Thien Duong (Paradise) Cave in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO-recognised world natural heritage site in the central province of Quang Binh, has become a favourite destination of domestic and foreign tourists.

After visiting the cave, many people recognised its irresistible magic, saying that this is really the most beautiful wonder of the Creator on earth.

Thien Duong was labeled the world’s most beautiful and magnificent cave when it was discovered by scientists from the British Cave Research Association in 2005.

Located in the middle of the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, about 4 km west of the Ho Chi Minh Road, the cave, which is believed to be formed hundreds of millions of years ago, is surrounded by underground streams and rocky mountains.

The cave was discovered by a local man named Ho Khanh. British explorers then explored the cave and stated that it is 31.4km long, with width from 30-100 metres wide, with the widest point measuring 150 metres and the height of around 60m. It is considered the longest dry cave in Asia.

After crossing an old forest, visitors see the entrance to the cave shaded by century-old trees and are then dazzled by the mysterious beauty of stalactite pillars, each dozens of metres in diameter, and grandiose rock arches, which are works made by the enchantment and sudden inspiration of the Creator over the past millions of years.

After crossing an old forest, visitors see the entrance to the cave shaded by century-old trees and are then dazzled by the mysterious beauty of stalactite pillars, each dozens of metres in diameter, and grandiose rock arches, which are works made by the enchantment and sudden inspiration of the Creator over the past millions of years.

Thien Duong cave was detected in 2005 and opened for tourists by Truong Thinh Group last September . The cave is around 60 kilometers from Dong Hoi city. It is located in Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park. Experts said that Thien Duong is more beautiful than Phong Nha, which is called the number-one cave in Vietnam.
Its stalactites and stalagmites have been formed over thousands of years and stir the visitors’ imagination. While on the wooden walkway, one cannot help but admire this gift of nature.

Phong Nha cave, from which the name to the whole system and the park is derived, is famous for its rock formations which have been given names such as the “Lion”, the “Fairy Caves”, the “Royal Court”, and the “Buddha”. Phong Nha cave is 7729 m long but tourists can only penetrate to a distance of 1500 m.and contains several grottoes or chamber, including the Bi Ky grottoes.

Its cave system features underground passageways and river caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites. The stalagmites that used to stand at the cave’s entrance apparently inspired its name: Phong Nha means ‘Wind and Teeth’.

Phong Nha is famous for its rock formation that bear intriguing names such as the ‘Lion’, ‘Unicorn’, ‘Kneeling elephant’ and ‘the Buddha’. After flowing about 19 km underground, the Son river emerges from the mouth of this cave, draining a huge area of the limestone mountains around Phong Nha.

Phong Nha has been voted as one of the most wonderful caves in the world for a number of reasons: for its longest underground river, for its most beautiful underground lake. for its highest and widest entrance, for its most beautiful and widest dry cave, for its most beautiful sandbank and reef, as well as for its most spectacular stalactites, stalagmites and longest water grottos.

When travelling to Rao Thuong Spring – En Cave tourists will enjoy a romantic combination of rivers – springs – mountains of Phong Nha – Ke Bang with wonderful places in heaven. In a journey to Hang En, one of magnificent cave in a system of 300 large and small caves in limestone area of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, Quang Binh, visitors will have opportunity to enjoy the untouched beauty, the grandeur of the vast primeval forests, the charming green of Rao Thuong spring, the landscapes with endless beauty that nature has bestowed. Also, they have a chance to experience the lifestyle and customs of Bru-Van Kieu ethnic minority people living between the majestic Truong Son range.

From the center of culture and ecological tourism of Phong Nha, Ho Chi Minh Trail West tourists begin journey exploring En Cave. The path to the En Cave, you have to pass magnificent primeval forests with tingled sounds of birds and gibbons and swarms of butterflies. Climbing on the mountain, tourists will pass wading streams, along zigzag trails in dense forests with carpet of sweet dense decaying leaves.

Strange creatures, towering trees reaching up to the sky to welcome the sun, the quietness of the mountainous area… pure and clear atmosphere, the sun cannot shine. After nearly three hours through the jungle, crossing the long distance about 4km, you would stop in Ban Doong…

SWC
Swallow Cave – Hang En

Ban Doong is a small village of Bru-Van Kieu ethnic minority people living almost isolated in the core area of the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park with 6 households and 21 people, local community in Ban Doong live leisurely and peacefully like their compatriots of hundred years ago. Mr. Nguyen Sy Toa, 64 years old, being an innocent and pure-minded person, was elected to be the village chief, community of Van Kieu ethnic people in Ban Doong like a strange musical notes in the journey to discover wonderful nature.

Leaving Ban Doong, tourists continue to conquer the second journey approximately 5km to En Cave. Instead of dangerous steep passes, this way has thinned forests, wild grass, vegetables, wild banana, and Rao Thuong winding and crooked blue stream.

Rao Thuong is also called Doong spring derived from the top of U Bo Mountain and some small streams on the Truong Son range. This stream is not deep and there are many mudflats. Cool and fresh spring water helps visitors observe the fish swimming around. Both banks are limestone successive mountains, which are interwoven with thinned forests stretching as far as of sight making more excitement for tourists coming to En cave.

Rao-Thuong-Spring-En-Cave
Rao Thuong stream is smoothly winding under massif of limestone between the two ancient forest canopies. Far a distance, Rao Thuong looks like undergrounding deep into the mountains. Rao Thuong is as mischievous maiden engrossed with playing hide and seeks. When winding, when disappearing between two cliffs, sometimes unexpectedly spreads immensely to a few hundred yards and then quickly vanishes among the dense forest canopies.
Going along the steep cliffs, thinned forests still remain footprints of wild animals and then En Cave suddenly appear after a corner … the door of En cave is in front, at a distance, among immense mountains, En cave mouth open like a giant creature that you are just the man are humbled by the greatness and superficial world of it.

Southeast entrance of the cave is wide near 100m, divided in half by a giant stone pillar. At the entrance, there are many sedimentary pebbles, gorgeous and vast gravels. Stones like having deep sleeping for a long time; they are just scrambled under feet of people standing in the cave. Around the cave are cool green forests, very suitable for camping. En cave was first described in 1994 by group of British Royal caving with 1.645m length, more than 170m width, and as high as 120m. Nevertheless, just by the numbers, you would be hard to imagine stunning beauty of the place.

En Cave has three doors, one dooris located halfway up the mountain, and the 2 left gates are located at the foot of the mountain, which has a door to the southeast and the northwest entrance. Two entrances at the foot of mountain follow direction of Rao Thuong spring. This is a rare feature compared with many other caves in Vietnam. The reason the cave named En Cave because it has many Swallow living. Hang En became popular with the native people a long time because it used to be a residence of Arem ethnic people from thousands of years ago. Previously, when Arem people still lived in En Cave, swallows annual built nests every season, they often climbed cliffs and bare caves to catch child swallows for foods. Nowadays, though Arem people moved to settle near the 20 Quyet Thang , they have returned to En cave to organize eating swallow festival to give thanks to gods of the forest, the mountain on the fifteenth day of the lunar calendar in May.

In the cave, you will see three lakes separated by the small mudflat and bedrock ranges piled up together. On the ceiling cave, cliffs have many stalactites with diversified shapes and particularly swallow’s nests. Sunset and thousands of swallow wings at entrance. Their chirrup likes the remixes among beautiful green forests, causing massive cave never lonely.

Stalactites in a cave are not enormous by the flow of the flood of erosion from millions of years. However, the stream in the cave is very miraculous, Rao Thuong stream continue winding, curving as S-shaped, overcoming the low mudflats, rocky clefts, being dimly visible in En Cave. Stalactite dunes are in various shapes and colors are scattered everywhere. Its flow is as reluctant to leave this magnificent cave.

From the entrance to the depth of about 1km, a sedimentary sinkhole created a skylight, bringing sunshines down sapphire stream, painting a magnificent picture. Scenery is like in Heaven. Feeling human beings are so small in front of a spectacular cave. Cold air of stalactites, sapphire of fresh stream that you have to immerse myself down to get to the other side that people are still lightheaded, as in fairy stories.

Entrances of En Cave are a round arch with enchanting beauty. One is a strange mighty door; another one is 83m in high, 35m in width, making groups of caving surprised: “It’s really majestic. We have never seen such an entrance. Humans too humbled by this entrance. “This is also a place where photographer, Carsten Peter selected as the theme for the shooting to give birth to works “En Cave” has been voted by National Geographic magazine is as one of the most beautiful natural images on March, 2011.

The unique features, which Phong Nha and Heaven caves don’t have of En Cave is in the blue colors of the river and light shining from skylights make the scene be more sparkling and fanciful. En Cave is like a fairy world with diversified flowers and grasses. From the cave overlooking the entrance tourists may see lively landscapes, spacious sandy beaches and lush green pristine rainforests ….

According to geomorphological experts, besides stunning beauty of En Cave, it also carries the burden of flood drainage valley for Ban Doong. Without Hang En is as an enormous button, in flood seasons, floodwaters from upstream will turn into Ban Doong a submerged swamp… Geomorphological experts say that without En cave, the flood drainage in the valley of Ban Doong become unsolvable and likely become dangerous swamp.

Nevertheless, the appearance of En Cave brought a life to a vast valley with a hundred hectares. In En cave, scientists also saw other migratory of vegetation into the grotto. The seeds of the ferns, other trees follow annually flood flows into the cave, they float downstream and cling to the rock cleft and then, when the sprint, we start a new proliferation in a cave spectacularly. With En cave, British Caving Association said it was spectacular cave, a standard form of movement of crust remaining hundreds of millions of years.

Let come to Rao Thuong – Hang En to explore this spectacular caves to be immersed in the mountain and primordial forests of Phong Nha – Ke Bang national park with sound of chirping birds and murmuring streams, rustling of trees, which dispel all anxiety your daily life. Combined with activities such as camping, fishing, bathing spring, observing Leaf Monkey, tourist can visit a highland village – Ban Doong to perceive traits of primitive living of ethnic people in the heart of heritage. Enjoying the rustic dishes of local people such as sticky rice and boiled chicken, vegetables are picked in forest to have delicious soup, fish in the stream of Rao Thuong grilled fragrantly over an open fire. Surely, whenever you go, you will remember a journey to Rao Thuong- En Cave and memorize all the usual dishes, but with a very distinctive aftertaste of Phong Nha – Ke Bang…

Tourist route discovery of Sinh Ton (Survival) Valley and Hang Thuy Cung (Aquarium palace cave) has a total length of 9 km (4.5 km for exit and 4.5 km for entry). Travelers will be taken to the start point at the Km15 or Km18 on West branch of the Ho Chi Minh road, the Survival valley of 2,000 ha width, surrounded by huge limestone mountains and the vast primeval forests, caves in the middle of the Aquarium with watercolor blue, cool, create a beautiful scenery to fascinating people. The Survival valley is more attractive because there is plenty of oil otter populations endemic trees, patches of paintings untouched, many plant species richness. It is an opportunity for visitors to gain a better understanding of the value of forest biodiversity World Natural Heritage National Park Phong Nha – Ke Bang.

After experiencing at the Survival valley by flashlight, visitors will continue to explore the 600m depths of Hang Nuoc Lan (Water Diving cave) – the backdoor of Hang Toi (the Dark Cave) and Hang Thuy Cung (Aquarium palace cave) with exotic color of blue water. Here, travelers will explore the mysterious Aquarium palace cave which is located in the heart of the limestone between the jungles.

This new route will be a mysterious and ideal destination of world natural heritage site – Phong Nha – Ke Bang national park for people who like discovering the nature.

thung lung sinh ton 3 Thung lũng Sinh Tồn Hang Thủy Cung

The Sinh Ton (Survival) Valley

thung lung sinh ton 2 Thung lũng Sinh Tồn Hang Thủy Cung

surrounded by huge limestone mountains

hang thuy cung 5 Thung lũng Sinh Tồn Hang Thủy Cung
Hang Thuy Cung (Aquarium palace cave)

hang thuy cung 6 Thung lũng Sinh Tồn Hang Thủy Cung

Inside the Hang Thuy Cung (Aquarium palace cave)

The Tu Lan Cave System is located at Tan Hoa village, Minh Hoa District, Quang Binh. It is about 70km North-West of Phong Nha and discovered by Only 3 caves, Tu Lan, Hang Ken and Hang Tien were explored on the 2010 expedition. In 2012 the BCRA expedition came back and explored more caves including Hang Hung Ton, Hang Uoi, Hang Chuot, Hang Son Oxalis, Hang To Mo and Hang Kim, and a few more caves have been found in 2013 in this area. The Tu Lan cave system became popular when Carsten Peter (NatGeo photographer) took a photo in Hang Ken that won so many prizes in National Geographic Magazine in 2011. The cave system is now open for tourists and managed by Oxalis Company Limited, a specialist caving and jungle trekking company. The intent of Oxalis is to keep this cave system totally natural, no construction and housing will be built in this area.

There are many spectacular untouched caves in this limestone mountain area with beautiful stalagmites and stalactites, as well as underground rivers and waterfalls making Tu Lan a unique spot for both sightseeing and adventure. Tourist will walk under the immense valley, wade slippery mud, and swim across the rivers with the temperature of 200c that will surely satisfy and make good impression for tourists.


       The trek to Tu Lan cave system in Minh Hoa, about 70km from Phong Nha, in far distance is the Rat cave at  Tu Lan valley.

 

               

                             Tú Làn: Bức tranh thuỷ mặc đất Quảng Bình

                            

Hang Toi (Dark Cave) is about 50km north-west of Dong Hoi belong to Son Trach commune, Bo Trach district, Quang Binh. It is the only cave in Vietnam that has opened “cave mud bath” tourism service, attracting both International and Domestic Guests.

Located in the heart of the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, Dark Cave is typical of the geological formations from 400-500 million years ago and it was found in the years of anti-America resistance war by local people and used as a bomb shelter. The British Cave Research Association was first discovered in 1992 and named Hang Toi. This cave is a branch of Phong Nha cave system with 5,258m long and 80m high; the entry of cave is 30m high and 10m wide with heavy forest around the cave mouth.

darkcave_quangbinh

Hang Toi has a primitive beauty with thousands of several spectacular stalagmite and stalactites and there is a natural lake (Thuy Tien lake) and mud bath of 20m2 wide is very good for the health.

This is a shelter of many species of animals like bat and swift, especially, Ha Tinh langur – one of primate species listed in the Vietnam Red Data Book.

Currently, the Dark cave has been managed combining with Chay river – dark cave by Phong Nha – Ke Bang tourism centre. Participating in this tour, visitors will have a chance to enjoy zipline on air lengthening over 400m before getting inside the dark cave by professional caving equipment and have mud bath.
After successfully exploring and mud bath the cave, it’s time to take could i have herpes the kayak and paddle back to the boat station.