Caves and grottos
Nhi Thanh is one of the most beautiful grottoes in Lang Son Province. It houses the Tam Giao pagoda - Pagoda of Triple Regions (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism), which was built in 1779. The grotto was closely related to the celebrity Ngo Thi Si. On the cliffs at the entrance are 20 inscriptions that are precious historical and literary documents, including autographs of famous scholars The statue of scholar Ngo Thi Sy on the cliff engraved in 1779 is a precious work of art. when he was the chief of province between 1777 and 1780. The grotto has numerous stalactites and stalagmites in different shapes.
Formed approximately 250 million years ago, give or take a few million years, Phong Nha Cave is the largest and most beautiful cave in Vietnam and is one of the world's two largest limestone regions, and it has been recognised as a world natural heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) at its 27th general assembly session being held in Paris from June 30-July 5, 2003. At the session, delegates from over 160 member countries of UNESCO World Heritage Convention agreed to include Phong Nha - Ke Bang Park and 30 others worldwide to the list of world heritage sites. Phong Nha - Ke Bang Park is now the fifth UNESCO recognised site in Vietnam after Halong Bay, Hue Imperial City, Hoi An Ancient Town and My Son Cham Towers.
Situated in the centre of the UNESCO-declared World Heritage area, the Sửng Sôt or Surprise Grotto is on Bồ Hòn Island, and is one of the finest and widest grottoes of Hạ Long Bay.Ascending to the grotto, the way is covered by trees and foliage, and consists of great paved stone blocks.
It is situated on the south-west side of Halong bay, 4 km from the wharf outside of Ha Long City. The way to Thiên Cung is a perilous one, covered on both sides by thick forest. After entering a narrow gate, the grotto’s 130-meter-long girth opens up. Getting in we are more astonished in front of the very animated and splendid beauty which is made from stalactite. On the east wall of the grotto, there is a grandiose and imposing picture with characters of tales.
The grotto is on Driftwood Island. Seen from afar, the entrance to the grotto appears to be blue, and has a shape similar to that of a jellyfish. After 90 steps up the island, the entrance is reached. The ceiling of the grotto is about 25 m. Hundreds of stalactites falling down from the roof of the grotto look like a waterfall.
Two kilometers south-west of Ti Tốp Beach is the Mê Cung Grotto or Bewitching Grotto. It formed on Lom Bò Island, and seen from afar, the entrance is like the roof of a house denting the island’s side. After a narrow crack only allowing one person through at a time, many partitions appear. These chambers are somewhat small and narrow, but very refined, and with many stalagmites and stalactites bearing beautiful forms.
Bồ Nâu Grotto is one of the beauty grottoes in Ha Long Bay. Some 2-3 km southeast of Trống Mái Islet lies Bồ Nâu Grotto or Pelican Grotto. This vaulted grotto covers 200 m2. The floor of the grotto is wide and flat, but not deep, and its wall features lots of stalactites and stalagmites. At the entrance are three stones, looking like three fairies with their heads close to one another. Two men appear to be playing chess, with the third serving as a referee.
The Trinh Nữ Grotto or Virgin Grotto is situated on the island range of Bồ Hòn in the system comprising the Sửng Sôt Grotto, Ðộng Tiên Lake and Luồn Grotto. It is 15 km south of Bãi Cháy Beach. For fishermen, the Virgin Grotto is their house, but for young lovers, it is considered as the symbol of truly love, and is the romantic place for taking oath of love.
Situated on Bồ Hòn Island, 14 km south of Bãi Cháy Beach is the Luồn Grotto. In front of the grotto is Con Rùa Islet, and the Sky Gate is on the right. Here the cliffs stretch vertically out of the pure blue and smooth water. At the water-level, an arched entrance leads to the grotto, just at the base of the island. Passing through the pretty entrance, you come across a tranquil round lake, surrounded by luxuriant trees and high dangerous stone walls. Monkeys run to and fro in groups, benjamin fig trees shade the landscape and many orchids hang their sweet-scented flowers. In the lake, many species abound: shrimp, fish, crab and cuttle-fish.