Awarded ‘50 Tours of a Lifetime’ by National Geographic Traveler Magazine.
Over 1,600 lush green islets dot the seascape of Ha Long Bay, giving the area a surreal, almost alien quality. The expansive sea and natural peaks, despite the amount of human traffic, are still unspoiled and pristine. With high pillars of stone, and mysterious natural arches that rise up from the water, Ha Long Bay is a picturesque wonder off the coast of Vietnam.
The geography of the bay
A protected World Heritage Site, Ha Long Bay is preserved because of its natural wonder, historical significance and uniqueness. During a process that took millions of years, tectonic plates pushed the soaring cliffs of limestone up above the water. Due to erosion, the water gradually dug caverns and tunnels into the rock, making Ha Long Bay a stunning area for adventurous seafaring and exploring.
According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Ha Long Bay is also an area of high biological diversity. With flooded forests, coral reefs and various tropical habitats, the bay is also the home to thousands of species of animals and plants.
For visitors eager to hit the beach, there is also Bai Chay, an area of hills that slope toward the coastline. Here, white sand beaches and green trees squeeze in around small family restaurants. Tourists can indulge in a relaxing soak in the ocean and a cool drink to top off a perfect day at Ha Long Bay.
A cruise on the water
Boat cruises on Ha Long Bay are one of the most popular attractions in the country. Peacefully sailing around the jutting rock pillars and on a luxury boat is the peak of lavish living on water. Head to the spa or the sundeck to kick back and relax in unmatched comfort or attend a chef's cooking course to get a taste for authentic Vietnamese cooking. On the other hand, tourists are given the option to take a more personal and quiet view of the gentle water with kayak tours.
Some of the residents of Ha Long Bay live on floating fishing villages atop barges, making for a very interesting cultural experience. Tourists are encouraged to visit some of the fishing villages to get a glimpse of the lifestyle. Here, the locals catch and cultivate fish year round. A desirable prospect, these locals get to look out on the majesty and wonder of Ha Long Bay every day.
As your small motorboat slides onto the sandy bank of a deserted beach and your attentive guides set up a gourmet seaside picnic, all that’s left to do is allow the turquoise waters of this remote paradise wash away your stresses.
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One of China's great symbols awaits - watch pandas at play in their natural habitat on this adventure through Beijing, Xian, Shanghai and Chengdu. Book this Kensington classic itinerary as is by December 1st, for travel anytime before the end of 2015, and save $1000 per couple!
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