Thien Cung Cave

Halong, Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam
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Overview

Halong Bay, which includes rocky islands and caves, is renowned for its breathtaking beauty. The most notable is Thien Cung Cave, which is considered the "paradise on Earth" and features stunning views akin to that found in the palace of the gods.

Location - History

Located in the southwest of Halong Bay, Thien Cung Cave is located in the North of Dau Go Island, near Dau Go Cave. The cave is 4 kilometers south of the cruise ship port and 25 meters above sea level. With an area of ​​nearly 10,000 meters square, Thien Cung is one of the most stunning caves in Halong Bay. The structure consists of many levels and chambers with countless stalactites and stalagmites that feature unique shapes.

The cave, which dates back to the late Pleistocene, or roughly 2 million years ago, was discovered in 1993. It officially started welcoming visitors on May 1, 1998, after which Halong Bay experienced a surge in tourism. This is the first cave in Halong to have been extensively restored by humans.

The cave is called Thien Cung because it contains a layer of phosphorescent that generates fanciful light similar to heaven. The interior of the cave also has a door that leads to the sky; when the sun shines through it, the surroundings appear incredibly magnificent and enchanting.

Thien Cung legend

According to legend, Thien Cung cave was once the home of the Dragon family. In a year severely hit by drought, a young couple made it their mission to find the Dragon King to ask for good weather. The Dragon King's son fell in love with the family's daughter. And a lavish wedding was held in this very cave. Dragons flew through the stalactite cloud forest, while lions danced and sang beautiful melodies, and a flock of eagles spread out their enormous wings to celebrate the wedding. The stalactite sculptures in Thien Cung Cave seem to recreate this scene.

What to see in Thien Cung Cave

The way up to the cave is relatively challenging. Visitors will need to pass the cliffs and nearby forest trees to reach the cave entrance and get ready for their adventure. Thien Cung Cave comprises three different chambers as follows:

  • The first chamber

    • Visitors can see a large painting of fairy characters with soft, delicate lines in the first chamber of the cave, which faces East. 
    • Fairies gracefully dancing to celebrate the Dragon King's wedding can be seen on the cave's north wall. A network of stalactites on the dome-shaped ceiling hangs down like a crystal chandelier.
  • The second chamber

    • This is considered to be the most beautiful part of the cave. 
    • There are four enormous pillars with gorgeous carvings from the bottom to the top. People’s daily activities, flowers, birds, and more are carved into these pillars. The stalactites hang down from the cave's arch like a magnificent curtain. The fairies can be seen dancing on the cliff in the second chamber as they celebrate the Dragon King's wedding. 
    • Visitors to the cave may particularly hear the sound of the wind flowing between the rocks, which is similar to the pounding drums used in the ritual. 
  • The third chamber

Visitors will feel as though they have just stepped into a fantasy world as they approach the cave's last chamber. Dim light beams that reflect the exquisite gems arise in dynamic space. In addition, this location features crystal-clear ponds with running water all year long. 

How to reach Thien Cung Cave

Visitors must purchase tickets for Route No.1, which includes Thien Cung Cave, Dau Go Cave, Dog Rock Island, Ba Hang Cave, Dinh Huong Island, and Trong Mai Island, and boat tickets from Tuan Chau pier.

  • Ticket price for Route No.1: VND 290.000/pax (USD 12,1)
  • Boat ticket from Tuan Chau pier: VND 150.000/pax (USD 6,25)
  • Total: VND 440.000 (USD 18,3). This price does not include any meals. If visitors would like to have a meal onboard, they would need to pay an additional VND 150.000 (USD 6,25) 

Besides, when entering Tuan Chau port, visitors will have to buy an entrance ticket of VND 40,000/pax (USD 1.7).

Attractions near Thien Cung Cave

On Route No.1, travelers can drop by neighboring tourist attractions while traveling to the Thien Cung cave. These attractions include:

Dau Go Cave

This cave lies next to Thien Cung cave and is associated with the battle against the Mongol invasions of General Tran Hung Dao.

Cho Da Islet

It takes tourists around 10 minutes to get to Cho Da Islet after leaving Thien Cung. The islet, which is around 8 meters high, resembles a huge stone dog guardian.

Ba Hang Cave

A group of caverns and fishing villages with the same name as Ba Hang are together referred to as Ba Hang Cave. There are three underground caverns that are linked together, thus the name Ba Hang. Boats can get to the inner beach when the water level rises.

Dinh Huong Islet

In the midst of the ocean lies a stone slab called Dinh Huong that resembles a massive incense burner. This is a holy picture of Halong, and it is the image that was chosen to be put on the VND 200,000 banknote. The incense burner rises tall as if it were meant to offer a sacrifice to heaven, expressing the spirit of being thankful of the Vietnamese people.

Trong Mai Islet

After passing through Dinh Huong islet, travelers will be able to see Trong Mai Islet, which has a distinctive appearance of two chickens (one rooster and one hen) facing each other on the water's surface.

Weather & when to go

Halong Bay features a tropical climate with both tropical and subtropical deciduous forests and two distinct seasons: a hot, humid summer and a dry, chilly winter. The annual precipitation varies from 2,000 to 2,200 mm, and temperatures can range from 15 to 25°C.

  • The most beautiful time of the year lasts from April to June. The sky is clear, and the temperature is between 20 and 22°C, with some sporadic light rain.
    • This is a particularly excellent season to visit Thien Cung Cave, especially in April, since the weather is lovely, the sky is clear, and there is neither rain nor fog, giving you a breathtaking view of the bay's enchanted beauty. Even if the water temperature in early April remains relatively low, between 19 and 26°C, it is still safe to swim in the late afternoon when there is still sunshine. The temperature climbs to 30-34°C towards the end of June.
    • When planning a vacation to Halong Bay during this period of the year, you should purchase your tickets well in advance as April is the peak season for international tourists.
  • The period from July to September is the peak tourism season in Thien Cung Cave and Halong Bay.
    • Temperatures are at their peak of the year during this period, hovering at approximately 30°C with high humidity. As a result, many local visitors prefer to escape the heat during this period by spending time with their families on the beach, especially on the seas of Halong Bay. 
    • With students being on summer vacation, this is an excellent opportunity for an entire family to spend time together. As a habit, Vietnamese people like to travel in groups, therefore the trip plan in July and August is the ideal choice for most individuals in the family.
    • The disadvantage of visiting Halong during this period is the increased cost of all services, making it difficult to travel on a budget. Furthermore, because summer is also the wettest season, the possibility of storms is extremely high, which may negatively affect your vacation.
  • The period from October to December is a low season for domestic travelers due to colder water temperatures.
    • Because the weather in the entire country is relatively favorable during this period, Vietnamese people’s demand for beach tourism falls. November and December, with an average temperature of roughly 19°C across the nation, are the least busy months of the year.
    • This is an excellent chance for those who wish to experience a calm Halong Bay away from the crowds. However, this period welcomes a larger number of visitors from abroad than the previous months.
  • From January to March, the weather becomes chilly, foggy and rainy.
    • It is not a good time to visit Thien Cung cave or the Northern part of Vietnam in general. The weather gets chilly and rainy, making swimming impossible. Rain occurs frequently; especially in March, as Halong Bay is blanketed with a thick layer of fog most of the time.

Food and Accommodation

Accommodation choices around Thien Cung cave are various, including budget hotels and hostels to luxury resorts and cruises. Prices range from a few hundred thousand to several million dongs per night.

Bai Chay bridge divides Halong city into two sections: Bai Chay and Hon Gai. There are several tourist places, hotels, and restaurants on Bai Chay side, whereas Hon Gai side is mostly residential.

  • If you prefer to stay in a pleasant homestay at a lower cost, The Bay, Halong Ginger, Orestay, and Deja Vu House are some of the good options.
  • Better hotels such as FLC Grand Hotel on Van Nghe Hill, Wyndham Legend Halong, Novotel, Saigon Halong, Muong Thanh, and Royal Lotus can fit the budget of those willing to pay approximately VND 2,000,000 (USD 83.3) per night.
  • Vinpearl Resort and Spa and Premier Village Halong Bay Resort are high-quality 5-star resorts.
  • You may want to remain aboard a boat to enjoy the calm space, fresh air, and various basic service lines while traveling between the huge seas of the enclosed bay, with few waves and wind. Cruise lines such as Heritage Cruises, Paradise Cruises, and Stellar of the Seas are some ideal options.

The area around Thien Cung cave is well-known for its excellent seafood. To eat seafood, visit Cai Dam market, Vuon Dao area or enjoy cuisine in excursions on the bay, with meals starting at VND 200,000 (USD 8.3) per person. Hong Hanh, Phuong Nam, Cua Vang, Phuong Thuy, and Yen O near Cai Dam are recommended eateries in the Bai Chay region. There are also many good restaurants and eateries in the Hon Gai neighborhood.

Local tips

  • Keep the ticket with you since it will be checked by staff at each destination on the route. You will have to re-purchase the ticket if you lose it.
  • When getting to Dau Go Island, you will have to travel down a pretty steep route to reach Thien Cung Cave. As a result, when traveling, it is better to dress comfortably, wear sports shoes, and bring water with you.
  • The two sides of the road leading to the cave are relatively cool since they are shaded by trees, but you should still wear a light jacket or long-sleeved t-shirt to protect yourself from insects.
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Cruise trips that visit Thien Cung Cave

Emeraude Min Cruise 97

Emeraude Min Cruise

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FROM $80
Emeraude Premium Private Charter 236

Emeraude Premium Private Charter

Destinations: Halong Bay Thien Cung Cave Fighting Cocks Islet
FROM $240

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