HA NOI – Viet Nam's Ha Long Bay has officially become one of the world's new seven wonders of nature, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
A provisional announcement of the bay's new status was made three months ago after global voting ended, by New Open World Corporation, an associate of the New 7 Wonders Foundation.
Finalists include: the Amazon in South America, Viet Nam's Ha Long Bay, Iguazu Falls of Argentina, Jeju Island of the Republic of Korea, Komodo National Park of Indonesia, Puerto Princesa Underground River of the Philippines, and Table Mountain of South Africa.
World-wide voters selected from 400 natural wonders in more than 200 countries and territories in a polling session which ended on November 11, 2011.
The Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism said it would hold a press conference to announce the official listing tomorrow.
Ha Long Bay in northern Quang Ninh Province has been recognised twice as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, notable for its breathtaking landscape and geographical value.
The 1,553-sq.km bay is dotted with 1,969 islands, which collectively offer an exquisite example of karst formation in tropical and humid conditions. One distinctive feature of Ha Long Bay is its abundant cave system formed between 11,000 to two million years ago.
The long evolution and erosion of the bay has produced pyramid-shaped karst towers that gave the bay its unique beauty.
The bay accommodates temperate ecosystems suitable for many species of marine animals, in addition to its great cultural and historical value.
Scientists have shown that Ha Long was inhabited by three successive cultures between 3,000 and 18,000 years ago: the Soi Nhu, Cai Beo and Ha Long groups. – VNS