As the race to be in the list of the new 7 Wonders begins, our very own Hạ Long Bay, one of Vietnam’s two UNESCO natural world heritage sites, ascended to first place in the voting for the New 7 Wonders of Nature. It was previously in the #2 spot but in a about a month’s time it has jumped to # 1!  So do yourself and VietNam a favor, GO VOTE TO KEEP THAT #1 SPOT.

Voting will continue until July 7 this year and the N7W Panel of Experts will choose finalists for short-listing.

In July 2009, 21 sites will be chosen to enter the next stage of voting.

The final round of voting will take place between 2010 and 2011, during which the New7Wonders World Tour will visit all 21 sites. The New7Wonders of Nature will eventually be unveiled in the summer of 2011.

“Ha Long” is literally translated as “Bay of Descending Dragons.” Prior to the 19th century, this name was not recorded in any document or archive. When mentioning the present-day Quang Ninh Sea or Ha Long Bay, old historical books often referred to them by the names of An Bang, Luc Thuy or Van Don.  Not until the late 19th century did the name of Halong Bay appear on a French Marine Map.

There is also a local legend, which has been handed down, relating to the name Ha Long Bay, which tells the following tale:

Long ago, in the first founding days, the Viet people were attacked by foreign aggressors. The Jade Emperor sent the Mother Dragon and her band of Child Dragons to help the Viet people fight the invaders. While the enemy vessels were launching massive attacks against the mainland, the dragons descended in flocks from the sky. They spat out innumerable pearls which changed into  jade stone islands the moment they touched the water. These islands linked together to form firm citadels that checked the enemy’s advance and smashed their vessels to pieces.  After the invaders were driven out, Mother Dragon and her Child Dragons did not return to Heaven but stayed on earth, right at the place where the battle occurred. The spot where the Mother Dragon landed was Ha Long, and where the Child Dragons came down was Bai Tu Long. The place where their tails violently wagged was called Long Vi, the present-day Tra Co Peninsula with its soft sandy beach stretching many kilometers.

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Source: News7Wonders,

Picture: wirallie on Flickr (Because Flickr Pictures > Google Images)