Halong Bay is a body of
water of approximately 1,500 square kilometres in north
Vietnam with a 120 kilometre coastline, in the Gulf of
Tonkin Gulf of Tonkin near the border with China, and
170 kilometres east of Hanoi. Ha Long Bay - means "Bay
of the Descending Dragon" in the Vietnamese language.
The bay consists of a dense cluster of 3000 limestone
monolithic islands, each topped with thick jungle
vegetation, which rise spectacularly from the ocean.
Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves.
Hang Dau Go (Wooden stakes Cave) is the largest grotto
in the Halong area. French tourists visited in the late
19th century, and named the cave Grotte des Merveilles.
Its three large chambers contain large numerous
stalactites and stalagmites (as well as 19th century
Some of the islands support floating villages of
fishermen, who ply the shallow waters for 200 species of
fish and 450 different kinds of mollusks. Many of the
islands have acquired their names as a result of
interpretation of their unusual shapes: such names
include Voi Islet (elephant), Ga Choi Islet (fighting
cock), and Mai Nha Islet (roof). 989 of the islands have
been given names. Birds and animals including bantams,
antelopes, monkeys, and iguanas also live on some of the