MangoVine
Adventures in East Asia

Ha Long Bay Part 2 - Thien Cung Cave

On the cruise, straight after leaving the quay, we headed directly to our first stop - an island containing two of the most beautiful caves (apparently) in Ha Long Bay. It was a stretch taking about half an hour (4 kilometres), during which time we could see a dispersed fleet of boats of all sizes leaving the docks and making a beeline towards the same island.

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It was a bit disconcerting to see so many boats heading out and then docking on the island and even more so to see the hordes of (mainly older - for some reason) tourists disembarking and shuffling their way along the path to head up, pass a few kiosks, to the first cave.

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Some tourists tired whilst climbing the few steps up, but at the top, we made our way through the entrance and into the first cave, Thien Cung, which was only recently discovered.

The immediate grotto has a girth of about 130 metres and is full of stalactites and stalagmites. The place is lit artificially with colourful flourescent lights which create quite a scene that supports the characters and tales made up about some of the collections of rocks.

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From Ha Long Tours:

Legend has it, that beautiful young lady named May (cloud), caught the eye of the Dragon Prince and he fell in love with her. They were betrothed, and their wedding lasted seven days and seven nights in the very centre of the grotto.

In honour of the wedding, small dragons flew about through the stalactites and stalagmites, elephants danced together happily, snakes twined themselves around trees and two stone lions danced with their manes flowing in the wind.


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As we moved through the cave amongst all the other tourists, our guide carefully pointed out and explained different areas and clusters of rocks that were meant to resemble (with a bit of imagination) buddhas, a couple, a single woman, crocodiles, birds and other animals.

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This cluster of rocks in the following picture for example, is the head of a dragon with its body meandering towards the right and down to another part of the cave. To help visualised, two beady lights are so positioned to represent the dragon's eyes.

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Here's a video giving a sense of the space in Thien Cung Cave.



When we reached the exit, we made our way along a walkway built outside along the rocks, towards the second cave.

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More photos of Thien Cung cave on Flickr


This entry posted in : Attractions. Tourism. Vietnam.

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