Vietnam's Ha Long Bay ranked 2nd among top 25 natural destinations in the world

Tripadvisor, one of the world's leading online travel platforms, has announced the list of the top 25 natural destinations in the world for 2024 in its annual Travelers' Choice Best of the Best Destinations awards. Vietnam's iconic Ha Long Bay has been placed second in this prestigious ranking, reflecting its excellence in tourism.

Located in Quang Ninh province, Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned around the globe for its stunning natural scenery. Spanning over 1,500 square kilometers, the bay features around 2,000 limestone karst islands and islets emerging dramatically from the clear emerald waters. Its hypnotizing limestone formations, some which tower up to 200 meters in height, are shaped into various strange and beautiful forms by the forces of erosion over hundreds of thousands of years.


Some of Ha Long Bay's most notable landmarks include Hang Dau Go Cave, where hundreds of small islands cluster together; the iconic Three Peach Island; and the floating fishing village of Cua Van. However, it is the hidden grottoes and lagoons inside many of the karst islands that are truly spectacular. Top attractions include the ethereal Paradise Cave, the enormous Thien Cung Cave accessible only by boat, and the larger Sung Sot Cave which is big enough to host performances. With many more lesser known caverns still waiting to be explored, Ha Long Bay offers an endless aquatic wonderland.


In addition to its spectacular seascape, Ha Long Bay is also home to tremendous biodiversity. The bay and its islands are inhabited by a variety of creatures such as gibbons, langurs,Monitor lizards, bats, squirrels and many rare and endemic plant species. Mangroves line parts of the coast providing an important ecological function. Two protected areas, Bai Tu Long National Park and Ha Long Bay-Bai Tu Long Bay Ramsar Site, have been established to conserve this unique habitat.


Tripadvisor noted that Ha Long Bay earns its number two spot year after year thanks to the overwhelming reviews from visitors praising its natural magnificence. One reviewer wrote: "This has to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited...the limestone pillars emerging from the clear emerald water take your breath away." While another commented: "It's like being in a geological Disneyland."

The accolade of ranking second among the world's top 25 natural destinations by Tripadvisor is a testament to Vietnam successfully promoting sustainable tourism at Ha Long Bay while preserving its outstanding universal value. In fact, just last month on September 16, 2023, UNESCO inscribed the Ha Long Bay - Bai Tu Long Islands as a new World Heritage Site, recognizing it for housing areas of exceptional natural beauty.

This newest World Heritage designation encompasses not only Ha Long Bay but also the Bai Tu Long Bay area further north, a maze of limestone islets stretching along the northeast Vietnam coast. UNESCO highlighted the outstanding geologic features and landscape aesthetics represented by the karst formations within forested islands and emerging from the ocean surface.

General Director of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Trung Khanh stated: "This honors all efforts from authorities and local community over the years to conserve the nature and promote sustainable tourism development here. It will surely boost Quang Ninh province and Vietnam in general on the world map as a top destination for ecotourism and nature appreciation."


Sustainable activities like hiking, swimming, kayaking, and boating continue to be popular ways for visitors to experience the grandeur of Ha Long Bay up close, while minimizing environmental impact. Cruising through small fishing villages and hidden grottoes aboard traditional wooden junk boats is considered the ideal way to fully immerse in the mystic beauty of this natural wonder.

Looking ahead, both Tripadvisor's recognition and UNESCO World Heritage designation are expected to further raise global awareness of Ha Long Bay and drive more sustainable tourism to Vietnam. With responsible development and community participation, this destination has great potential to remain among the most attractive natural places on Earth for many years to come.


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