The stunning and glorious caves are the most outstanding feature of Halong Bay. With thousands of islands and hundreds of limestone caves, Halong Bay is like a natural museum where tourists can learn more about geology and biology. When mentioning the most stunning caves in Halong Bay, tourists will list many well-known caves such as Sung Sot Cave, Dau Go Cave, Trinh Nu Cave and Thien Canh Son Cave. As its name suggests, Thien Canh Son Cave offers tourists with the impressive beauty like a fairy land.
I. Location of Thien Canh Son Cave
Thien Canh Son Cave is located in Cong Do Reserve, which is at the center of Bai Tu Long Bay. The distance between Thien Canh Son Cave and Bai Chay Wharf is about 25 kilometers. Due to the location at the core of the heritage, the nature near Thien Canh Son Cave is protected closely and strictly. There are many plant species living near this cave, so it has another name as “Hang Co”, which means “grass cave”. Afterwards, due to its beauty, the name “Thien Canh Son” is used to call this cave.
Bai Tu Long Bay and Halong Bay are two largest biosphere reserves in the Gulf of Tonkin. While Halong Bay contains natural and cultural values that have been formed for millions of years, Bai Tu Long Bay is the largest sea sanctuary in North Vietnam. Coming to Bai Tu Long Bay, tourists should not ignore the area of Cong Do. The total area of this island is about 23 square kilometers, and it is among the most pristine islands of Halong Bay. Not only does this area have a diverse system of flora and fauna but also includes a large number of impressive caves, and Thien Canh Son Cave is the most outstanding one in this area.
II. History of Thien Canh Son Cave
In fact, there is no mysterious story telling about the formation of Thien Canh Son Cave. This cave has been formed by the erosion and deposition of limestones for millions of years. The impacts of water erode the calcium crystals in limestone, then the crystals combine together on the ceiling and ground of the cave to create stalagmites and stalactites.
In the past, Thien Canh Son Cave used to be called “Hang Co” because it is located on Hon Co Island. When the tourism potential of this cave was exploited, the name of this cave was changed to attract more tourists. “Thien Canh Son ” means the mountain with the view of fairy land, and if you come to visit this cave, you will decide that the cave is worthy of its beautiful name.
III. Highlights of Thien Canh Son Cave
When someone mentions a cave in Halong Bay, you might think about a semiarid cave where you have to go on a boat to visit. However, Thien Canh Son Cave is an exception. This cave perches on the slope of a high mountain on Cong Do Island. To reach the cave, tourists have to get over 400 stone stairs. The narrow path leading to Thien Canh Son Cave nestles under the shadow of the old trees, and among the stairs are green grasses. All the things seem to be in order for thousands of years, and tourists can’t help but praise the magic arrangement of the Creator.
Stepping over the entrance of Thien Canh Son Cave, an absolutely stunning world will appear in front of your eyes. The floor and ceiling of the cave are both decorated by the stalactites and stalagmites. The erosion and deposition of limestones for millions of years contribute to form a magnificent Thien Canh Son Cave that we can see nowadays. The stalactites and stalagmites are in many shapes and sizes, each one has its own beauty, and all of them combine together to draw a picture of colorful lights inside Thien Canh Son Cave.
Entering the interior of Thien Canh Son Cave, you might get lost in a world of fairy tales. Looking up the ceiling of the cave, you can see the stalactites like the chandeliers in Gothic-style constructions. Some stalagmites on the ground are in the shapes of flowers and animals, while some others are like contemplative statues. The imagination of tourists will be stimulated by the amazing appearance of Thien Canh Son Cave. Everything is like a lively creature which has its own soul, voice and attitude; and they are telling you a story that has been repeated for thousands of years.
No matter how hot the outside weather is, the temperature inside Thien Canh Son Cave always remains the same. The fresh air, along with the cool feeling you have when entering the cave, will ease the harsh weather outside, so that you can have a feeling of enjoyment in Thien Canh Son Cave. All the negative emotions are kept outside the cave, and they cannot disrupt you from admiring the beauty of Thien Canh Son.
IV. What to See and Do at Thien Canh Son Cave?
1. Discovering the cave
In recent years, thanks to the splendid beauty of Thien Canh Son Cave, it is becoming a popular destination among tourists coming to visit Halong Bay. According to many tourists, the beauty of Thien Canh Son Cave is like the beauty of a sleeping princess who is waiting for her lover. A system of lights is installed inside Thien Canh Son Cave; it does not ruin the natural beauty of this cave but ardons the appealing appearance of the whole cave.
Thien Canh Son Cave is the place where you can see the remains of time on every stalactite and stalagmite. It is worth saying that Thien Canh Son Cave is a masterpiece of the Creator. In spite of many ups and downs of history, the beauty of Thien Canh Son is at a standstill so that everyone can contemplate this beauty.
2. Admiring the view of Bai Tu Long Bay from above
After visiting the interior of Thien Canh Son Cave, tourists can step out and admire the overview of Bai Tu Long Bay. Thanks to the position on the mountain slope, Thien Canh Son Cave offers tourists an ideal view of Bai Tu Long Bay. The bay that looks impressive from the cruise boat now is more charming from above. Every limestone island of Bai Tu Long is a jade of the ocean that is cosseted by the gentle mother.
Also in the area of Thien Canh Son Cave, there are many natural plant species that decorate the beauty of the cave with their flowers. Despite the harsh living conditions, the bushes and trees still implant on the rocks and bloom colorful flowers. The strong and sturdy plants are like the existence of this landscape, which is always resilient but still charming.
On Cong Do Island, at the foot of Thien Canh Son Cave, there is a small sandy beach where tourists can experience water-related activities. Coming to Thien Canh Son Cave, not only can you find your soul with the beauty of nature but you can also be immersed in the clear and cool water of the sea. The gentle waves of the beach will refresh your soul and clean all the tiredness after a long journey.
Besides swimming, you can hire a kayak or a dinghy to explore the area of Cong Do Island yourself. With a wide and diverse system of plants and animals, the area of Cong Do is a nextstop for all nature-lovers. There you can see colorful fish under your boat, mischievous monkeys on the mountain cliffs and colorful orchids blooming on the rocky mountains. That is a true picture of life on an offshore island which is almost isolated from the mainland.
V. How to Get to Thien Canh Son Cave?
Thien Canh Son Cave is about 25 kilometers from Bai Chay Ward of Halong City. To get to this cave, you need to go on tour No.04 visiting Halong Bay. The tour departs from Tuan Chau Wharf and takes you to well-known destinations of Halong Bay, including Vung Vieng Fishing Village and Hang Thay. However, this tour is an overnight one, so you need to consider and arrange your time appropriately before starting your trip.
Moreover, if you do not have any experience in arranging a tour to Halong Bay, you can go on a tour of travel agencies, which will help you to prepare all the necessary things before going on a cruise to Halong Bay. All you need to do is to take up your luggage and enjoy your trip to Thien Canh Son Cave.
If you have more time for your vacation, you should consider an overnight trip in Halong Bay, which will allow you to explore more interesting things of Halong Bay when the night falls.
VI. Extra Tips
- The best time to go on a cruise in Halong Bay is spring and early summer, which lasts from February to June. The weather in Halong Bay at this time is nice enough for you to take part in outdoor activities.
- The tourism season in Halong Bay might be very crowded, so you need to book your tour and hotel in advance.
- Remember to prepare all your necessary belongings, including swimsuit, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses to go to the beach.
- If you hire a kayak to row yourself, you need to follow the safety instructions and wear a life-jacket to ensure your safety.
- Don’t start your journey on a rainy day. The path leading to Thien Canh Son Cave in wet weather conditions can be extremely slippery, so you had better visit this cave on a nice day.
- Remember to protect the environment in the area of Thien Canh Son Cave. This area is a natural reserve, so you need to join hands to preserve the living environment of wild species in Cong Do Island.
It is such a pity if you come to Halong Bay without visiting Thien Canh Son Cave. This cave is a present from the mother of nature giving to Bai Tu Long Bay. Known as the opera house of the sea, Thien Canh Son Cave is the perfect combination of stalagmites, stalactites and sparkling lights. Should you have a chance to visit Halong Bay, don’t miss a visit to this fairy land.