Ha Long names literally means Descending Dragon, a reflection of the ancient legend that describes fire-breathing beasts saving Vietnam from ocean invaders. It was their thrashing tails and the jewels and jade they used as missiles that are said to have combined to form the 1,960 islets.
The myths lie side by side with scientific evidence suggesting that prehistoric Soi Nhu people lived there as early as 18,000 BC. They were followed by the Cai Beo, till 5,000 BC.
Wide view from Sung Sot cave
Vietnam trip Aug. 2013
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