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Vietnam In Seven Days: Caves Of Ha Long

October 1st, 2010 by

After a splendid night in Ha Long Bay on board the Oriental Sails, we went off to explore some of the area’s spectacular cave systems. Most visitors to the area rely on hotels in Hanoi for solid advice on quality tour operators to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Bo Nau Cave

Bo Nau Cave or Pelican Cave is 2 km southeast of Trong Mai Islet. As the name suggests, pelicans hide en masse within the cave to protect them from inclement weather. The distinctive entrance features three stones that resemble human-like shapes.

Dau Go Dave

Locals claim that Dau Go Cave’s bluish entrance looks like a jellyfish from afar. Visitors who come to Driftwood Island to see the cave and grotto must climb ninety steps to access the entrance.

The cave is split in three. The first section is the exterior where light from the outside seeps through. From here, one moves through a narrow channel to a second chamber. Light is dim here and a lot of mysterious shadows dance on the walls. The third chamber of the cave contains remarkable stone formations that look, incredibly, like soldiers, elephants, lions, horses and other life-like shapes. In 1917, Emperor Khai Dinh was blown away by Dau Go grotto’s incomparable majesty. At his behest, a stone monument was built in tribute to the cave and Ha Long Bay. It remains just outside the mouth of the cavern.

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Sung Sot Cave

Sung Sot Cave or Surprise Grotto is one of the most superb caves in Ha Long. On Bo Hon Island in the center of Ha Long, it serves as a vital component in the area’s UNESCO World Heritage inscription.  Tourists who visit usually get off at the wharf. In order to reach the cave, one has to find the way through dense foliage trees and a network of concrete steps.  Once at the top, the view of Ha Long Bay is extraordinary.

Inside, two distinct show caves impart a sense of wonder. The first chamber resembles a wide theater complete with rows and rows of stalactites. Visitors have to pass through a narrow space in order to access the second chamber, which receives more natural light.  Tourists who delve a little deeper will discover a clear pond and stone formations that resemble fruits, vegetables and various animals.

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There are many other phenomenal caves to explore in Ha Long like Ba Ham Cave, Kim Quy Cave, Luon Cave, Me Cung Cave, Tam Cung Cave, Thien Cung Cave, and Trinh Nu Cave.  Cave tours are offered by several tour groups in Vietnam but again, your best bet is to inquire at Hanoi hotels.

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