Discover “Underground Royal Palace” in Quang Binh
Deserving to be “the kingdom of caves”, Quang Binh is outstanding on the curve of S-shaped road with giant and mysterious caves, and theirs wordless fairy beauty.
Coming back to Quang Binh at the end of August, I and my companion had chance to discover Palace Cave – where we visited two years ago and promised to come back a certain day – at least once in our life.
Son River runs gently around 20 Quyet Thang Road.
Departing in the early morning, our bus went along legendary Truong Son trail, the life-line trail running through Quang Binh area became red mark of country’s magnanimous and glorious periods. This was strategic logistic system which provided support to the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam; the root of two branches: East Truong Son Trail and West Truong Son Trail. A corner, Ta Le river path, Da Deo Pass, Pula Nhich mountain pass, Tra Ang pass, km20… were places which were seriously sabotaged with complete destructive purpose of the enemy, to prevent the support for Southern Vietnam, witnessing a lot of soldiers falling down forever.
Going on 20 Quyet Thang Road, I looked at green Son River going smoothly along peaceful Phong Nha villages. This road broke the only one trail, connecting West Truong Son to East Truong Son, taking victory active position in traffic – transportation field then it has name: 20 Quyet Thang Road. 123km-lengthed road was also opened and built by contribution of almost military officers, volunteer youths at the age of twenty.
West Truong Son with white–line painted, twists through Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park. Two sides are green primitive forests with charming landscape. From the area with a board “Thien Duong Cave”, the bus had to go about 6km more, and passed through two ramps to reach the ticket selling area. During long vacations, traffic jams always happen; many people have to walk 6km to go to the entrance gate.
Visitors could choose two options: buying two-way electric car carrying to the ladder of the cave, or trekking. We decided to walk 2km on the trail among primitive forests, the clear sounds of birds and various kinds of flora, and then faced with the next challenge which was trekking 524 stone ladder steps to go to the cave door. This was difficult challenge. A lot people could not climb sitting and breathing hard on stone steps. Everyone passing encouraged them: “Fighting, almost get there”.
The scenery in the cave is magnificent as a place in another world
At the rest stop in front of the cave, you can feel a cold blast of air coming from the mouth of the cave, which actually is a small gap among stones with the size fitting a person.
Walking through the entrance gate of heaven, my first feeling is impressiveness. Behind that hint door is a giant cool underworld with full of darkness, except colorful lights brightening fairy space. Lines of visitors stepped on wooden stairs with crumbling and disordering vestiges.
Going far inside, the space opened in front of our eyes, magnificently, mysteriously as an imperial palace from a strange planet in our Galaxy. The massive stalagmites are various in shape and size, some growing from underground majestically and strongly, some falling slightly covering around visitors like velvet curtain. Tourists are free to discover and imagine a heaven on the Earth.
Tourists wallow in a mysterious space.
Rocky Flora Garden Palace with stalagmite looks like Our Lady cuddling baby; Giao Tri Palace where King of Heaven discusses with trusted courtiers about national issues, surrounding by unicorn and phoenix statues…The most special place is Quang Han Palace, where stalagmites fall down like female fairy’s curtain or Quan Tien Palace with group of Amitabha Buddha. Lien Hoa Tower has special forms which are different depending on different sides of viewing or imagination. Actually, it has been created from water dropping irregularly.
Being amazed by the beauty of imperial palace, we forgot that we approached to the final place of the first 1km. All of us did not really want to leave here. The guide gave each person one torch putting on our heads, loosened the rope knotting the hint door, reminded us, then our team total 9 people including one tour guide, two German, two English, one Italian and us, two Vietnamese, moved gradually into the darkness, to explore 7km of Palace Cave.
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