Nature’s work of art

The Week
written by: Tanushree Podder

With stunning views and breathtaking experiences, Ha Long Bay is a place that lives up to all the promises made in travel brochures.

If there was a dream sequence with a sparkling bay dotted with wind-sculpted knolls, weather-beaten and hollowed out into mysterious grottoes, fluttering sails of junk-boats and a brilliant sunset, it would have to be set in the Ha Long Bay.

Alternatively, imagine a thriller set among the rising hills with secret caverns and you would be right again. Your thoughts would match those of Guy Hamilton, the director of James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun, since he shot part of the film at Ha Long.

This magical landscape led to its entry into the list of World Heritage Sites. The words Ha Long mean ‘where the dragon descended into the sea’. According to local legend, Ha Long was created by a huge dragon to protect the local population from invasion.

There are about 2,000 tiny islands, which extend all the way from the Gulf of Tonkin. These islands are ringed by limestone hills and tiny strips of sand. According to some geologists the formations of limestone hills could date back to the Palaeozoic Era. The hills eroded by wind, tides and rain over millions of years created the interesting landscape that amazes tourists.

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