The bay includes about 1,600 islands and islets, forming a breathtaking seascape of limestone pillars. The majority of these islands are not inhabited. The waters of the bay are home to a great diversity of ecosystems of coral reefs, mangrove forests, freshwater lakes, sandy beaches. Some of these islands have beautiful caves and grottos Th
Ha Long Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence. The site's outstanding scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest.
Ha Long means "where the dragon goes into the sea". According to a legend, as a great dragon who lived in the mountains ran towards the sea, its tail gouged out valleys which later filled out with water, leaving only bits of land over the surface, the many tiny islets. Because the distances are actually quite large, it is preferable to hire a fast boat for the tour. Of the two gateway towns, Bai Chay's development is due mostly to tourism's, while Hon Gai has kept its where mining activity and fishing boats. Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994.
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