Thien Cung Cave, an Underground Heaven

Halong Bay in the North eastern region of Vietnam is famous of course for its outstanding natural beauty. Many cruise boats ply their trade here and it has become something of a haven, for those in search of rest and relaxation, surrounded by some of the world's finest scenery. There is much to see and do here, and one of the top attractions are the bay's caves. Boat passengers enjoy stopping of on many of the islands and explore the caves, some of which are truly amazing.

In the 1990s two fisherman kept up in a storm were looking for shelter. They watched as a monkey disappeared down a hole and followed. So it was that the Thien Cung Cave was discovered. Close by to the mainland quay from where most of the large cruise boats set sail, there is a small island. This is home to both the Dau Go Cave and the more impressive Thien Cung Cave systems. There is a large hill on the island and access to the cave is gained by hiking up the hill, to a height of about 80 feet. This of course affords the traveler with splendid views of the bay and a photo opportunity, before even entering the underworld grotto.

The name Thien Cung means cave of the heavenly palace, such is the mysterious and beautiful cave formations. Giant stalagmites and stalactites have been formed over millennia. The cave is illuminated in a way that to be honest, polarizes opinion. Some simply adore the blues, pinks and green that give the whole place the look of a fairy grotto. Whilst others, excuse that the cave would be better served by illustrating the place with a more natural color. It's really difficult to say really, after all the natural color would be pitch black darkness. Whatever your preference, it does not detract from the fact that the formations here are of a superb quality.

Walls are covered with shapes and patterns that, of course, have collected myths and legends over the years. Locals claim they depict lions, dragons, a bald eagle and other creatures, both real and mythical. Guides will point out the shapes and you can make up your own mind. Different people seem to see different things. I guess, it's like looking at cloud formations.

In the rainy season the cave walls and floors can become quite wet and in turn, very slippery. It is worth noting that this is not a trip for anyone with mobility problems, as there are no facilities for the disabled. Upon exiting the cave after completing your, one hour trip through, you are again rewarded with excellent views of the bay, below.

This is an excellent trip to include on your Halong Bay itinerary. It is well worth the effort and only takes up a couple of hours of your time. It's location, close by Halong City and the quay, make it extremely easy to visit. Remember to ask your tour guide, you will not be disappointed.