The US newspaper Newsweek lists Ha Long Bay of Vietnam among the Top 100 most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The US newspaper Newsweek has listed Ha Long Bay of Vietnam among the Top 100 most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which include both natural and man-made wonders.

Ha Long Bay in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh was placed in the 14th position.

"Ha Long Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars,” the Newsweek described.

“Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence. The site's outstanding scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest," it said.

The Newsweek’s Top 100 most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sties have been picked out from the UNESCO list of over 1,000 protected places across the globe.

Ha Long Bay, literally “descending dragon bay”, spans 1,553 square kilometres and includes 1,969 islands of various sizes. It was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 and 2000.

The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and islets in various shapes and sizes. 

The limestone in the bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. The geo-diversity of the environment has created biodiversity, including a tropical evergreen biosystem, oceanic and sea biosystem. Ha Long Bay is home to 14 endemic floral species and 60 endemic faunal species.

Ha Long Bay has been twice recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and named one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

The heritage site has become a magnet drawing visitors to Quang Ninh. Last year, the province welcomed a total of 9.87 million tourists, including 4.28 million foreigners. 

Quang Ninh province aims to attract over 12 million visitors this year, including 5 million foreigners.-VNA