Thiên Đường Cave – Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park

After the Phong Nha Caves, I thought nothing could beat it…… wrong!  Not far away from the Phong Nha Cave, still in the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, is the Thiên Đường Cave.  The name is translated as “Heavenly Cave” or Paradise Cave.  Hmmmm, would St Peter be at the gate?

MP060290 lores Thiên Đường Cave   Phong Nha Kẻ Bàng National Park Image

THe beginning of Paradise

Thiên Đường is also declared a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, and it is only 60 km northwest of Đồng Hới city (and similiar distance to the Convent in which I am a guest.  The nuns also run a hotel in the town of Phuong Nha where we set up base!).

We had to pick one of the hottest days of the year to climb to the main entrance of the cave!!!.  Luckily, from the carpark to the entrance, there’s  a ‘buggy service’ (at a price of course – but like everything else, our NZ dollars make us millionares here!).   In the blistering heat, the hundreds of steps to get to the entrance required litres of water….. Interestingly, and to our surprise, the entrance felt like an air-conditioned surrounding.  Cool air comes out from the underground network of caves – yes, it is one giant of a cave consisting of a network of underground caves!

Before braving the cave, we sat down for an ice cream in a hut built around the entrance.  This place seems to capture the cool air gushing out from the cave and it is a good resting point.

Wow! Wow! Wow!  This most certainly is one of the wonders of the world.  Walkways and staircases have been built for tourist and lamps lit the path.  It is so huge and deep that what it comes to photography, the men are sorted from the boys so to speak.  Selfies with Phones would be a struggle.  I wished I had my tripod, but my image stabilizer certainly gave me an advantage.  The photos you see have been enhanced from RAW files.  I am glad I carried the 7mm wide lens with me.  Most shots have to include something that do not belong to this place (mainly humans!) to give a relatively idea of size.

There is more than 1 km of walking to be done…. and most photos cannot capture the enormity of the caverns that have been carved out by water for millions of years.  The space is riddled with stalactites and stalagmites.  With some imagination, can you start identifying with the names given to them – you would need a Vietnamese translator of course.

I fell almost guilty being here, as I think the presence of tourist will certainly ruin this magnificent place….. anyone interested should come ASAP as I think time and the increase of tourism will ruin it.