Sunday, August 21, 2011

Halong Bay - The 8th 'Natural wonder' of the world

Here from the helm, I've been watching the world's interest in Halong Bay. In the Official New 7 Wonders of Nature Halong Bay is one of 28 finalists in a global vote on the seven most spectacular natural spaces in the world.

We won't know until Nov. 11, 2011 (11.11.11) whether the world thinks Halong Bay is one of the world's most stunning natural landscapes, or seascapes.

So much is going to go into the winning of that designation. Politics. PR Campaigns. There's just no telling who wins. But it's been no small thing for Halong Bay to be culled from, first 440 different locations in 220 countries, and then from among 77 locations to be among the 28 finalists.

In early September 2010, the voting put Halong Bay in the #2 spot. Today, as I check, we've dropped some. But we'll rise again! By the time all's said and done, more than a billion votes will be factored into the seven designees.

No wonder the colonial French used to consider Halong Bay the eighth wonder of the world.
Here's how the British journalist Jon Swain describes the bay in his remarkable memoir, The River of Time:

"My French journalist friends who had covered the Indo-China war used to talk with a far-away look in their eyes about the beauty of Ha Long. The bay had the ethereal quality of a Chinese silk screen: towering rocks covered with vegetation jutted like dragon's fangs out of fifty miles of emerald water.

Coastal junks with their bat wing sails, reddish-brown, glided through the rock-studded bay; the whole composition so peaceful and unusual that it seemed not of this world."
You are not restricted to just being on the ship though. We can easily arrange kayaking excursions in the waters.

And if you see an island you like, go on ahead and paddle in that direction. Once on land, explore the area! We recommend Sung Sot Cave, one of the most imposing grottos in the area. Brought your swimming gear? Good. Strap them on and jump in the waters.