Cave parties get buried in Vietnam's world-renowned bay

By VnExpress   September 8, 2016 | 04:29 am PT
Cave parties get buried in Vietnam's world-renowned bay
A photo of over a hundred of people partying inside a cave in Ha Long Bay. File photo
Stop serving food and organize events around Ha Long Bay, tour operators told.

Authorities in Quang Ninh Province, home to the world-famous Ha Long Bay, on Thursday ordered catering companies to stop serving food and organizing events in caves around the bay by the end of this month.

The decision was taken after photos of over a hundred of people partying inside Trong Cave and Ho Dong Tien Cave emerged on the internet in August, raising concerns about the preservation of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

An exception has been made for Ha Long Bay Service Joint Stock Company, which will be allowed to continue the service in Trong Cave until October 30. 

According to Vu Thi Thu Thuy, Quang Ninh’s vice mayor, provincial authorities gave Ha Long Bay Company permission to cater for diners and organize arts performances in Trong Cave for tourist purposes back in 2005. However, this service has spread to other caves and become out of control, prompting the provincial government to issue the decision to “preserve the natural values” of Ha Long Bay.

Ha Long Bay is a popular tourist destination in Vietnam thanks to its thousands of limestone islets. It is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizationas (UNESCO) a World Heritage Site for its landscape, geology and geomorphology.

Since last month, advertisements and photos of lavish parties inside caves in Ha Long Bay have raised concerns over the damage they could cause to the environment.

Events organized by several tourist agencies have taken place inside Trong Cave and Ho Dong Tien Cave, both of which lie well within the UNESCO world heritage site. In the advertisements, the parties are scheduled to start at 7.30 p.m. and end before 11 p.m., giving tourists the chance to dine in brightly lit caves before returning to their tours.

The preservation plans for Ha Long Bay approved by the province last year do not include holding events in the caves.

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