Ha Long Bay has been placed 14th on a list of the Top 100 most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites from US newspaper Newsweek.

The list encompasses both natural and man-made wonders from every area of the globe for people to tick off their bucket list and are among over 1,000 protected places across the globe from the UNESCO list.

In the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of northern Quang Ninh province, Ha Long Bay includes some 1,600 islands and islets forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. “Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence,” Newsweek wrote. “Its outstanding scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest.”

The top three sites were Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, Venice in Italy, and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Covering an area of 43,400 ha and including over 1600 islands and islets, most of Ha Long Bay is uninhabited and unaffected by humans and is a perfect example of a mature karst landscape developed in a warm and wet tropical climate. The limestone in the bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments.

Swimming and kayaking are popular activities among visitors to the bay, as are visits to floating fishing villages, where the entire population lives and works. Villagers are mainly fisherfolk and ply the waters around their villages, selling fresh produce to the passing tourist trade. Abundant fresh local seafood is another delight.

Ha Long Bay has been twice recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, in 1994 and 2000, and has also been named one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Quang Ninh has organized some 100 events within the Ha Long - Quang Ninh National Tourism Year of 2018, the first tourism year in the province and organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in cooperation with the provincial Department of Culture and Sports.

It welcomed a total of 9.87 million tourists last year, including 4.28 million foreigners, and targets attracting over 12 million visitors this year, including 5 million foreigners.