11:16 | 10/12/2018 Society
(VEN) - I came to Soi Sim Island located in the western part of Vietnam’s world-famous Ha Long Bay on a day of monsoon and rain but still found the bay and the island breathtaking.
Soi Sim is one of the rare islands among the countless -some say over 1,600 - majestic limestone karsts dotting the bay. It not only preserves many species of flora and wildlife native to the bay, it also offers visitors smooth white sand beaches. The island is located almost 12 kilometers from the Bai Chay Tourists Wharf and 700 meters from Titop Island.
It was wonderful to touch the white beach sand and feel it trickle through my fingers. I then climbed the stairs to the top of one of the island’s two hills, about 60 meters in height, from where I could see the magnificent bay spread out below me. This is a unique vantage point that most visitors do not see when they take one of the many cruises offered on the bay. I felt like I was in a primeval forest surrounded as I was by trees, hearing birds singing and the sounds of monkeys’ scrambling around.
Soi Sim is a soil mountain ecosystem, rare on the islands in Ha Long Bay. As a limestone island, Soi Sim has a special geological structure. Two thirds of its area is covered by feralit and weathering soils, making for luxuriant vegetation and diverse species. In fact, the dense green flora is one of the most attractive features on Soi Sim. In 2015, a Ha Long Bay flora and fauna preservation project was launched on Soi Sim. The project’s highlight is an exhibition center and a scenic area, which are designed as nine flower petals with nine spaces for display of plant and animal photos, geological materials, natural and historic ecosystems, and the climate.
On the island, many species of flora have been labeled. In the season of tomentose rose myrtle, the island is covered with three hectares of the flowers - named “sim” in Vietnamese, and their fruit, giving the island its name.