Location and Values: Ha Long Bay is located in the northeast of Vietnam 165 km from Ha Noi. It is a spectacular seascape with over 1600 limestone islands, islets and pillars rising from the sea, in an endless variety of shapes and sizes. It represents the most extensive and best known example of marine-invaded tower karst in the world and forms part of the huge karst area (some 500,000 km2) that covers much of southern China, Vietnam and the rest of Indochina.
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s recent Conservation Outlook Assessment the conservation status of Ha Long Bay is ‘good with some concerns’. The IUCN report notes that ‘the world heritage values relate to the property’s extraordinary karst features and exceptional scenic beauty (vii) as well as its extensive representation of karst formation processes (viii). These values remain largely intact due to their very nature and property’s natural defenses. High levels of tourism and continued growth in visitor numbers represent the most significant threat to Ha Long Bay unless it is carefully planned and managed for in a way that is integrated with Provincial and Local development. Improvements to management and a willingness to address issues raised by the Committee in decisions and recommendations are noted. Management capacity has recently improved to keep better pace with the rapid growth in tourism numbers.’
Official UNESCO Site Details
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description