bay a 'Renowned National Landscape Monument'.
Halong Bay was first listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, in recognition of its outstanding, universal aesthetic value. In 2000 the World Heritage Committee additionally recognized Halong Bay for its outstanding geological and geomorphologic value, and its World Heritage Listing was updated.
In 2009, the New 7 Wonders Foundation, which runs the New Seven Wonders of the World program, included Halong Bay on its list of nominations as one the World's 7 Natural Wonders.
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Booking Office (See
map): Room 509, 15T2 Building, 18 Tam Trinh Street, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi,
Telephone: +84.4.62768855 Fax: +84.4.62768866