Bai Tu Long Bay Viet Nam
Bai Tu Long Bay Viet Nam is a concave area in Tonkin Gulf in the northeast of Viet Nam. It includes some sea areas of Ha Long city, Cam Pha town and Van Don Island district. It is adjacent to the sea in the east; to Halong Bay in the southwest; to the mainland in the west ( Where there is Cam Pha town); and to Co To Island district in the northeast.
There are hundreds of small and large islands in Bai Tu Long Bay Vietnam and many of the large islands are inhabited. The climate of Bai Tu Long Bay is divided into dry and rainy seasons. The summer is hot and humid, while the winter is dry and cold. The annual average temperature is 15 – 250 C. Rainfall is 2000 – 2500 millimeters per year. The tidal scale is 2.5 – 4 m per day. The salinity is about 31 to 34.5 MT in the dry season and is less in the summer.
The terrain of the seabed here is rather complicated and was formed as the result of geological erosion, intrusion and underground sediment.
The islands of Bai Tu Long Bay VietNam are located in the geological coastal strip of North Viet Nam running from northeast to southwest in parallel to the coastline on the mainland. The large Tra Ngo Island has a quite special geological structure, i.e. the body of this island is composed of two geological structural grounds of different original formation. The northern part of this island ( occupying over 1/3 of the island area ) is composed of earthen mountains resting on terrigenous rocks ( Sandstone, conglomerated pebbles and sand). The karst southern part of the island is composed of limestone mountains with many caves, grottos, small valleys and holes located amid mountains, creating a charming landscape.
On the terrain of Bai Tu Long Bay Viet Nam are low hills and mountains with peaks less than 300 meters above sea level. The highest peak is Cao Lo ( 314 meters in height ) on Ba Mun Island. The width of the islands generally is short and islands run in the northeast – southwest direction. At the margins of the islands there are lots of swamps, tidal muddy grounds, rock grounds and narrow sand grounds whose width is from 30 to 70 meters. These swamps and grounds are periodically flooded. Some zones are as large as hundreds of hectares, where there are muddy, sandy and stone grounds, beautiful landscapes and deep-water harbors convenient for boats and ships to anchor: for example, the natural harbors of Cai Quit, O Lon and Cai De. The Cong channel is located between the large Tra Ngo Island and small Tra Ngo Island. The Chuong Nep and Nhang Ria land grounds of the Minh Chau commune and the Son Hao land ground of the Quan Lan Commune are the most unique land grounds. The length of th sand ground of Minh Chau commune may be one kilometer. The grounds are very flat and the sand is very white, thin and smooth. Waves are calm. Th sand grounds of the Quan Lan commune are also lengthy but the sand here is yellow and coarser. Waves are stronger.
The principal soil on the islands is yellowish feralite soil. From the altitude of over 100 meters the soil is covered by forests; humidity is high; the upper soil layer is about 50 centimeters and is rich in humus nutrients. On the Tra Ngo Nho, Sau Nam and Ba Mun Islands and on part of the mountains of the Tra Ngo Lon Island, the soil is rather fertile and is favorable for natural and artificial flora rehabilitation.
The islands of Bai Tu Long Bay Viet Nam are limestone and schist islands. They are the remnants left by a tectonic movement some 300 million years ago. During this tectonic movement, the continent was raised and lowered many times, thereby forming the sea areas. The process of erosion and weathering of karst created a unique land terrain similar to a fabulous picture of sea and islands. On the rock islands of the bay there are also karst caves and grottos, especially Quan Cave ( Nave Cave ) where in former times boats and ships took shelter from storms.
The landscape of the islands in Bai Tu Long Bay Vietnam is valuable in geological and topographical aspects. The landscape has created a special attractiveness for the islands themselves. The virgin beauty of nature is still preserved on mixed limestone and earthen islands. Human fantasy is easily aroused by a variety of magical shapes of limestone islands. One island may resemble a swimming swan but another is like a huge stone horse. Evergreen luxuriant vegetation covers rocky mountains. Blue channels run between them. At the edge of the Tram forest in the Minh Chau Island district there is a natural ground of white sand that is the most beautiful tourist destination in the northeast region of North Viet Nam. Deep wrinkles on rocks in the foothills of islands visible when the tide is low are traces of marine transgressions and recessions in ancient times.
Like in Ha Long Bay, hundreds of islands ( rocks) in Bai Tu Long Bay Viet Nam have names originating from legends, stories or imaginary animals. For example, Mau Tu Island ( Mother and Child Island) tells the story about a young mother who for her innocent love was exiled by her king father down into the water realm without her child. But day after day she raised her chest above the sea so that the child could suck. The huge Heaven Book ( Thien Thu ) Island is entirely composed of flat rock slabs that are slightly slanting, similar to book pages opened before a wise man. Further on is Thach Ma Island ( Stone Horse Island ), surrounded by islets in the shape of a bow, sword, shield, knife, stick and spear. This island was the place where a general from heaven decided to throw away all his weapons, said farewell to war and remained on earth to make a hppy and peacefull life for people. Here there is Ban Co Tien ( Fairy Chess Board) Island in the shape of a flat chessboard set right at the water margin. There are also many more shapes rocks that altogether make a genuine exhibition of rock on the sea.
The famous historical site of Van Don is associated with Bai Tu Long Bay . In the Ly dynasty, 900 years ago, Van Don was a bustling seaport. Traders regularly arrived here from Chhina and Thailand. Numerous boats and ships brought a great variety of goods to this port. Ships also came from India, Japan and the Near East.
In 1149 King Ly Anh Tong ( 1136 – 1175 ) established Van Don as a site for trading with foreign states. Van Don gradually developed into a port and is was most prosperous in the Tran dynasty ( 13th century). It was also the first seaport of Viet Nam, trading with countries of East Asia and the world like China, Thailand, India, Japan and Indonesia. Van Don still preserves traces of the military exploits of the Tran dynasty in resistance against foreign invaders. The old Van Don port now has been classified as a vestige at the national level.
In the island communes of Van Don district are found lots of artifacts. The spot with the most artifacts is that located in Cai Lan of Quan Lan commune. Formerly along the Bach Dang and Cua Luc Rivers there were ancient wharfs. Spices, terracotta, pottery objects and agricultural products were transited through these wharfs. Such wharfs were also on Cong Dong and Quan Lan Islands. On Cong Dong Island ( Victory commune now ) archeologists have discovered remnants of large Buddhist building of the Tran dynasty such as pagodas, towers, stone steles, railings and column pedestals, bearing witness to the prosperous development of trade in the Tran dynasty.
In ancient times Van Don commercial port was not a port with sequential piers as it is now. But it had many wharves located in a stretch of ten of kilometers from south to north. Coming from the ocean, the first wharf faced is Cai Lang wharf at the foot of Man Mountain of Quan Lan Island. On the opposite side of Cai Lang wharf is Cong Cai wharf at the foot of Van Mountain. The Con Quy wharf is located on Ngoc Vung Island. Between Cong Dong and Cong Tay Islands are wharves,too. The division of Van Don commercial port into many wharves was to reduce the concentration of too many boats and ships in only one wharf . It also aimed at fixing places of permanent anchorage for Vietnamese and foreign ships so that they would not be mixed. The commodities exchanged in Van Don port by that time were natural products such as rhinoceros horns, ivory, sulfur, pearl, gold, silver and copper. These commodities often scored a large proportion of the total export of Dai Viet state. Next to the natural products of the Ly dynasty were not inferior to the Long Tuyen green porcelain of China. Embossed decorations made the porcelain objects of the Ly dynasty elegant. In the opinion of a Japanese historian and a researcher on Van Don, The porcelain of the Ly dynasty was favored in many countries and was even sold in East India.
The technique of porcelain production developed one more stage in the Tran dynasty. Designs became more robust and the porcelain was covered with brown glaze, so they looked noble though simple. Traders of lots of countries preferred them and Yuan kings also wished that among tributes to the “ Yuan Heavenly Dynasty” there must be porcelain bowls of the Tran dynasty. Silk and brocade fabrics are the third kind of commodities. The woven items of Dai Viet state were producted by subtle techniques. Woven items “ were bright, multicolored and diversified so they became popular among foreign traders though they comprised only a small proportion of the total exports.
In 1288 in Bai Tu Long Bay General Tran Khanh Du, three brothers of the Pham family clan and the natives of Quan Lan commune accomplished a heroic exploit by defeating a group of food supply boats of Truong Van Ho, a Yuan-Mongol general. In Bai Tu Long Bay is also located the famous temple of the hero Tran Quoc Tang ( 1252 – 1313), the third son of Tran Hung Dao (1228 – 1300). He was also a poet of liberal ideas and a great Zen thinker. The people have still kept the memory of his merits and have built a temple to worship him. Every year, on the 15th day of the 1st lunar monthe, a festival is performed in this temple. Other great architectural structures in the Bai Tu Long Bay region are the Tinh Hai military post, the fort of the Mac dynasty on Ngoc Vung Island, the Quan Lan communal house and the 100-bay pagoda in Victory commune in Van Don district.
The biodiversity of Bai Tu Long Bay Viet Nam is composed of typical ecological systems such as mangrove forests, tropical forests, coral reefs and island lakes.
Coral reefs are the most diversified system of biodiversity on our planet and have been titled “the tropical rain forest on the seabed”. They are located only in the shallow beds just offshore. Many types of sea animal live, lay eggs, find refuge and hunt for foot amid coral reefs. Coral reefs also have high biological productivity and are sources of the organic substances which are food for the coral itself and for other animals living amid coral reefs therefore they help to conserve gene sources of many sea creatures. Coral reefs are very sensitive to the surrounding environment so they are an indicator of the health of the environment.
Scientists have inventoried 106 species of 34 genera and 12 families of coral, which are mainly located offshore of the islands Hon Mang Khoi, Soi Mao, Dao Cao, Da Ay, Nam Sau Nam, and in the east of Ba Mun Island. Coral reefs in Bai Tu Long Bay Viet Nam are not typical coral reefs. They are barely “Island fringing reefs”. On coral reefs are large gaps and cracks cut by strong waves and sea currents. The terrain of the seabed is rough so the width of a coral reef is small. Some people have said that coral reefs can exist only in places with temperatures higher than 180 C, but coral reefs in Bai Tu Long Bay can exist for a long time ( for a month) in the temperature less than 180 C in one year.
By January 2008 scientists had inventoried 1.909 plant and animal species. The forest ecological system records 1.028 species of high-class groups. These high-class groups are veined plant, animal, bird, reptile and amphibian groups. The sea ecological system records 881 species. The rare and valuable animals totals 60, of which 52 are listed in Red Book, including brown dove, catopuma temminckii leopard, neofelis nebulosa leopard, chamois, three-triped turtle, gecko, iguana, ptyas korros snake, bungaus fasciatus snake, naja naja snake, ophiophagus Hannah cobra, etc.
The flora in Bai Tu Long Bay are rather rich and diversified, including 780 species, 468 genera and families of five high-class veined plant branches. The Magnoliphita branch is predominant with 729 species, 438 genera and 114 families. The podididiophyta fern branch has 45 species, 24 genera and 16 families.
Twenty-one species of rare and valuable animals of Bai Tu Long Bay Viet Nam were listed in the Red Book of Viet Nam in 1996. Ten species are listed in the annexes IA and IIA of the Government Decree 32/2006/CP-ND defining the list of rare and valuable animals to be protected.
Useful plant springs are composed of 431 species of herb plant, 126 species of wood tree, 44 species of fruit and edible cereal plant, 33 species of vegetable, 27 species of oil tree and 14 species of plant to be fed for cattle. In Bai Tu Long Bay simultaneously exist two kinds of life that are planktonic larvae and juveniles. This fact shows that the seas ecological system here is very special. Rare and valuable kinds of animals of Bai Tu Long Bay such as haliotidae sea snail, stichopus japonicas selenka, sipunculida and sirenia are listed in the World Red Book.
Bai Tu Long National Park is adjacent to Ha Long World Natural Heritage. It is clear from legends, history and reality that Bai Tu Long Bay and Ha Long Bay are only one entity sharing the same prominent historical and natural values.
The advantages of the geology, geomorphology and terrain of Bai Tu Long National Park are the very unique traits of its own. In this park are conserved typical charateistics of the ecology of the sea and islands in the northeast of North Viet Nam. The wonderful and virgin natural landscape is very attractive to tourist.
These ecological characteristics are strong points for the potential of Bai Tu Long Bay in promoting ecological tourism for the sake of nature conservation and enhancement of the people’s living standards in the core and buffer zones. During its operation, Bai Tu Long National Park has successfully deployed lots of conservation mensures and has perfected the management, protection, scientific research and preservation of natural resources, among which are sea tortoises.
The left side of the Con Trui sand bank, nearly 500 meters from Minh Chau harbor ( Pearl harbor), is the place where the globally protected sea turtle species of Lepidochelys olivacea make nests and lay eggs. From 2004 to 2007 scientists have discovered two nests of eggs of Lepidochelys olivacea turtles here. They also rescued a mother Lepidochelys olivacea turtle and realeased her back into the sea. This sand bank is constantly collapsing or augmented with extra alluvial soil. The degree of sloping is dangerous to humans; but sea turtles are smart animals so they choose this sand bank for laying eggs because few people come here and it is safe for procreation.
In Bai Tu Long Bay sea turtles make nests only at night from May to July every year. They like to make nests at midnight, especially in the stormy nights when the tidal waves are highest and human operations are the least. They strive to ride the strongest wave to make a landing because only such waves can help them to reach the highest and driest places on the bank, which are the most ideal places for nests. Only the eggs laid in the nights of the highest waves are capable of survival and the hatching of young turtle. The eggs laid in nights of the lower waves can be easily damaged by flooding or landslides.
In the procreative season the mother turtle crawls heavily to the safest place on the sand bank. It starts using its fron paws like oars to dig the sand to make a nest. When the front half of its body has submerged in the hole, it continues to use the back paws to dig the sand into a completely round hole of 50-70 centimeters in depth. If the hole collapses while being dug, the turtle leaves it immediately and makes a hole in another place in the same night or next night. Now the turtle begins to make the birth efforts. Each time a sea turtle may lay two or three dozen or even a hundred eggs. When the spawning is done, the turtle carefully fills up the hole with sand and only then it slowly returns back to the sea with the eyes imbued with tears like the tears of a woman in laying. In natural conditions, from 45 to 46 days later ( or 72 days at the most) the eggs wil hatch. Only 1 of 1000 young turtle can survive. The hatched young turtles wait with each other in the nest for a few days and then hastily crewl together up to the sand bank. From the sand bank they rush into the water and swim off shore to avoid the possible dangers from predators such as birds, snakes, iguanas and others. This is the early stage of life of each turtle to adopt the necessary information of life. About 20-30 years later, at the mature age, they go back to their hatching place to lay eggs for the first time. This is the interesting biological behavior of sea turtle. If you would like to visit this bay please find out cruise tours here: http://halongtourvietnam.org/tour-type/bai-tu-long-bay-tours.html