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Monday, July 22, 2024

Exploring the magnificent cave of Quang Binh

By Ton That Tho

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Hidden in a vast forest in the west of Quang Binh Province, Thien Duong (Paradise) Cave has been described as a beautiful natural masterpiece that never fails to enchant tourists

The cave was found by a local resident in 2005, according to the management of the Thien Duong Cave. The local felt a breeze blowing at the foot of the mountain, which he followed and found the cave. It drew the attention of scientists and explorers around the world. The British Caving Association sent its experts to Vietnam’s Quang Binh Province to further research the cave.

Thien Duong Cave is 31.4 kilometers long, up to 150 meters wide and around 60 meters high. The cave is deep inside a limestone mountain in the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, the world’s natural heritage, more than 60 kilometers from Dong Hoi City.

Currently, only one kilometer of the cave is open to tourists.

The path leading to the entrance of the cave stretches two kilometers. Tourists can choose between walking to the entrance and travelling by an electric car. Those walking on the path can enjoy fresh air, hear birds singing and witness butterflies covering nearly the whole path.

If they choose to walk, visitors have to climb 524 stone steps or walk on a path stretching along the stone steps.

On the left of the entrance is a temple worshipping a mountain god. Nearly all visitors pray at the temple before entering the cave.

The entrance under a very high cliff is so small that it can fit just one person. Two giant stalagmites with a diameter of five meters, resembling columns in a palace during ancient times, are what visitors first see as they enter the cave.

Inside, the cave boasts a magnificent structure. Those who visit the cave for the first time, describe the feeling as being in a “world that can only be found in fairy tales”. Moreover, as the outdoor temperature can often reach 35 degrees Celsius, the temperature inside is always around 20 degrees Celsius or below. The deeper tourists walk to the Thien Duong Cave, the lower the temperature.

There is a long wooden bridge inside that helps visitors get a closer look at the gorgeous stalactites and stalagmites shimmering under colorful lights. During the rainy season, the cave’s natural lakes and wells are filled with crystal clear water.

A long wooden bridge inside helps visitors get a closer look at the stalactites and stalagmites

In the Thien Duong Cave world, stalactites and stalagmites are of different shapes and sizes. Some look like castles or boats in the sea, while others are in the shape of sea waves, terraced rice fields, Cham towers— a religious symbol of the Cham ethnic minority, stilt houses, etc. But the most impressive one is Lien Hoa Tower, which resembles a giant lotus formed by stalagmites. There are also big stalactites and stalagmites in the shape of a Buddha with a diameter of up to two meters.

Each stalagmite or stalactite has its own beauty. The stalagmite and stalactite complex has been expanding as water droplets fall into the cave every day.

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