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.
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.
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."