Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tourism in Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is such a beautiful place, a tourist spot visited by everyone who makes it to the north of Viet Nam . Tourism here has created tons of jobs and business opportunities for the locals. The unique landscape which is probably taken for granted by them, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I often wonder what it means for Halong Bay to be on this list, if anything. I’ve been reading some of the documents on their website and it states that Halong Bay has “geological and geomorphologic value” and that it “requires protection for all of humanity.” On my latest trip, I’ve been convinced that tourism is having a deep impact on the environment there.

Ha Long Bay

Most people visit Halong Bay to see the rock formations and caves as well as to have a relaxing holiday after a year or period of work. I some times go to Ha Long Bay with friends for one night, two days and just love it. I love kayaking around the beautiful calm water, through the caves, and onto little beaches. It’s awesome but of course, the only way to get out onto the bay is by motorised boat. On my trip recently, I noticed fifty or more boats. Each of them is carrying a dozen or so tourists on most days of the year. The bay is being polluted by petrol and oil which can be clearly seen on the surface of the water in parts. Nowadays, there are so many tour operators working in Ha Long Bay with the same itineraries, meaning hundreds of people are stopping and travelling through the same waters and caves. I’ve seen people flicking cigarette butts into the water and leave plastic bags and bottles lying around. It makes me sad and angry.

Prawns - Ha Long Bay

The other problem is over-fishing, another industry which provides employment and a livelihood for the families who actually live floating on the water. A seafood meal aboard one of the boats is a highlight for visitors, of course.

Ha Long Bay

There are lots of problems to solve but the decisions have effects that will be far-reaching. Someone needs to do something about the pollution and the amount of tourism even though it provides work for the local labor force. Tourists numbers rose from 200,000 in 1995 to 1,700,000 in 2002. This year the number is higher. It will only grow more in the future.

If Halong Bay is still worth visiting.

13 comments:

the individual voice said...

You have such beautiful pictures on this blog!

Shoshauna said...

I really miss Ha Long Bay. It was a favorite of my family when I used to live there.

Destiny said...

Hi! I came across your site, and it's really beautiful! Though I'm vietnamese, I never been back... but my parents owned a restaurant called Ha Long Bay Restaurant... and the pictures are just gorgeous. Would you like to exchange links?

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Thanks for all comments.
Destiny, yes please.
Have a great weekend everyone!!!

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hokutsubameko said...

Hi! I came across your site while searching for Halong Bay for my dissertation paper. I am writing about underusage of public space in waterfronts for my paper for Masters of Architecture.

I am concerned about whether the waterfront area along Halong Bay are pretty deserted due to all the hotels and tourism-orientated planning. I heard from my friend it was deserted at the waterfront public area until u go into the inner part of the bay where the local activities and fun are.

Hence I would like to know if you have any photos, maps and information from your experiences etc that verify this? It will be great if you can assist me regarding this issues in any way. It'ld be of great help. Thank you. You can contact me at my blog, and/or I'll definitely visit your blog again for your replies. Thanks.

sylviet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sylviet said...

Hey, I've just been trough your article and after more than a year living in the bay (half time on a boat, half time on land in the touristic area)I would just like to precise a few things from my experience.
The most pollution you see in the bay is not only due to tourists but to the million (1) of Vietnamese inhabitants of Halong city, Tuan Chau island and also the big cargos that deverse all their sewage in the bay. People really don't know what means "put it in the bin please", you can try it in any language they will look at you with a smile and leave their garbage on the street, the beach ...
Bai chay (touristic area) is now full of hotels but it only represents 5 % of what Halong city is!!! The over built coastline is not only due to the tourists but to the housing market growing everywhere in Vietnam. The population of this country exploded and with a very young population the country needs housing and they are building everywhere even on the coast line as the land worth more. Still no regulations about it!
As this country have everything to do in any domains to arrive at the same level than western nations and that most people don't have the minimum comfort that human kind deserve, this is definetly not their main interest!
The only thing we can do: Education!

Invertir en Oro said...

I came across your site, and it's really beautiful! Though I'm vietnamese, I never been back.

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mina said...

I love Ha Long Bay, Ha Long Bay beautiful...

Vietnam tour packages said...

Ha Long Bay is one of the most touris destination in Vietnam