Halong Bay and its neighboring Lan Ha Bay are renowned for their stunning natural beauty and unique karst landscapes. Among the many attractions in this region, the caves stand out as mesmerizing wonders waiting to be explored. These captivating caves, shaped over millions of years, showcase remarkable geological formations, stalactites, and stalagmites. Embarking on a Halong Bay Cruise offers a fantastic opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of these caverns. In this article, we will introduce you to the must-visit caves in Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay, ensuring an unforgettable experience.
All Caves in Halong Bay & Lan Ha Bay You Should Visit
1. Sung Sot Cave
One of the largest and most famous caves in Halong Bay is Sung Sot Cave, also known as Surprise Cave. As you step into the cave, you'll be enchanted by its grandeur. The cavernous chambers are adorned with impressive stalactites and stalagmites in various shapes and sizes, resembling intricate sculptures. Illuminated pathways guide you through the vast chambers, revealing stunning rock formations and geological wonders. The breathtaking beauty of Sung Sot Cave is a testament to the forces of nature and remains a true highlight of any Halong Bay Cruise.
2. Thien Cung Cave
Located on Dau Go Island in Halong Bay, Thien Cung Cave, also called Heavenly Palace Cave, is a worthwhile destination. This enchanting cave creates a surreal atmosphere with its unique formations. As you explore the cave, you'll be captivated by its ethereal beauty, featuring stalactites and stalagmites that resemble mythical creatures and landscapes. The cave is well-lit, allowing visitors to appreciate the intricate details of the rock formations. With its otherworldly charm, Thien Cung Cave transports you to a realm of wonder and imagination.
3. Dau Go Cave
Situated near Thien Cung Cave on Dau Go Island, Dau Go Cave, or Wooden Stakes Cave, is a fascinating cave steeped in history. Legend has it that the cave served as a hiding place for the Vietnamese army during ancient battles. Upon entering, you'll be greeted by an impressive array of stalagmites that resemble a forest of wooden stakes, hence its name. The grandeur of Dau Go Cave is enhanced by colorful lights that highlight the unique formations, creating a mesmerizing visual experience. The cave also offers panoramic views of Halong Bay, providing a spectacular backdrop to its geological wonders.
4. Dark and Bright Cave
Located in Lan Ha Bay, Dark and Bright Cave, also known as Hang Sang Toi and Hang Ca, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Accessible by kayak or small boat, this cave offers a unique adventure for visitors. As you paddle through the cave's narrow entrance, you'll be greeted by a mystical world illuminated by sunlight streaming through openings in the cave ceiling. The cave's name comes from the stark contrast between its dark and bright sections, where the turquoise waters reflect the surrounding limestone karsts. Exploring Dark and Bright Cave allows you to immerse yourself in the tranquility and natural beauty of Lan Ha Bay.
5. Luon Cave
A very popular cave attraction of many Halong Bay Cruises is Luon Cave (Tunnel Cave), which can be found on Bo Hon Island about 14 km from Tuan Chau tourist wharf. Unlike many caves accessible by small boats or cruise ships, you can only visit this cave by a bamboo boat or kayak as Luon Cave has a limited height of 2.5 – 4 meters depending on the tide and around 60 meters long. Be prepared to sloop low as the cave is basically a stream of water flowing through the mountains and creating a small tunnel. Once you pass the arc-shaped entrance, you will see tranquil water with impressive stone pillars and plants which is perfect for a relaxing experience.
6. Trinh Nu Cave and Trong Cave
Also found east of Bo Hon Island are Trinh Nu Cave (Virgin Cave) and Trong Cave. Though including a stunning assortment of stalactites and stalagmites, these two caves are more well-known with an emotional love story. Legend says that long ago the beautiful girl of the fishing village was forced by the rich landlord to become his concubine. She refused because she had a lover, who was going out fishing at that time to prepare for their wedding. Then the landlord exiled her to a deserted island. Experiencing a stormy night with hunger, the girl was exhausted and petrified. The place where she turned to stone was later called Trinh Nu Cave. As for the young man, he hurriedly came back to find his lover but met the stormy night and drifted to the island where his love was exiled. He used a rock to hit the cliff to announce that he had arrived but he was too late. The young man continued to bang the rock until he was exhausted and also petrified at a place that was later named the Trong Cave. The folklore is tragic but the surrounding area is impressive and after exploring the caves, you can enjoy the pristine Trinh Nu beach with calm scenery and green waters.
7. Tien Ong Cave
Tien Ong Cave - also known as Duc Cave or Ren Cave - is located on Cai Tai Islet, right behind Cua Van fishing village on Halong Bay. In 1938, a Swedish archaeologist named J. G Anderson had a trip to survey the vestiges of ancient Vietnamese along the coast and on the islands of Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long, including Tien Ong Cave. Here, he discovered huge sedimentary layers filled with stream snail shells and some rather rudimentary pebble tools, indicating that the cave was inhabited around 8,000 - 10,000 years ago. Nowadays, inside Tien Ong Cave, you can see stone artifacts and learn interesting historical information while admiring stunning interior scenery.
8. Cap La Cave
Situated about 25km from Tuan Chau tourist wharf, about 20km from Halong international passenger port, Cap La Cave is recently discovered. This is a large and very beautiful cave, with intact white stalactites, not weathered. The cave entrance is about 30m high above sea level. The cave has a structure of 2 floors: the upper floor has a steep slope, the ceiling is low and deep; the lower floor is wide with white stalactites, suitable for cave tours. Cap La Cave is located close to the overnight anchorage, so it is convenient for connecting to create typical tourist products.
9. Thien Canh Son Cave
Thien Canh Son is a fairly unspoiled cave located on Bai Tu Long Bay and Halong Bay in Cong Do Nature Reserve. Inside the cave, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy a strange beauty of limestone stalactites formed thousands of years ago creating unique images such as a lotus flower, an elephant, or a sea seal. To visit the cave, visitors will have to climb about 100 stone steps, but when climbing, you will be surprised with the beautiful scenery of Bai Tu Long Bay and Halong viewed from above. Right below Thien Canh Son Cave is a smooth white sand beach, after visiting the cave, visitors can freely swim or participate in kayaking on this sand.
10. Hoa Cuong Cave
Hoa Cuong Cave is located about 20 km north of Cat Ba center in Gia Luan commune, where there is a ferry port connecting to Halong Bay. The cave is almost intact and is a familiar place in research tourism itineraries. The cave is at an altitude of about 15-20m above the living ground, 50m above sea level. The height is about 10m; the widest place of the cave is 25m, and the length is about 100m. Above the cave door, there are many stalactites with cubes like great sculptures of nature. On the ground of the cave, there is a small lake that increases the magical atmosphere when the light passes through. The shapes of stalactites have the appearance of human-shaped statues, animal figures... like paintings tinged with myths. All the scenery here attracts tourists to visit the cave.
11. Trung Trang Cave
Trung Trang Cave belongs to an ancient underground cave, about 1km south of Cat Ba National Park center on the way to Cat Ba town. This is one of the largest caves (about 300m through the mountain), representing the cave complex in the world biosphere reserve of Cat Ba archipelago, and also an attractive tourist destination, annually attracting tens of thousands of domestic and foreign tourists. During the American war, the cave was used by an information unit of the naval command, so the cave was also known as the Navy cave. Nowadays, you can still see historical features such as the activity room, water tank, and meeting room.
12. Hospital Cave
Another important cave attraction of Cat Ba Island is Hospital Cave, or locally known as Hang Quan Y. Located on the way to Cat Ba National Park, this cave is a nice stopover for visitors with some insights into the Vietnam-US war. In the years 1963 - 1965, the people on the island renovated the natural limestone cave into a field hospital, which can accommodate more than 100 wounded soldiers, with 17 wards and many other function rooms. To this day, Hospital Cave is still one of the most valuable and proud historical sites of the Cat Ba islanders.
Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay are home to a plethora of natural wonders, and the caves scattered throughout this UNESCO World Heritage Site provide an enchanting glimpse into the region's geological history. Each offers a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors. If you are interested in one or more of the attractions listed above, why not book a Halong Bay Cruise to admire the one that you like?