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00:35 • Halong Bay
03:13 • A floating village
04:03 • Sung Sot cave
One of the most famous landscapes of South Asia is certainly Halong Bay, this sea dotted with thousands of small islands in the shape of sugar loaves.
This bay is in northern Vietnam and extends to southern China.
As is often the case in this region, the name of this bay refers to a mythological origin. Ha Long literally means "descent of the dragon". The dragon is a mythological animal present in all cultures of this region of the world. It is a beneficial animal for humans.
One of these legends tells that the Jade Emperor, the most important god in the mythologies of China and Vietnam, sent the Vietnamese people a mother dragon with her babies to protect them from their enemies. These dragons were a bit special, because instead of spitting fire, they spit gems (pearls and jade) into the bay. And with the approach of enemy ships, these jewels abruptly turned into mountainous islands, thus giving an easy victory to the men defending Vietnam.
These islands are just under 2000 in this bay. They offer all kinds of landscapes. Many coves, beaches and many inland lakes have formed.
These islands are of the so-called karstic type, that is to say that they were formed by a slow process of erosion of the limestone rock which forms them. This process took hundreds of thousands of years to leave the region with the largest offshore karst formation in the world. Who says limestone rocks and erosion immediately thinks of caves .
These caves are not lacking here either. There are some remarkable ones, sometimes overhanging sea level, like this magnificent "Cave of Surprise" (in Vietnam, Sun Sot).
But this magnificent place, classified as one of the natural wonders of the world, attracts many tourists. More than 2 and a half million every year. If this undeniably does a lot of good for the local economy, we are entitled to ask ourselves the question of the impact that these hundreds of boats can have on the surrounding nature. Still, for now, this part of the sea is home to nearly 200 species of fish, a hundred or so species of coral and many more molluscs. And on the islands, many species of birds, monkeys and reptiles seem to have found their happiness.
Halong Bay caves have been inhabited since around 4000 BC.
As legends often draw their inspiration from historical facts, this tangle of islands has on several occasions saved Vietnam from invasions by sea from its Chinese neighbor.
On the other hand, it also protected the many pirates who had settled there from the end of the 18th century.
The Vietnam War also left its mark here, and some passages, mined by the Americans, still represent a threat today.
On all the islands, about forty are inhabited, forming a population of about 12,000 inhabitants. To these are added between 1000 and 2000 additional inhabitants, who have chosen to live in floating villages scattered over the surface of the bay.
Spoken comments in the film:
There is something mysterious about approaching the karst islands of Halong Bay. Seeing all these ghostly islands slowly breaking away from the mists in the distance is a sight that alone is worth the trip. And the happiness only increases as one approaches these giants who have taken up residence in this fascinating bay.
These mountains emerging from the surface of the sea in Halong Bay are the result of the slow erosion of these limestone rocks over millennia. Erosion has also formed caves inside some of them. The most famous is the Surprise Cave (in Vietnamese, Sung Sot). The entrance to this cave is 25 meters above water level.
What's the weather like in Halong Bay?
about the place, la Baie d'Halong:
Halong Bay in Vietnam is a vast expanse of sea of more than 1500 square kilometers in northern Vietnam on the borders of China. It is a preserved natural environment with great biodiversity.
It is also one of the most touristic places in Vietnam. How much longer will biodiversity live together with the thousands of boats that criss-cross it daily...?
In the bay there are nearly 2,000 karstic islands, the result of the erosion of limestone rocks by the action, in this case, of sea water. This type of landscape also extends inside the lands of North Vietnam.
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• Disclaimer: As traditional music is often subject to copyright (claimed by major music distribution groups), the musical illustration of this film "Halong Bay • Vietnam (EN)" does not use typical music of Vietnam but is borrowed from a collection of royalty-free music. Despite the painstaking care given to the musical choices in this film, some people may regret this choice, but it is the price to pay for not incurring unnecessary lawsuits. This decision was difficult to take, but it's the only viable solution, unfortunately. •