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May 12, 2024 / 16:07

Haiphong's summer festival celebrates heritage of Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago

The UNESCO designation confirms international appreciation for the beauty of the heritage and Vietnam's efforts in its protection.

The Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago in Vietnam's northern province of Quang Ninh and the neighboring city of Hai Phong received a certificate from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site at a ceremony on the evening of  May 11.

Speaking at the ceremony, Jonathan Baker, UNESCO Chief Representative in Vietnam, said that in order to achieve this global recognition, the two local governments and people had chosen to pursue balanced and sustainable development rather than short-term projects with high economic benefits but negative impacts on heritage.

Jonathan Wallace Baker, UNESCO Chief Representative in Vietnam, addresses the ceremony. Photos: Hai Phong Newspaper

He stressed that Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago is Vietnam's first inter-provincial UNESCO World Heritage Site and that UNESCO highly appreciates the vision and connection between Haiphong and Quang Ninh in working together to make the site a World Heritage Site.

The Chief Representative added that the inscription by UNESCO confirms the international appreciation of the heritage and Vietnam's efforts to protect it. It is also a further contribution by Vietnam to the goal of preserving and promoting the value of cultural heritage, which UNESCO promotes.

Speaking on behalf of the two localities, Nguyen Van Tung, Chairman of Haiphong City People's Committee, said: "In order to enhance the value of Ha Long Bay, in September 2016, the city worked with Quang Ninh Province on the nomination of Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago as a World Heritage Site," Tung said.

Nguyen Van Tung, Chairman of the Haiphong City People's Committee, speaks at the opening ceremony of this year's   Festival of Haiphong Red Poinciana.

He added that the Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago was inscribed on the World Heritage List because of the beauty of its natural landscapes, including charming vegetated limestone islands, breathtaking limestone islets and impressive karst formations.

The two localities will continue to develop an action programme to fulfil their commitment to preserve and promote the heritage value of Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago," said the Chairman.

UNESCO representative hands over certificate recognizing Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago as a World Heritage Site

The ceremony was held as part of this year's special festival of Haiphong Red Poinciana to celebrate the 69th anniversary of the Liberation Day of Hai Phong City [May 13, 1955 - 2024].

The certificate presentation ceremony was followed by a music festival featuring nearly 1,000 artists and performers and attended by thousands of local residents and visitors.

The fireworks are the highlight of the festival for many people.

Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago is located in the northeast of Vietnam, about 165 kilometers from Hanoi. With 775 islands in Ha Long Bay and 358 islands in Cat Ba Archipelago, the region covers a total area of nearly 100,000 hectares, with countless limestone towers and caves, which are considered very rare by UNESCO.

UNESCO announced the inscription of the Vietnamese site at the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in mid-September 2023.


Ha Long Bay has twice been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, in 1994 for its globally outstanding aesthetic values and in 2000 for its geological-geomorphological values. The heritage area covers 434 square kilometers and consists of 775 limestone islands, one of the core factors of the heritage values. 

Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago has over 1,100 islets.  Photo: Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

Cat Ba Archipelago in the northern port city of Hai Phong is the largest limestone archipelago in the country. It includes more than 360 islands, including Cat Ba Island in the south of Ha Long Bay. The archipelago has been designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba archipelago cluster boasts a rich diversity of island and marine ecosystems. It is home to various rare animals and plants, and hosts the country's largest maritime forest, covering more than 17,000 hectares.

Before the addition, Vietnam had eight UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sites, namely Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh Province, Ha Long Bay, Hue Imperial Citadel City in Thua Thien Hue Province, Hoi An Ancient City and My Son Sanctuary in Quang Nam Province, Thang Long Imperial Citadel in Hanoi, Ho Dynasty Citadel in Thanh Hoa Province, and the Trang An Landscape Complex in Ninh Binh Province.