Referring to Vietnam, foreign travelers will immediately remember Halong Bay because it is one of the most famous places in Vietnam. It is recognized by UNESCO as World Natural Heritage, a must- visit place when foreigners want to visit Vietnam. Halong Bay has over 30 caves which are accessible for people. Each Halong Bay cave has its own beauty and value, formed from 11,000 to 700,000 years ago. Besides the aesthetic, geological, geomorphology values, Halong Bay caves also have cultural, historical and biodiversity significance. In this article, we would like to introduce the top 10 Halong Bay caves you should know. We hope that with this article, your journey will become easier and more interesting.
Entrance fee: VND 30,000 – VND 50,000/destination
Time: 6:30-18:30 daily
1SUNG SOT CAVE – THE MOST FAMOUS HALONG BAY CAVE
The brief information of the most famous Halong Bay Cave
Historically, Sung Sot Cave was discovered in 1901 by the French. They were surprised by the varied diversity in the cave so the cave was named Grotte Des Surprises (cave of surprise, shock).
Sung Sot Cave, Halong Bay is located in the heart of the World Heritage Ha Long Bay. This is a large and beautiful cave in Halong Bay. Especially when you visit this place, you will be really interested because the road to the cave is very cool with the forest covering two sides. Those who have a hobby of climbing, this is the ideal place to visit. Those who fear height, you can still join because the road to the cave is not too steep and high, you can completely go.
The beauty of the most famous Halong Bay Cave
Sung Sot cave has a total area of over 10,000 m², divided into two main chambers with various stone stalactites as the “beautiful sculpture” of nature evoking rich imaginations such as elephants, seals, birds, old trees, etc. moving in a fanciful space. Follow the trail in Sung Sot cave up to the exit, visitors will be surprised when they see in front of their eyes: the “garden royal” with a small clear lake, gorgeous landscape, fresh plants, and chirping birds. The monkeys often drag down here to look for fruit, making space become more alive
2DONG TIEN CAVE – THE HIGH GEOLOGICAL VALUED CAVE
Dong Tien Cave is one of the most beautiful caves in Halong Bay. Due to the special values of geology, geomorphology, and history of Ha Long Bay, Dong Tien Cave is only available for Eco boat and Ecotourism classes.
The beauty of the high geological valued Halong Bay Cave
Dong Tien Cave has a typical cave-style structure with the bottom of the cave is much higher than sea level, even the entrance of the cave is submerged. Unlike all the other caves in Halong Bay, in the caves of Dong Tien Cave, the relics of many caves were seen from the wall in the form of long “attic”. According to the scientists, the cave surfaces are relatively firmly constituted by CaCO3. Its bottom has been eroded by underground flows appeared in caves for thousands of years.
Especially. in dense darkness, no wind but crabs, spiders and crickets can still live. The way they eat, live is still a mystery. The second chamber of the cave Dong Tien has two gates to a lake surrounded by the limestone mountains. This is actually a karst funnel with the bottom of the submerged water. It is a special type of ecological environment not only isolating but also circulating through the system of the underground cave and limestone cracks. Thus, there is a unique organism system which may include many endemic species.
The management authority has not allowed visitors to visit this cave and other caves on the bay have helped the stalactites in the cave to keep the state of nature. The stalactites here show off its mysterious glitter. Millions of calcite crystals magically magnify the light which the exploited caves such as Sung Sot, Thien Cung, Dau Go never have again.
3ME CUNG CAVE – THE HIGH HISTORICAL VALUED CAVE
Me Cung Cave is located 25 meters high on Lom Bo Island, about 2 kilometers south-west of Ti-Top Island. The cave is considered one of the ancient archaeological sites of Halong from 7,000 to 10,000 years ago by archaeologists. The remaining of the cave are Melania snail shell which is the snail living in the stream only.
The beauty of the high historical valued Halong Bay Cave
Through a small door slit that only one person can pass through, the cave’s heart opens with many compartments. Although small, the Me Cung Cave is very sophisticated. The stalactites are shaped statues, beautiful patterns. These stalactites have many colors, falling down from the ceiling with different shapes like the stone lion, stone bear.
When you see a pale stream of light from far away, it is the path that leads to the exit of motion. When you get out of the door, climb a few jagged rocks, you will see a very round and wide lake surrounded by mountains. This is the world of species such as fish, shrimp, squid, algae, coral, crab, etc. Beside the lake is a land with many ancient trees that people call the “palace”- the beauty of the soul. Entering the cave, visitors seem to be entering the palace of a Persian emperor. The murmurs here make the visitors think that it is the voice of Shevat telling the story thousand and one night for her king.
Me Cung Cave is located in the absolute protection of the heritage – Wonder World Halong Bay. It has a very complex structure, consisting of many levels, compartments, stretching within the roof of a rock with a corridor more than 100 meters long. From here, you can see a small lake having the same name as the cave – Me Cung Lake. In general, the Me Cung Lake falls between the walls of the rocky mountain, being seemingly independent of the sea. According to scientists, Me Cung Lake is a geological and ecological area having great scientific value. This is also a very lively scene about the nature of this area.
To serve tourism, the Me Cung Cave has been renovated. Therefore, the main culverts of the cave are the snails and mountain snails in front of the cave entrance which are reduced by the authorities. Fortunately, the reformers did not “touch” the two sides of the door, the roof of the four shell sedimentary rocks including snails.
4TAM CUNG CAVE – THE MOST SOPHISTICATED STRUCTURED HALONG BAY CAVE
Tam Cung Cave is located on the island of May Den – an island located almost separated from other islands. Located in the center of Halong Bay, 5 kilometers Northeast of Sung Sot Cave. The cave is divided into three compartments. There are many beautiful stalactites. In all three compartments, stalactites create natural forms of life such as his predecessor with the silver beard, three polar bears, white flowers, lions, seals, statues gods, and so forth.
The beauty of the most sophisticated structured Halong Bay Cave
Setting foot in the first cave, visitors have been very excited about the sound of the bending of the wind, echoing the sound of the rock music or T’rings holy. Visitors will be more surprised to see firsthand the big stalactites shaped the old people climbing the mountain or the gentleman watching the life. Falling from the roof of the cave is a large flower bursting with many small wings, adorning the beauty of the cave becoming more splendor, fascinated.
Walking through this “fairy space”, through a small rock slot, visitors will come to the living space of a natural museum with the seal, lion stones, etc. In the center of this second compartment is a stream of fresh water. This place is like the castle, the land of the princess sleeping in the forest.
Coming to the final compartment, visitors can admire the fine and sculptured stone sculptures by natural artisans. Each work is created with the transcendental aesthetics value. The shapes have various styles such as soft petals, fat elephants, meek, slender sticks, etc. However, these things create the vivid, harmonious and balanced picture.
5TRINH NU CAVE – THE VIETNAMESE SCHMALTZY LEGEND
Trinh Nu Cave is located on the two sides of a small mountain arc East of Bo Hon Island, Halong Bay, about 14 kilometer South of the Bai Chay Tourist Shipyard. The ancient French called this cave La Vierge (girl’s cave).
For the fishermen, Trinh Nu Cave is considered as their dear home, while the couple considers it as a symbol, the vow of love.
Entering the cave, in the middle of the cave is a statue of a girl lying with long hair, eyes looking out to sea far away, waiting for something in despair. Legend has it that once upon a time, there was a beautiful village girl. Her family was very poor so she had to work for the landlord. Due to her beautiful appearance, he forced her family to give her become his wife. She refused because she had a boyfriend, who was going out fishing to prepare for their wedding day. Unable to marry the girl, the landlord sent her to a deserted island to subdue her.
On a rainy night, the girl was petrified. It was also the night the boy knew she was in trouble. He went to the boat to find her. At night, thunderstorms came to make his boat broken. He drifted to a deserted island, looked away and recognized the girl but his words had been carried by the wind. Then, he hit a rock against the cliffs and told her that he had come. He knocked until the blood flowed and exhausted. Finally, he petrified in the opposite cave.
The Trinh Nu Cave also attracts visitors by other legends. Today, if you visit the cave and meet the fishermen here, you will hear about the love story sparkling, fanciful that there is a young couple love but they are too poor to get married. He decided to take a boat to the sea to look forward to catching large fish to have money to marry her. The girl had been waiting for her fiancée for a long time but she got no information from him. Because she missed him too much, she took a small boat and sailed by herself to find her fiancé. She was exhausted, lying in the cave, facing away from the sea, petrified when calling the last call.
6THIEN CUNG CAVE – THE MOST FANCIFUL HALONG BAY CAVE
The brief information of the most fanciful Halong Bay Cave
Thien Cung Cave has beautiful scenery like the palace of heaven. The cave is located in the south west of Halong Bay, about 4 kilometers from the tourist port of Dau Go, at 25 meters above sea level.
The beauty of the most fanciful Halong Bay Cave
The way to Thien Cung Cave is quite difficult with the cliffs, the two sides of the tree covered with luxuriant forest. Through a narrow slit door, visitors suddenly see the space above a quadrilateral surface with a length of 130 meters. Visitors will more be surprised by the beauty of splendidly living made by the stalactites. Climbing to the east, the traveler can see a monumental, in which emerged ancient fairy characters with soft flexible, extremely delicate lines.
The sculptures, whether large or small, are meticulously crafted. Thien Cung Cave is associated with the legend of the ancient Dragon King. The old story told that after the Dragon King helped the people defeat the enemy, the Dragon King returned to his cave. Center of this cave has four large pillars supporting the heaven. From the bottom to the top, the columns are engraved with many strange shapes, such as birds, fish, scenes of human activities, flowers.
Coming to the last compartment with the streams of white, blue, red lights mixed to create a beautiful unique scene, the travelers also can witness a natural stream pouring out there three clear water ponds. According to legend, May princess regularly bathed her 100 children and raised them here. A winding road leading to the small road is the way that May and 50 of her children going to explore the new land, 50 children stay with the father to build their home with Bau Vu Tien treasures which the mother left. Thien Cung Cave is like an extremely unique, sophisticated, interesting museum of art. All are created by the hand of nature with the magical and human imagination.
7LUON CAVE – THE SMALLEST HALONG BAY CAVE
Simplicity as its name – Luon Cave, Halong is simply a stream of underground water, flowing through the mountains, having the mysterious and aesthetic arches. It will take about 1 hour from Doan pier (Halong city), you will visit Bo Hon Island and discover one of the attractive places on Halong Bay is Luon Cave. Exploring Luon cave is an exciting journey sailing with the beautifully arched gate, full of unique stalactites hanging down. This cave is called Luon Cave because it is a closed circle, having a calm blue lake connected to the sea by a tunnel created by a slot its bottom is submerged. Luon Cave, Halong is nearly 60 meters long while the roof is only 2.5 meters to 4 meter high depending on the water tide.
The beauty of the smallest Halong Bay Cave
Actually, the cruise ships cannot enter the cave. So, if you want to go into the cave, you will go by a small wooden boat Sampan each carrying about 10 to 15 people. The time for visiting Luon cave takes about 20 minutes. Boat trips are free of charge because it is included in the entrance ticket price. Travelers can rent kayaks and explore the Luon Cave, Halong Bay by themselves.
After passing through Luon Cave, you will see a lake about 1 km2. Especially, this place is also the home of the cute, curious golden monkeys. In addition, researchers have found cliffs of fossil freshwater snakes, suggest that humans had once inhabited the area. These types of caves in Halong Bay are not popular. The harmonious combination of scenery, mountains, water, clouds, and green grass makes Hang Cave has become a tourist attraction.
8DAU GO CAVE – THE MOST COLORFUL HALONG BAY CAVE
According to ancient legends, in the resistance war with the aim at against the Nguyen Mong, Tran Hung Dao has prepared many kinds of wood staked here to plug into the Bach Dang River. Nowadays, there are many pieces of the remaining wood. Therefore, this place is called Dau Go. The blue cave is shaped like a jellyfish. Through 90 stone steps, you will reach the door.
The beauty of the most colorful Halong Bay Cave
The cave is divided into three main sections. While the outer courtyard is filled with natural light, the ceiling is considered as a giant oil painting which depicts wild landscapes. These are the elephants looking for food, the stag being bewildered, the little lion sleeping with the shape and position are extremely animated.
Standing under the dome, you will feel like you are standing in the middle of an ancient castle with the massive and subtle architecture. The center of the cave is a big pillar which many people can hug at the same time. The whole architecture from the bottom to the top is a result of the creative talent of nature.
After passing through the first compartment, you will enter the second compartment with a narrow gate. The light shining here is so blurry, making the new paintings appear extremely mysterious. This makes travelers feel a little scared and curious about this place.
At the end of the cave is a clear lake with freshwater over four seasons. Inadvertently, you will recognize the four sides around are the ancient walls on which these are a strange melee battle, the elephants roaring, people and horses crowded, swords sprouting. All are in ready-to-go position but it is suddenly petrified at this place.
In 1917, King Khai Dinh visited Dau Go Cave, surprised by the beauty of the goddess of nature. After that, he put an epitaph with praise for the beauty of Halong Caves and Dau Go as well. At present, the stonework is still on the right side of the door.
9KIM QUY CAVE – THE HIGH HISTORICAL VALUED CAVE
Located on Nam Nam Island, 187 meters high, 100 meters long, 5-10 meters wide, stretching in the north-south direction, opposite to Gam Bac Island, behind Soi Sim Island, Kim Quy Cave is a natural picture with the warm, lively colors on this vast Halong Bay.
Most of Halong Caves has a unique history, Kim Quy Cave is the same too. This name is associated with ancient legends. After helping King Le Loi defeat the Minh invaders, Golden Turtle floated up the lake to retrieve the treasure and swam to the East Sea. At that time, there were many sea monsters disturbing the life of the people, Spirit Kim Quy came to the water of King Thuy Te and ask for permission to destroy the sea monster. After trying hard to eradicate sea monster, because of that exhausted, Golden Turtle swam to this cave and petrified there.
The beauty of the high historical valued Halong Bay Cave
Up to now, travelers visiting this cave will see a stone like an image of the Golden Turtle having a deep sleep. Milky white stalactites falling down create a beautiful and fanciful scene. There are hundreds of stalactites before your eyes in the form of strange, eye-catching. The interesting thing about this cave compared to other caves is that the natural light system is in harmony with the colorful light bulbs.
The inner compartment of the Kim Quy cave is the battlefield of Bach Dang where Tran Hung Dao had defeated Mong Nguyen. There are more than 30 stingrays of gray ironwood that are plucked into the deep river. Kim Quy Cave has special meaning, becoming one of the most attractive caves in the journey to explore the Halong Bay of visitors.
10HANH CAVE – THE LONGEST HALONG BAY CAVE
The brief information of the longest Halong Bay Cave
The cave has a length of 1300 meters, running through Quang Hanh Mountain to the sea, 9 kilometers to the west of Cam Pha town, 20 kilometers to Bai Chay. Hanh Cave is the longest and most beautiful cave in comparison with the other Halong Bay caves. The French call Hanh Cave with other name is Le tunnel. The door is very low so it is necessary to use a small boat to get in.
Visitors can hire canoes from the Doan Port (in Hon Gai – Halong) or drive to Cam Pha Town. You can rent boats or canoes at Cam Pha to visit this site. Near the gates, there are small boats for rent to visit and have to choose when the tide falls down. Before entering the cave, you should carry a flashlight. Normally, the time for a small boat entering and leaving the cave takes about 60 – 90 minutes. Hanh Cave is suitable for adventurous and genuinely sea gypsy because if you do not calculate the time well at high tide, you will be locked in the deep water aquarium.
The beauty of the longest Halong Bay Cave
In front of the cave, there is a small shrine called the Ba Co Temple. Legend has it that there are three girls going to the sea. That time was a heavy rainy day, they must find a rain shelter. They admired the beautiful scene until the tide rose. After that, they were trapped inside, dumped in the cave and turned into a sea god. Today, fishermen often go to the shrine to burn incense to pray for their soul.
MUST-KNOW TIPS WHEN TRAVELING THESE HALONG BAY CAVES
- Halong Bay is located in North Vietnam has 4 seasons including spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Any time of the year, you can travel to Halong Bay. The best time to travel is between April and October because the weather in these months is quite cool and pleasant.
- There are 2 types of tickets to visit Halong Caves on one-day including 4-hour ticket and 6-hour ticket. In which, with the 4-hour tickets, you will visit these points such as Thien Cung Cave, Dau Go Cave, Ga Choi Island, hovering around the bay at close distance, with the 6-hour ticket you will visit Thien Cung Cave, Ga Choi Island, Titop Beach, hovering around the bay with farther distance.
- Halong Bay is divided into two areas including Hon Gai and Bai Chay, connected by Bai Chay Bridge. The main tourist area is Bai Chay with the long coastline and tourist ports. Hon Gai is the administrative center. You should be in Bai Chay area for easy transportation and eating.
- In general, prices in Halong Caves are not too expensive for a famous destination. Visitors can shop for clothes at a slightly higher price than elsewhere. Dining at the restaurants is quite reasonable. However, visitors should learn some bargaining skills before deciding what to buy or rent.
- There are many tour operators that offer trips to Halong Bay in general and Halong Caves in particular at competitive rates. However, you need to make sure you get the products and services that are worth with the money you spend. With more expensive tours, the quality of boats, accommodation, cars, food, and guides are also better.
In conclusion, each cave has its own beauty and meaning. If you have enough time, you should visit all Halong Bay Caves. With the list top 10 Halong Bay Caves that we mentioned above as well as some must-know tips when traveling Halong Bay Caves, we hope that these things will help you a lot and make your journey become easier.