If you google the most beautiful places to visit in the world, Hạ Long Bay in Vietnam, always gets a mention and rightfully so.  This geomorphic landscape of 1900 limestone islands that are immersed in a turquoise sea is a sight to behold.  It is no wonder that its history is steeped in legends of dragons, so much so that the name Hạ Long means “descending dragon”.  Legend has it that the dragon was summoned to protect Vietnam and the Bay and some folk still believe that the dragon lies beneath the waters.  As I said, a folkloric tale as the waters in the bay are only 10m deep.

The bay was created 500 million years ago as waters eroded through the soft limestone leaving behind a harder substructure, called karsts.  The islands vary in size and shape and are named by their unique shape: Ga Choi (fighting cock), Mai Nha (a roof), Voi (elephant) just to name a few.  Some of the islands are hollow giving rise to gorgeous grottos and caves the most popular is Thien Cung Grotto (Heavenly Cave).    It is unsurprising that the Bay was added to the 7 Natural Wonders of the World list in 2012.