National Geographic names Ha Long Bay top Valentine's spot

12th Feb 2014

Looking for a romantic, last-minute getaway for Valentine's Day? It's not too late for couples to book a trip to Vietnam's Ha Long Bay.

With Friday (February 14) almost upon us, National Geographic website has voted this awesome attraction one of its top 10 Valentine's Day Retreats.

Ha Long Bay is northern Vietnam's most recognisable tourist hotspot and one not to be missed for lovers on city breaks to Ha Long.

The site is also called "Descending Dragon Bay" for a reason.

It could quite easily have come out of a spectacular film set backdrop from some prehistoric blockbuster.

People from around the world on group tours are drawn to what National Geographic calls its "vision of astonishing beauty".

Few global attractions are more versatile in changing with the elements than this UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

Its 1,600-plus islands acquire a haunting aspect when autumnal clouds descend, and become almost overpoweringly invigorating when kissed by the spring sun.

National Geographic recommends: "Book an overnight cruise to watch the islands' limestone pillars, caves, and arches become steeped in rich oranges and purples at sunset and veiled in an ethereal morning mist at sunrise."

Holidaymakers can find Ha Long Bay in the Gulf of Tonkin, within Quang Ninh Province, and 165km from the capital of Hanoi.

Most of its myriad islands and islets are uninhabited and unaffected by humans.

The bay forms a jaw-dropping seascape of limestone pillars and is a perfect model of a mature Karst landscape developed during a warm and wet tropical climate.

Its peerless scenic beauty is complemented by its vast biological interest.

This comprises the drowned limestone karst landforms, displaying spectacular pillars with a raft of coastal erosional features.

These include arches and caves which form a magnificent natural scenery.

Classical Gardens of Suzhou, China, also featured among National Geographic's romantic top 10 list.

Copyright Press Association 2014

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