Caves and grottoes in Halong bay
hundreds of caves and grottoes within the area of Halong,
Bai Tu Long bay and Cat Ba islands, most caves are
located inside the mountains, below are some famous
Catba Hospital cave
This oozes historical significance, as it served both as
a secret, bomb-proof hospital during the American War
and as a safe house for VC leaders. Built between 1963
and 1965 (with assistance from China), this incredibly
well-constructed three-storey feat of engineering was in
constant use until 1975. A guide (most know a few words
of English) will show you around the 17 rooms, point out
the old operating theatre and take you to the huge
natural cavern which was used as a cinema (and even had
its own small swimming pool). The cave is about 10km
north of Cat Ba Town on the road to the national park
Trung Trang Cave
Trung Trang Cave is easily accessible, but you will need
to contact a ranger to make sure it is open. Bring a
torch (flashlight) as it is gloomy inside.
There is a challenging 18km hike through the park and up
to one of the mountain summits. Arrange a guide for this
six-hour hike, and organise a bus or boat transport to
the trailhead and a boat to get back to town. All of
this can be easily organised with rangers at the
national park headquarters or at the hotels in Cat Ba if
you’re travelling independently. Many hikes end at Viet
Hai, a remote minority village just outside the park
boundary, from where boats shuttle back to Cat Ba town
(about 250, 000d per boat). Don’t get stranded or you’ll
get stiffed. Take proper hiking shoes, a raincoat and a
generous supply of water for this hike. Independent
hikers can buy basic snacks at the kiosks in Viet Hai,
which is where many hiking groups stop for lunch. This
is not an easy walk, and is much harder and more
slippery after rain. There are shorter hiking options
that are less hard core. If you’re planning to join an
organised tour from Hanoi, check the trekking options
before you book, as many of the cheaper trips don’t
actually hike through the park at all.
Ho Dong Tien
Ho Dong Tien (Fairy Lake Cave) is one of the most
beautiful caves on Halong Bay. It's featured with not
only charming beauty but also geological value and
The mouth of Ho Dong Tien is right on the sea level.
Thus, its one third is flooded when the tide rises. The
cave inside has two compartments in total. The entrance
of the first chambers is very narrow that allows only
one person to go through at a time. Passing the tunnel,
it is a spacious chamber with various stalactiteshung
down from the ceiling. In the middle of the first
chamber, there are many stalagmites rising from the
ground and linking the ground to the ceiling. It’s so
amazing that there are small animals living in the dark
of the cave. How they can survive inside the cave is
still a question with no answer. Hanging on the wall of
the cave, there are lime-stone lofts which are relics of
geological history of Halong bay. The second chamber of
the cave leads to a lake surrounded by lime-stone
mountains. The lake has a special ecological environment
with many endemic species.
The lake inside the cave is supposed to be the place
where fairies descended to swim. Therefore, the locals
call it “Ho Dong Tien” (Fairy Lake Cave).
Hanh Cave is located at the foot of Quang Hanh
Lime-stone Mountain, about 20 kilometers far from Bai
Chay Tourist Wharf. Hanh Cave is not only the most
beautiful but also the longest cave in Halong.
Hanh Cave has the length of 1.300 meters, runs along
lime-stone mountain range of Quang Hanh. This is a low
cave so if you want to visit the cave, you have to wait
until low tide and then hire a boat. Visiting the cave
is only for those who love adventure. Before entering
the cave, you must carry torches or flashlight and
remember to go out of the cave before the tide rising.
Inside the cave, there is a temple which called Tam Co
temple (Three Girls temple). There are rumors that 3
beautiful virgins were get lost in the cave and died
here. Thus, local people built this temple in order to
comfort their soul.
Thien Canh Son Cave
The pathway to Thien Canh Son Cave is set below the
forest canopy and a stone cliff, so you have the feeling
you are climbing toward heaven.
Inside the cave, it is an ethereal wonderland with
naturally carved images resembling a lotus, and a baby
elephant. The ceiling of the cave is covered with a
shiny ‘gem carpet’, and numerous sparkling stalactites
appear like ’hanging lamps’. Stone statues of seals and
flowers create an imaginary dream world.
Thien Canh Son Cave offers a wild and mysterious beauty.
This is the reason why we choose to bring guests here –
to discover the geological value of the bay, and to
enjoy a cozy dinner with family and friends in sparkling
Trinh Nu Cave
Nu Grotto or Virgin Grotto is situated on the island
range of Bô Hon in the system comprising the Sung Sôt
Grotto, Dong Tiên Lake and Luon Grotto. It is 15 km
south of Bai Cháy Beach. For fishermen, the Virgin
Grotto is their house, but for young lovers, it is
considered as the symbol of truly love, and is the
romantic place for taking oath of love. Entering Trinh
Nu Grotto, one finds in the middle of the grotto a stone
statue of a lying-girl with her long hair hanging down
who is looking to the sea in a vain hope.
Thien Cung Cave
is situated on the south-west side the bay, 4 km from
the wharf outside of Ha Long City. The way to Thiên Cung
is a perilous one, covered on both sides by thick
forest. After entering a narrow gate, the grotto’s
130-meter-long girth opens up. Getting in we are more
astonished in front of the very animated and splendid
beauty which is made from stalactite. On the east wall
of the grotto, there is a grandiose and imposing picture
with characters of tales. Going out of the Thien Cung
Grotto, we have a sensation of just watching a unique,
meticulous, interesting fine-art museum which is made by
nature, get out of the imagine, ability and intellect of
man. This grotto is recently discovered, one of the most
beautiful grottoes in Ha Long Bay.
Tam Cung Cave
Cung Grotto or Three-palace Grotto is situated in the
centre of Ha Long Bay, 5 km from Sung Sôt Grotto to the
northeast. The grotto itself is divided into three
parts; after threading the stone cracks, you find the
first chamber. Many beautiful forms can be garnered from
the rocky shapes. Continuing on to the second chamber,
the bumpy way leads to a spring with fresh water. The
last room contains further incredible stone depictions.
Tam Cung Grotto lies in May Den, a luxuriant island
nearly isolated from other islands. May Den’s cliffs are
extremely vertical, while its forest is flourishing.
Sung Sot Cave
in the centre of the UNESCO-declared World Heritage
area, the Sung Sot or Surprise Grotto is on Bo Hòn
Island, and is one of the finest and widest grottoes of
Ha Long Bay. Ascending to the grotto, the way is covered
by trees and foliage, and consists of great paved stone
blocks. Inside, it is partitioned into two chambers; the
first one being similar to a wide theatre hall. Many
stalactites hang from the high ceiling, with numerous
possible forms and shapes. A narrow passage leads to the
second rooms, where a flow of light meets visitors. The
chamber is so immense it could contain thousands of
people at one time.
Me Cung Cave
Cung cave is in two kilometers south-west of Ti Top
Beach. It formed on Lom Bò Island, and seen from afar,
the entrance is like the roof of a house denting the
After a narrow crack only allowing one person through at
a time, many partitions appear. These chambers are
somewhat small and narrow, but very refined, and with
many stalagmites and stalactites bearing beautiful
Threading your way through narrow passages, you find a
dim light from afar, which signals the exit of the
grotto. On getting out of the grotto, climb up several
rugged stone stairs and look down, you see a large round
lake surrounded by the mountain. Its waters is blue all
year round. The lake is home to many kinds of fish,
shrimps, octopuses, algae, see weed, and coral. Lying
adjacent to the lake there is an area of old trees
popularly known as an alluring “royal garden”.
It is dry and well-ventilated, and features a thick
layer of shells forming the foundation of the entrance.
Formerly, this layer was 1.2-meter-thick and
semi-fossilized. In the course of research, there was
also a fossilized animal’s skeleton discovered in the
interior. Me Cung cave has been recognized by
archaeologists as one of the vestiges of the pre-Ha Long
new Stone Age culture, that existed between 7,000 and
10,000 years ago.
Pushing into the grotto, tourists feel like walking in a
palace of a Persian king. Hearing the murmur from out of
nowhere, you think that Scheherazade is telling the
stories of the Thousand and One Nights for her king.
On the island, there are many ancient trees casting long
reflections on the water of the bay. They are home to
many species of birds and animals (monkeys, chamois and
Cave is situated on Bo Hon Island, 14 km south of Bai
Chay Beach. In front of the grotto is Con Rua Islet, and
the Sky Gate is on the right. Here the cliffs stretch
vertically out of the pure blue and smooth water. At the
water-level, an arched entrance leads to the grotto,
just at the base of the island.
Passing through the pretty entrance, you come across a
tranquil round lake, surrounded by luxuriant trees and
high dangerous stone walls. Monkeys run to and fro in
groups, benjamin fig trees shade the landscape and many
orchids hang their sweet-scented flowers. In the lake,
many species abound: shrimp, fish, crab and cuttle-fish.
This is an enclosed group of islands. It connects with
the sea via a 4-meter-wide, 100-meter-long, and
3-meter-high mouth. Inside the grotto, the 1-km2
brackish lake is surrounded by mountains. On the cliff
one still find traces of fossils of fresh-water snails,
which prove that men used to live there and this must
have been a deep valley then.
The beauty of the site, is the mingling of a number of
factors: the mountain’s size and form, the colour of the
water and the clouds. You should visit Luon Cave once!
Kim Quy Cave
Quy Cave or Golden Tortoise cave is situated on Dam Nam
Islet, with a peak 187 m above sea level. Come to Kim
Quy cave, visiter can amagine a tortoise with a peak 187
m above sea level. Dâm Bac Islet is in the front of the
grotto and Soi Sim Islet in the back.
Kim Quy Cave is 100 m long and 5 to 10 m wide, running
in a north-south direction.
A narrow way leads to the interior of the grotto where a
stream flows. The stalactites here are snow-white and
lightly hang from the ceiling.
It is linked to the ancient legend of the Golden
Tortoise: after having helped Emperor Lê Loi defeat his
enemies, the Golden Tortoise took back the magic sword
he had given him, and swam towards the sea. Arriving in
Ha Long Bay, it met with so many evil spirits and demons
hindering its journey that it remained to do battle.
After having defeated them all, the Golden Tortoise was
so exhausted that it searched for a grotto to rest in,
and once inside, turned to stone.
Today in Kim Quy Cave, it can be found dozing, still
with ancient wounds covering its body.
Dau Go Cave
The grotto is on Driftwood Island. Seen from afar, the
entrance to the grotto appears to be blue, and has a
shape similar to that of a jellyfish. After 90 steps up
the island, the entrance is reached. The ceiling of the
grotto is about 25 m. Hundreds of stalactites falling
down from the roof of the grotto look like a waterfall.
The grotto is divided into three main parts. The
exterior is a room with a vault full of natural light.
Many forms may be seen in the rock formations of the
chamber, depending on the imagination of the visitor of
Bo Nau Cave
Nau Cave (Pelican Cave) is located on the southwestern
Halong Bay. It's about 13 kilometers far from Bai Chay
Tourist Wharf and 2-3 kilometers to the southeast of
Trong Mai Islet...
Story has it that in the past, that cave had been the
residence of a herd of pelicans (in Vietnamese: “bo nong”).
The number of pelicans is so many that they filled the
cave. Therefore, the cave was named after thepelican as
Bo Nau Cave (“bo nau” and “bo nong” are pronounced
similarly in Vietnamese).
The mouth of Bo Nau Cave is quite wide with the size of
5-7 meters. It’s in the shape of arch and has many
stalactites falling down from the ceiling. Right on the
entrance is three blocks of stone. They look like a
sculpture about three fairies playing chess. The space
inside covers an area of 200 square meters. The
foundation of Bo Nau Cave is flat with various
stalagmites growing up in different sizes and shapes.
From the cave, tourists will get a unique view of Halong
bay that seems like standing in the monster’s mouth with
sharp teeth and seeing magnificent scenery outside.
Ba Ham Cave
Situated on the south-west side of Ha Long Bay, Ba Ham
Lake is found on Dau Be Island (Calf Head Island) in Lan
Ha Bay. This island is part of the range of islands at
the farthest end of Ha Long Bay, bordering the immense
zone Long Chau Sea. Ba Ham Lake is situated in the
middle of a narrow, rectangular area, with the all four
sides enclosed by vertical cliffs.