I - Caves in Ha Long Bay are suitable for sightseeing
Differ in size, but all famous caves in Halong bay have their own unique beauty and charm. If you are a nature lover and interested in travelling and sightseeing, you should definitely visit these following caves:
1 - Thien Cung cave
Thien Cung cave is located on Dau Go island, in the southwest of Ha Long Bay, about 4km from Bai Chay harbor. To visit this cave, tourists need to go along craggy cliffs covered with trees on two sides, then slip through a narrow gap to finally see a large open space inside. The deeper you go inside, the more surprised visitors will be by the splendid beauty of the colorful natural stalactites.
The center of this Ha Long Bay cave is the most beautiful place consisting of 4 huge pillars and fancy shaped cliffs such as the wedding of the dragon king, dancing fairy, birds, fish, flowers, all of which make tourists feel like they’re lost in fairyland. Moreover, tourists not only are satisfied with beautiful scenery but also enjoy fascinating sounds of nature like the wind blowing through the cliffs. Thien Cung cave would definitely satisfy tourists with its wonderful beauty that the Creator has favored for this place.
Ticket price: VND 250,000/person (~ $10.7)
2 - Sung Sot cave - The biggest cave in Ha Long Bay
Sung Sot cave known as La Grotte des Surprise is located on Bo Hon island which is in the center of Ha Long Bay. This cave was discovered by the French in 1901 and named “La Grotte des Surprises” because of its greatness and rare beauty. Sung Sot cave has an area of up to 10,000 square meters, a height of 30 meters and it has a long and narrow passageway. The cave is divided into two main compartments.
To reach the first compartment, you have to climb 60 steps and maneuver through a narrow rocky ravine. The first cave is very wide and decorated with bright and glittering stalactites with different shapes such as elephants, flowers or leaves.
The second cave is led by a narrow path but only when you get there, will you be extremely surprised by its vastness. Keep reaching to the highest peak of the cave, you will really get the feeling of “Sung Sot'' (amazement) because of the magnificent garden with a crystal clear lake, charming scenery and many species of birds, all of which create such a vividly gorgeous natural picture right inside the cave. Therefore, Sung Sot cave is always one of the most beautiful places that attracts many tourists whenever they visit Ha Long Bay.
3 - Dau Go cave
Dau Go cave in Ha Long Bay was a place where Vietnamese soldiers and people under Tran Dynasty (13th century) used as a shelter for sharp wooden bars kept to plunge into Bach Dan river in the war against the invading of Mongolian. The cave is on Dau Go island; it is about 6km from Bai Chay harbor. It has an area of 5000m2, located at an altitude of about 27m above sea level. Unlike other caves in Ha Long Bay, Dau Go cave has wide entry, it is recorded that the cave entry altitude could be up to 12m. Therefore, to reach the entry, you have to climb about 90 high stone steps.
The cave is divided into 3 parts. The first part is an impressive stalactite system with many familiar shapes such as: fighting chickens, turtles, lions, etc. The second compartment is highlighted with stalactites and stalagmites which are arranged magically to create an extremely impressive ink-wash painting.
At the last compartment, the cave suddenly becomes wider. At the end of this Ha Long Bay cave is a fresh water fairy well, which is always crystal clear and has water overflowing all year round. Moreover, this cave is also very famous for its diverse floral system with different kinds such as moss, fern or woody plants. All of these things have created a wildly beautiful Dau Go cave which makes it unforgettable.
Ticket price: VND 250,000/person (~ $10.7)
4 - Me Cung cave (Maze cave)
Me Cung cave is located on Luom Bo island, about 3-5km from Ti Top island on the southwest. The structure of the cave terrain is quite complicated; it includes many nooks and compartments which are separated by a 100m long corridor rising to the West and looking down a small lake – Me Cung lake. Me Cung cave has an impressive stalactite system with many thrilling shapes that are often associated with fairy tales of ancient Vietnamese.
Me Cung cave in Ha Long Bay has not only beautiful scenery but also great historical and cultural values. The cave is identified as one of the relics of the early Ha Long Culture (10,000 – 7,000 years ago) by the archaeologists. The most remaining vestiges found at the entrance of the cave are Melanie snail shells – a snail that only lives in the stream. In addition, they also found skeletons lying deep in the cave nooks and vestiges of prehistoric people.
Ticket price: VND 50,000/person (~ $2)
You may concern: List of majestic caves in Vietnam
II - The caves are suitable for kayaking and swimming
If you are athletic, you should immediately visit these cave to not only be satisfied with scenery but also participate in interesting activities:
1 - Co cave (Grass cave)
Located on little Co island, 20km from Tuan Chau island, Co cave – known as Thien Son cave – attracts a lot of tourists every year. Visiting this cave, tourists are extremely impressed by the beautiful fairy-like scenery.
Source: Ha Phong
Co cave in Ha Long Bay is divided into two separate compartments. The first compartment is quite narrow with a strong, brown stalactite system. The second one is open wide, stalactites are more various and unique, looking like little falls coming down. The highlight feature of the cave is the natural lightening system which penetrates through the natural fissures in the cave ceiling to form extremely impressive magical light columns. Going through the cave, visitors will go down to the romantic beach of the island. Tourists can enjoy kayaking or swimming by yourself.
Ticket price: VND 200,000/person (~ $8.6)
2 - Thay cave (Master cave)
Thay cave in Ha Long Bay is 23km from Tuan Chau island, equivalently about 3 hours by train. The cave entry is arched, quite low and close to the sea level. The special feature of the cave is the pure white stalactite system with different shapes. The reason for its name is said that there are many stalactites in the shape of pens, books, ink trays and a small stone tablet like a table for reading books. At Thay cave, tourists can not only enjoy sightseeing but also find a white sand beach stretching about 70m which is suitable for sunbathing and swimming. You can also kayak to explore the scenery around the bay.
3 - Cap La cave
Cap La cave is one of the largest and most beautiful caves located on the Cong Do island range, about 25km from Tuan Chau Port. The cave attracts a lot of tourists because of its exceptionally beautiful white stalactite system which is still intact and not weathered.
The cave is about 30 meters high above sea level, 150 meters long and it includes 2 floors. The upper floor is quite low and deep, with a relatively high slope. The lower floor is wider with a system of original silky white stalagmites and stalactites which are very suitable for sightseeing. In addition, this Ha Long Bay cave is also very close to the mooring place at night, so it is convenient for tourists to take a rest and experience activities on the island such as boating or watching night sea on the bay.
4 - Luon cave
Located on Bo Hon island, Luon cave is 15km south of Bai Chay ship port. To enter the cave, tourists need to pass through a dome about 100m long, 3m wide and 2.5m-4m high depending on the tidal flow. When going through the arch, you will have the chance to admire the traces of nature’s erosion on beautiful limestone cliffs. Through the tunnel, you will find a peaceful crystal green lake, surrounded by mountains covered with ferns and cypress trees. Especially, you can see packs of yellow monkeys climbing on the cliffs. To fully feel the beauty of Luon cave, you can choose to kayak or take a bamboo boat, which must be very interesting.
III - Ha Long Bay caves contain archaeological sites
Caves in Ha Long attract visitors not only by their endowed natural beauty but also by the hidden historical and cultural values. If you are keen on archaeological relics, you should not forget to visit the following caves:
1 - Tien Ong cave
One of the caves that contain many mysteries that have not been explored by researchers is Tien Ong cave. The cave is located on Cai Tai islet, belongs to Trai cave island cluster and is about 20 km south of Ha Long city. Swedish archaeologist JG Anderson discovered Tien Ong cave in 1938. Basing on giant layers of sediments filled with stream snail shells and some rudimentary pebble tools. Archaeologists believe that Tien Ong cave is one of the places where the ancient Vietnamese inhabited about 10,000 years – 8,000 years ago (belonging to Hoa Binh – Bac Son culture).
Unlike most caves in Ha Long Bay, Tien Ong cave has a very wide and airy entrance which is about 50m wide; in front of the cave are many large blocks of limestone and stalactites falling from the cave ceiling. The cave is about 1,000m2, sloping and narrow inward, about 50m deep. In the cave, there are many stalactites vividly carved by mother nature. Currently, with its natural beauty and historical values, Tien Ong cave becomes one of favorite locally cultural attractions of both domestic and foreign tourists.
2 - Ho Dong Tien cave
Ho Dong Tien cave is a compound name for two famous sites, namely, Tien Cave and Tien cave lake. Tien cave is still quite unspoiled and has not been built or renovated, so it still retains its inherent natural beauty. The cave has typical terraced cave structure, which means the bottom of the cave is only slightly above the sea level and the store is still flooded.
Source: Geoff Brooks
Different from other Ha Long Bay caves, Ho Dong Tien cave still preserves relics of many cave floors on the wall. According to the scientists, if there are detailed studies about the remaining arrays of the foundation, the details of rising and lowering sea level in Ha Long Bay in the Quaternary Period (between 2 million – 1.6 million years ago) will be partly understood. In the cave, there are many stalagmites and stalactites that have undergone the sediments of time, which creates very beautiful shapes such as water drops and gourds.
In particular, from the second part of Ho Dong Tien cave, tourists can admire the beauty of Dong Tien saltwater lake nestled in the middle of limestone cliffs, leading to the sea thanks to fissures and underground caves. This is an extremely special ecological environment with many endemic species. Therefore, Ho Dong Cave has not been exploited for tourism yet, it mainly welcomes scientists and geological researchers to visit and study.
IV - Suggested Ha Long Bay cave tours
Nowadays, there are not any companies organizing tours to separated islands, most of them will combine visiting islands and other attractions in Ha Long Bay. Below are two reliable companies recommended:
1 - Presidential Cruise
Contact: +84 969 086 060 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Price: from USD 185/person for a 2D1N tour
Length: 2 days 1 night
Day 1: Start at 1:00 PM => have lunch => Sung Sot cave => kayak in Ho Dong Tien cave => afternoon tea => watch sunset => have dinner => enjoy spa
Day 2: Wake up at 6:30 AM and do Taiji kungfu on the cruise => have breakfast => swim or wander on Ti Top island => have lunch => the end.
2 - Paradise Elegance Cruise
Contact: +84 906 099 606 or email@example.com
Price: from USD 105/person for a 2D1N tour
Day 1: Start at 1:00 PM => Thien Cung cave => Dau Go cave => Tung Sau pearl village => Ti Top island => have dinner => night squid fishing
Day 2: Wake up at 6:30am => do Taiji kungfu => visit Sung Sot cave => checkout => end at 10: 30 AM.
Above are the most famous beautiful caves in Ha Long Bay. If you have the chance, you should visit to fully enjoy the wonderful beauty nature endowed to this destination with invaluable historical and cultural values which cannot be found anywhere else.