Thien Cung Cave: A Guide To The "Heaven Palace" Cave
Thien Cung cave marks a place of myth, attracting nature lovers for its unique landscape and well-preserved cultural and historical values. Below are some interesting facts and information about this mysterious attraction that is worth your exploration!
Despite being explored a long time ago, its entrance had been overgrown by the jungle, leading locals to forget its exact location. Nonetheless, tales of the cave persisted through oral traditions passed down through generations.
Fortunately, in 1993, desperate fishermen who had been caught in a storm stumbled upon the cave while seeking shelter. Since then, it has become a favorite destination for visitors.
Access to the cave involves a winding pathway surrounded by dense jungle. Its interior is dry and houses a complex inner structure with high ceilings.
Location and the origin of the name
It is located on Dau Go island, in the southwest of Halong Bay, around 4 kilometers south of the tourist harbor. This is among the most stunning caves in the bay’s area, covering a vast area of nearly 10,000 square meters.
The name Thien Cung is likened to its majestic beauty like a paradise beneath the ground. It consists of many chambers and compartments aborded with countless stalactites and stalagmites in peculiar and unique shapes. There is also an opening that connects to the sky. When the sun shines through this opening, the interior becomes sparkling and surreal.
Visitors wandering around the cave today will find many rock formations that are said to represent the mythical guests that attended the Dragon King’s wedding. Looking out from the mouth of the cave over the whole of Halong Bay gives visitors a truly amazing view of the islands and karsts and while the walk up to the cave is not an easy journey, it’s certainly a worthwhile one.
The cave legend
Back then, this was the site of a seven-day and seven-night wedding ceremony between the Dragon King and a beautiful, ordinary girl, May. To celebrate the party, dragons soared, elephants danced, and the Southern Deity and the Northern Deity, both with graying hair, attended the lively celebration, adding to its excitement.
Today, coming there, you still feel as if you are witnessing remnants of this lively wedding ceremony through the stalactite formations. Especially when gazing at the eastern wall, you can envision a colossal and magnificent mural portraying ancient fairy tale characters with smooth and delicate lines.
The cave exploration
To reach the cave, you must walk through a path along the steep cliffs covered densely by foliage. The scenery is very beautiful and airy. By passing a narrow entrance, you’ll enter a spacious chamber.
The first chamber
You’ll be impressed by the immensely grand and majestic mural depicting legendary characters on the eastern wall. On the northern side, there are depictions of fairies dancing and singing in celebration of the Dragon King's wedding. In the ceiling, there are formations of stalactites descending gracefully, resembling unique and intricate crystal chandeliers.
The second chamber (the cave center)
This is the most impressive area with numerous peculiar shapes resembling birds, and fish, scenes of the Dragon King's wedding, natural flowers and leaves, and more. Especially, you may also hear sounds like the wind drumming amidst the rocks or even the vibrant sounds of this celebration. Do not miss a chance to take fantastic photos there.
The third chamber
Here you can witness a stunning painting with intermingling lights in white, green, and red reflected upon the stalactite blocks and onto three extremely sparkling ponds. According to legend, this is also where May bathed her 100 children.
How to visit the cave?
Book the sightseeing route No. 1
You need to book the sightseeing route No.1 which visits Thien Cung cave, Dau Go cave, Cho Da islet, Ba Hang cave, Dinh Huong islet, and Fighting Cocks islet. The ticket price is VND 290.000/pax.
Book a day cruise
Alternatively, you can opt for Halong Sen day cruise departing from Hanoi to Halong Bay to visit Thien Cung cave, Ba Hang fishing village, Hoa Cuong area and enjoy interesting activities like cooking class and kayaking. Another option is the Bhaya day cruise to discover the cave’s greatness and immerse in the crystal clear water of the island.
Tips to travel
- You should book sightseeing route 1 or purchase a tour package instead of renting a private boat just to visit the cave solely due to the high price. Not many cruises have tours to this spot, so you are advised to book Bhaya day cruise or Halong Sen day cruise.
- You should wear comfortable clothing, sports shoes and carry drinking water because the journey is quite demanding.
- You should take more photos in the central area with numerous colored lamps and sufficient lighting because the light in other parts is somewhat dim.