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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Quang Binh – The land of caves

By Ngoc Tran

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Quang Binh Province is well known for its magnificent cave systems, such as Phong Nha, Tien Son, Thien Duong and many more

A color-changing river

According to local boatmen who take tourists to gorgeous caves in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park park, the Son (Red) River, a branch of the Gianh River in Quang Binh Province, turns red during the rainy season.

The Son River has been a main source of water for the cornfields and banana gardens situated in the peaceful villages at the foot of the mountains. The river flowing along the foot of the mountains offers a charming view, especially during the summer.

As stated in historical documents, the Son River used to be the border of the North called the outer realm and the South called the inner realm during the Trinh-Nguyen War (1627-1673).

The eight-kilometer section of the Son River flows through limestone mountains and the Phong Nha cave system, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The dry and water caves of Phong Nha

The Phong Nha cave system, also known as one of Vietnam’s natural wonders, is among the most impressive caves in Southeast Asia. Discovered in 1995, the Phong Nha Cave was recognized as a world natural heritage site in 2003 and 2015.

The natural masterpiece with a height of 50 meters and a depth of 83 meters highlights the ancient stalagmites and stalactites. The Phong Nha cave system also has many branches of caves, such as Bi Ky, Tien and Cung Dinh.

Phong Nha has two parts, including dry and water caves. The dry cave is at a height of 200 meters, while the water cave stretches up to 1,500 meters.

Tourists can book a 30-minute boat trip to explore a part of the water cave, around one kilometer. Tourists can witness beautiful stalagmites and stalactites of different sizes and shapes at that depth.

The Phong Nha Cave system includes 14 parts that look like rooms in a huge house linked together by a long water corridor. As tourists wander deeper into the cave, the roof gets higher and the cave darker. Boatmen have to bring their own lamps to lead the way. Moreover, rivers flowing through the Ke Bang limestone mountains and the 40-hectare primary forest there await explorers.

The magnificent dry cave of Tien Son 

Tien Son is a one-kilometer-long dry cave next to the Phong Nha Cave. It is 200 meters above sea level.

The Tien Son Cave was found in 1935. Scientists from the British Caving Association said the cave was formed when blocks of big stones collapsed and stopped the flow of water through the Ke Bang limestone mountain tens of millions of years ago. The cave does not connect with the Phong Nha Cave.

Tourists are allowed to visit a part of the cave stretching 400 meters from its entrance as the remaining part of the cave is filled with reefs, making it dangerous for visitors.

Like Phong Nha Cake, Tien Son also features gorgeous stalagmites and stalactites, but they can imitate the sound of gongs.

The most impressive stalagmites and stalactites at Thien Duong

Thien Duong (Paradise) is the longest dry cave in Asia recognized by the British Caving Association. The cave is more than 30 kilometers long and has a width ranging from 30 to 150 meters. The temperature inside is always around 20 to 21 degrees Celsius.

The cave boasts the most impressive stalagmites and stalactites. One resembles the Virgin Mary with Jesus in her arms, while another looks like Buddha. A wooden bridge inside the cave can take visitors closer to these natural artworks. They can walk six kilometers ahead to further explore the cave, which has a skylight right at the end.

Inside the Thien Duong Cave

A thrilling zipline experience

After a tour of the beautiful caves, the Song Chay-Hang Toi Tourist Site offers a great end to the trip to Quang Binh Province with its thrilling zipline. Tourists can engage in ziplining at a height of 50 meters to Hang Toi (Dark Cave). Along the way, they can witness a panoramic view of the Chay River and feel the fresh air of the forest canopy.

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