Area: 8,894 sq km
Population: 772,000
Provicial capital: Dong Hoi

The world’s longest underground river winds through Vietnam’s Phong Nha cave system, the name of which translates as ” The wind’s fang”. Entering this cave is like venturing into the mouth of a giant beast, all the more mysterious since the cave rings with strange noise. Locals say it is music from a banquet hosted by the mountain God, but the acoustic tricks are actually echoes, which bounce off the limestone cliffs of the cave.      Shaped like a tube with a roof curved like the hull of a boat, this cave has acoustics properties similar to those of the fingal cave in Scotland.
Phong Nha Caves, also called Troc Caves, lie in the limestone cliffs of Ke Bang in Quang Ninh province, 50 km northwest of Dong Hoi. Like most of the caves in this area, the Phong Nha Caves were shaped by the Chai River.
The farther one gets inside the Phong Nha Caves, the more illusory the stalactites and stalagmites look as they glitter when bright light is shone on them.
Most importantly, all the primitive stone caves were preserved in their original form. Thus, visitors almost feel like they are going on a trip to the center of the earth.
The Son River flows into the mouth of the cave and continues underground, where it is known as the Nam Aki River. It emerges 20 km to the south near Pu-Pha-Dam Mountain.
The main cave system contains 14 chambers, linked by an underwater river that runs for 1.5km. Secondary corridors branch off in all directions. The Outer Cave and some of the Inner Caves have roofs that tower between 25 and 40 meters above the water level. From the 14th chamber there may be other corridors leading to similarly large chambers, but this area is more dangerous due to ongoing erosion of the limestone of the cavern. Some 800 meters into the cave we reach the Shallow Cave, where we step out of the boat to explore a fantastic landscape of sand and rock. Stalactites and stalagmites jut out like strange trees, exciting our imaginations.
Caves have always held a primitive fascination for people, as if they are meeting places for the real and the imagined. The word “magical” is used all too often but in the case of the Phong Nha caves it is fitting. A visit through these caves will present you with a rare opportunity in this modern age: the chance to explore nature’s magic and reconnect with the earth.

Dong Hoi town is 94km from Dong Ha, 166km from Hue, 197km from Vinh and 489km from Hanoi. 
– Train : Regular connections with Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. 
– Road: Buses, travelling up National Highway 1, link Saigon and Hanoi.

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