A cave that makes gods forget the way back to heaven

(No.6, Vol.7,Dec 2017-Jan 2018 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

The People’s Committee of Quang Binh Province has agreed to allow Oxalis Adventure Tours to organize tours (at most 3 per week) to the ‘Cave of Fairies’. No tour is allowed from mid September to the end of November, which is the rainy season when the cave may be flooded. Guests must be 16 or older, have good health and basic trekking skills. One-day tours take 2-12 persons, cost VND2,000,000 ($100)/person and consist of 8km trekking in forest trails and caves. Two-day, one-night tours take 2-10 persons, cost VND6,500,000 ($295)/person and consist of 13.5km trekking in forest trails and caves.

If you are planning on a trip to Quang Binh Province, a land of splendid caves, do not miss the ‘Cave of Fairies’, Cao Quang Commune, Tuyen Hoa District.
The cave, about 70km northwest of PhongNha Cave, was discovered by members of the British Royal Caving Association in 1994. But it became a tourist destination only in 2016 as soon as Mr Howard Limbert from the British Royal Caving Association told the press the ‘Cave of Fairies’ is the most beautiful among the 57 caves of Quang Binh Province discovered in a weeks-long expedition in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park and the surrounding areas.
Locals have given it the rather ornate name of the ‘Cave of Fairies’, due to a legend which says that since the beginning of time, fairies have come here to contemplate the beauty of the stalactites and forget the way home. Today, it is considered a place to conduct spiritual rituals to pray for rain and peaceful life.
The ‘Cave of Fairies’ has two branches including ‘Cave of Fairies 1’ and ‘Cave of Fairies 2’. The area between of them is a pristine forest with age-old trees. The two caves are the last two of Tu Lan cave system. Both of them are dry during the dry season and have creeks inside during the rainy season. Plants grow lush at the well-lit main entrance area. Wild trees growing among mythical-looking stalagmites and stone scales make it an absolutely surreal world.
The 3km long, nearly 50m wide magnificent cave with 70 - 100m high vault looks like a royal palace. Its walls and ceiling are majestically decorated with black and white limestone stalactites.
Mysterious stalagmites crowd the cave floor, looking like the fairies that came here a long time ago and have forgotten the way home back to heaven.
Mr Chau A, the owner and General Director of Oxalis Adventure Tours, said: ‘The entrance to ‘Cave of Fairies 2’ is quite small (3 meters high, 1.5 meters wide), so there is often strong and rather cold wind blowing through. Though the outside temperature may be 380C, people can barely stand for 10 minutes at the entrance due to the strong and cold gusts of wind. When visiting Tu Lan Caves travelers must swim through water. At the ‘Cave of Fairies’, however, they can walk through streams. If they choose to, swimming in the lake is possible.’

Text by Nguyen Hoa; photos by Thanh Vuong
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