Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World was established in 1997 under the Law of French and sponsored by UNESCO. Thank for sharing, exchanging experience, promoting among members, the most important goal is to present many useful ideals for nature protection and conservation toward sustainable development. As of 2019, MBBW admitted 45 member bays from 27 nations in the world, in which 3 represenatives of Viet Nam are Ha Long, Nha Trang, Lang Co.
In December 2019, the mission of MBBW conducted a field trip on Lan Ha Bay to verify the inscription dossier for Lan Ha Bay as a member of MBBW. Previously, in October 2019, in Toyama (Japan), the leader of Hai Phong city delivered a presentation impressive to the Board of Officers election along with member bays representatives about the beauty of Lan Ha Bay under 2 groups of criteria: culture and nature.
Following that, the MBBW Council approved the evaluation report and 100/100 unanimously passed the nomination dossier of Lan Ha Bay. On June 6, 2020, Lan Ha Bay was officially recognized as one of the most beautiful bays in the world and became the 46th member of the MBBW.
Lan Ha Bay, for a legend is a shelter of many kinds of rare and special orchid that closely surrounds the southeastern coast of Cat Ba big island in the Cat Ba Archipelago (Cat Hai District, Hai Phong City, Viet Nam), covering a total area of over 7.000 ha.
Figure.1. Green island by Ta Van Dung
Converging all 3 national and international titles including World Biosphere Reserve, National Marine Park, National Special Scenic Site, Lan Ha Bay has a long geologic history of about 18,000 years now, bearing the global significance of tower karst (fengling) and peak - cluster depression (fengcong). This site represents the karst evolution in the final stage of a great process from high mountains to the sea where karst terrains reach the base level. Lan Ha Bay looks like a blue pearl at sea, comprising about 300 islands and islets with abundant vegetation, a hidden underground world, many beautiful and unspoiled golden sand beaches which has outlined a calm, tranquil nature picture for it.
Figure 2. Long Chau Island by Hoang Xuan Thuy
Lan Ha Bay contains typical and significant ecosystems including (1) cave, (2) tidal flat, (3) coral reef, (4) soft bottom, and (5) marine lake. Especially, marine lake ecosystem has been attracting much attention of many domestic and world scientists. Several tens of marine lakes provide an excellent opportunity for them to monitor and study the relationship between physical and climatic movements and the evolution of biomes and species. Lan Ha Bay has a high concentration of limestone islands and islets in various shapes which divide the sea surface into smaller bays and lagoons. Being protected by these islands makes the waters of Lan Ha Bay always clear and peaceful.
Figure 3. Ang Hang Vem marine lake by Tran Quoc Hiep
Situated on Cat Ba Archipelago, this place is a big home of 3,860 species of plants and animals, both terrestial and marine. Among them, 130 species are classified by Vietnam government and IUCN as the threatened species and recorded on the Red Lists. Of which 76 species are on the IUCN Red List. Especially, Cat Ba golden-headed langur (Trachypithecus poliocephalus) is a rare endemic species, having outstanding universal value which only one population of 63 individuals is alive, and it does appear nowhere in the world.
Figure 4. Cat Ba langur by Huy Cam
From archaeological perspective, Cai Beo historic relic is a hyphen, an intermediary and a chain linking the prehistory and protohistory of the area. The most visible trace today is Cai Beo fishing village, one of the large - scale old floating villages in Vietnam.
Figure 5. Sunset over the floating village by Hoang Tuan Anh
With the innate beauty still retaining its pristine and pure elegance, Lan Ha Bay seems to be waiting for scientists to explore and discover the values hidden in the bay, and conveying the message: "Join hands to keep the perfect beauty for today and tomorrow”./.