Another day in Paradise

It’s been making waves on the net, ever since National Geographic published an article on the Son Doong caves, which are still being explored by experts. While explorers we’re not, Souvik figured out there were other caves that were open to regular tourists. My grandfather visiting us this week was also keen on the caves, and that was our latest weekend destination in Vietnam.

The caves are part of the Phuong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. The big one is called Paradise Caves (or Thien Duong), with an easy 520 steps climb to the mouth of the cave then 250 odd steps inside. While trudging up, the guide told us there were some more interesting ones, mainly the Phuong Nha cave which could be explored in a boat, and we readily signed up for that too.

Once inside, we were awestruck at the fantastic landscape that nature had created over thousands of years. Stalactites and stalagmites in various formations, illuminated by (man-made) lights to give a feeling of wonder, not eerie in the least. We let our imagination run wild; the roof of the cave looked like the Duomo of Milan inverted, some sections were lit up like karaoke clubs, while others looked like Meenakshi temple gopurams! These are a few of my favourites:

Surface of the moon

 

 

Baby stalagmites

Look carefully for the pool of very still water

All the world's a stage

The bold . . .

. . . & the beautiful

Is it a bird? Is it . . .

Sculpture by nature

Jellyfish

Very Angkor

Work in progress

If these weren’t enough, we set out the next morning to the Phuong Nha caves. The boatride was brrrrr cold, some rain and wind, but inside the cave it was cosy and warm. In fact, one of the cave looked like the center of the earth (some natural, some light effects)!

Mirror

Journey to the center of the earth

Where's the party tonight?

After the exploration of the caves, we had to rush to the airport to catch the flight back, and found that the windy weather was preventing any flights from landing. So there were no aircraft until the weather cleared up after 3 hours, and we finally made it back to Hanoi much later than we had expected. Totally fun trip!

 

Grand Grander Grandest

 

 

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