Vietnamese citizens at home and abroad and expats in Vietnam are all welcome to take part in a photo competition to commemorate the 20th anniversary of UNESCO recognition bestowed on Ha Long Bay in northern Quang Ninh Province.
The competition, “Ha Long Bay – The World’s Heritage Site,” aims to better promote the country’s famed scenic spot to the world.
Competing photos must be taken between 2012 and now and accentuate the natural charm, cultural richness, tourism resources and activities, and preservation of Ha Long Bay.
Submissions can be made from now to October 1 to either the Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists (51 Tran Hung Dao Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi), or the Quang Ninh Association of Literature and Arts (90 Le Thanh Tong Street, Ha Long City).
Awards include a gold medal with VND20 million (US$941) in cash; two silvers with VND10 million; three bronzes with VND5 million; and five consolation prizes worth VND2 million each.
The awards ceremony and exhibition of the winning photos will be organized on October 14 at Quang Ninh Museum in Ha Long City – Quang Ninh’s capital.
The organizer will use the contending works in promotion activities and publications to mark Ha Long Bay’s 20th UNESCO recognition anniversary in December this year.
Ha Long Bay has won a slew of awards and honors, including the World Heritage Site title given by UNESCO in 1994 and 2000.
It comprises around 1,600 islands and islets on a total area of 43,400 hectares, of which more than 980 islands have been given names. Most of the islands and islets are uninhabited and unaffected by humans.
“The outstanding value of the property is centered around the drowned limestone karst landforms, displaying spectacular pillars with a variety of coastal erosional features such as arches and caves which form majestic natural scenery,” the World Heritage describes the beauty and attractiveness of Ha Long Bay on its website.
Besides the UNESCO recognition, the bay has also received other titles and is among the most popular travel destinations in Vietnam.
In February, it was chosen as one of the Top 10 Valentine’s Day Retreats, among other romantic destinations around the world, by National Geographic’s book “Four Seasons of Travel” and was described as “a vision of astonishing beauty.”
On June 5, Ha Long Bay ranked fourth among the top eight green spaces and national parks with an average mark of 4.23 out of 5, graded by world-renowned hotel booking website Agoda.com.
In July last year, the Vietnamese bay was also listed among the world's 10 most dramatic coastlines by well-known American online news site The Huffington Post.
On June 18 last year, Ha Long Bay was honored in the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice: Asia Destination Awards 2013. The bay ranked 25th on their list of the top 25 destinations in Asia while the other Vietnamese tourist destinations Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An placed 14th, 15th and 17th, respectively.