An Adventure to the Mysterious Caves – Ha Long Bay
If you plan to travel to northern Vietnam, you must have found Ha Long Bay in your research, a natural wonder of Vietnam. Sail around the limestone islands, kayak through remote fishing villages and climb the rocks that look out to sea. Many beautiful places and fun activities await you in Ha Long. If you want to read more after this article, check out these publications: All about Ha Long Bay, the island on Ha Long Island and the best tours of Ha Long Bay for different travel styles and budgets.
In this article, I will reveal the most famous and beautiful caves. There are dozens of caves located on the many islands around Ha Long Bay that make them a prominent feature of this area. In addition to their distinctive beauty, these caves also have interesting Vietnamese legends.
Sung Sot Cave
Located on the island of Bo Hon, Sung Sot Cave was discovered by the French in 1901 and became one of the largest and most beautiful caves in Ha Long Bay. From the pier, you must climb 50 stone steps below the green foliage to reach the entrance to the cave, which is more than 25 meters above sea level.
Next to the entrance, you will see a mysterious figure (with a little imagination, of course). The stalactites have been formed to create the shape of a horse and a long sword. According to legend, Thanh Giong, a popular fairy character in Vietnam, helped the villagers to chase away the invaders. Soon after he flew to heaven and left his horse and sword to make sure the invaders did not dare to return. The traces of Thanh Giong’s horses later became small ponds in the cave. Once you enter the cave of Sung Sot, you also enter the world of the fairies of Vietnam.
With an area of more than 10,000 square meters, the Sung Sot cave is divided into two main compartments and a system of vertical paved roads that go from the entrance to the exit. A decorative lighting system is installed around the cave that contributes to its mysterious splendor. The first compartment looks like a large and spacious theater. Stalactites in the shape of an elephant, seal, flowers and leaves appear before your eyes.
To enter the second compartment, you must walk on a small path. When the flow of light rushes into your eyes, the vast compartment opens with different fairy scenes. The sun shines through the upper part of the Sung Sot cave to a botanical garden inside the cave. The interior beauty of the cave inspires awe to all who visit it. That is why this cave is called Sung Sot, which means “amazed” in Vietnamese.
Thien Cung Cave
In addition to the Sung Sot cave, the Thien Cung cave is also known as one of the most beautiful and largest caves in Ha Long Bay. Located on the island Dau Go, this cave is four kilometers from the tourist port. After climbing the stone steps in the shade of the green trees on the high cliff and crossing the narrow entrance of the cave, the cavity opens before you.
The deeper you go, the more fantastic landscape appears. The majestic stalactites have the form of dragons hidden behind the clouds, giant eagles flying towards the sky, pythons that lean around ancient trees and beautiful fairies that dance on the walls of the cave. The sound of the water is relaxing, the small ponds with clear water are relaxing, and the winding road that leads to the outside of the bay is impressive. Each detail helps create a small natural palace of heaven. This makes the name of the cave, “palace of heaven” or Thien Cung in Vietnamese.
Dau Go Cave
Another famous cave located in the Dau Go islands is the Dau Co. cave. This cave has an area of 5,000 square meters. The entrance is 17 meters wide and 12 meters high. The Dau Go cave is located at an altitude of 27 meters above sea level and is the same age as the cave of Thien Cung: around two million years. The cave has a rich diversity of flora, such as moss, ferns and woody plants, which makes it unique among the other caves located in this area.
The Dau Go cave is divided into three areas. The first compartment has many stalactites with unique forms of animals. If you use your imagination, you will see elephants, lions, pythons, turtles and a fighting cock. In the next area, the stalactites create a monumental image of rock islands in the waves of the sea. The third compartment is even larger and contains huge stone columns. At the end and perhaps the most magical, there is a natural well with fresh water that flows all year round.
Now you probably want to hear a little about its history. The Dau Go cave was also named according to an important event in history. In the war of resistance against Yuan’s army in the 13th century, General Tran Hung Dao hid many iron stakes in this cave before connecting them to the bottom of the Bach Dang River. After that, Yuan’s army suffered a shipwreck and withdrew from Vietnam. This is a famous naval battle in our history. Dau Go means “stake of iron wood” in Vietnamese.
Trinh Nu Cave and Trong Cave
Located on Hon Bo Island, the Trinh Nu cave is three kilometers from the Sung Sot cave. 750 meters in front of the Trinh Nu cave is the Trong cave. Both caves are famous due to a touching love story.
According to legend, a beautiful girl lived with her poor family. His family worked for an owner in the area. Once the owner saw the beautiful daughter, he forced her to be his concubine. However, she refused because she already had a lover who was fishing to prepare for her wedding. The owner got angry and exiled her to a desert island. On a particularly rainy and windy night, the girl was exhausted and petrified. It was hidden in the cave of Trinh Nu or in the cave “virgin” in English. In the middle of the cave, there is a statue in the shape of a girl. She lies on the floor with her long hair surrounding her. His eyes look into the distance as if they were waiting for his lover.
That fateful and sad night, her lover learned of her lover’s exile. He took out his boat to find it. A great storm destroyed his boat and headed to a desert island. In the flash of thunder, he looked out and saw his lover. However, his voice was drowned out by the storm. Later, he hit rocks against the wall of the cave to let him know he had arrived. He was working so hard he started to bleed, but he kept hitting until he was exhausted and petrified. This place is the cave of Trong that has another name, the cave of Con Trai. Con trai means “man” in English. At the entrance to Trong’s cave, you can see a statue of a man in front of the cave of Trinh Nu.
Me Cung Cave
Me Cung cave is located on the island of Lom Bo, two kilometers from Ti Top Island. Behind a small entrance that can only fit one person at a time, the interior of the cave opens with many cavities. There are stalactites in the shape of a lion, bear and curtains that decorate the wall of the cave. You will notice a current of light in the distance. Follow it until you reach the exit. Once you leave the cave, climb a few stone steps and look down. You will see a huge lake surrounded by a mountain. This is the home of many sea creatures. Next to the lake there is a botanical garden land with many old trees.
Me Cung cave is also an archaeological relic dating from 7,000 to 10,000 years ago. The thick layers of fossilized snail are still attached to the entrance of the cave. Recently, a fossilized skeleton was discovered in the cave.
Cave of Kim Quy
The cave of Kim Quy is located on Dam Nam Island. It is tall, at its highest point, it reaches 187 meters high. The cave is 100 meters long and 5 to 10 meters wide. You have to climb a small road to enter the entrance to the cave. Many beautiful stalactites with unique shapes loom over the ponds. You can hear the sound of the water flowing inside the cave. In the back of the cave, an image of the Battle of Bach Dang appears on the stalagmites. More than 30 stalagmites march in line like the ironwood stakes connected to the bottom of the Bach Dang River.
In addition, the Kim Quy cave is associated with the legend of the Golden Turtle, which means Kim Quy in Vietnamese. According to legend, after the Golden Turtle helped King Le Loi to defeat his enemy, he took his sacred sword and swam to the sea. Once he heard that many sea monsters lived here, the Golden Turtle destroyed them all. However, there were too many sea monsters and the power of the Golden Turtle was limited. After trying to eradicate them all, the Golden Turtle swam to this cave, it ran out and was petrified forever here. You can see a statue of a sleeping turtle with many wounds in Kim Quy’s cave.