To promote the number of voting for natural wonders, the New Open World Corporation has allowed to vote via telephone from March 9th.
The international telephone line is available 24 hours a day for voting. To vote for Halong Bay, please dial one of these international telephone numbers: +23 9220 1055, +1 869 760 5990, +1 649 339 8080, +44 758 900 1290. (+ is the symbol for international access code. At the end of the message, after the tone, insert the code 7712 for Halong Bay. When you hear the thank you message, you are all done – you have voted for Halong Bay by telephone.)
Towering limestone pillars and tiny islets topped by forest rise from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Halong translates as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’ and legend tells that this mystical seascape was created when a great mountain dragon charged towards the coast, its flailing tail gouging out valleys and crevasses. As the creature plunged into the sea, the area filled with water leaving only the pinnacles visible. The geological explanation of karst erosion may be more prosaic, but doesn’t make this seascape any less poetic.
Designated a World Heritage site in 1994, Halong Bay’s spectacular scatter of islands, dotted with wind- and wave-eroded grottoes, is a vision of ethereal beauty and, unsurprisingly, northern Vietnam’s number one tourism hub. Sprawling Halong City is the bay’s main gateway but its dowdy high-rises are a disappointing doorstep to this site. Most visitors sensibly opt for cruise-tours that include sleeping on board within the bay, while a growing number are deciding to eschew the main bay completely, heading straight for Cat Ba Island from where trips to less-visited but equally alluring Lan Ha Bay are easily set up.
Currently, Halong is ranked fourth in the New 7 Wonders of the World voting among 28 natural wonders, just behind the Amazon Rainforest, the Dead Sea and the Grand Canyon. The final list of the world’s new natural wonders will be announced by The New Open World in November 11.