When Thiên Đường “Paradise” Cave was discovered in 2005 within Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park it took the title of longest cave in Vietnam away from the name star of the park, Phong Nha Cave. At 31km in length Paradise Cave is more than four times longer than it’s nearby sister and has much more impressive stalactite and stalagmite formation. (In other words if you only have time to explore one of the caves, explore this one!)
As you step into through foggy entrance to the cave and begin the climb down, the temperate drops from 30° – 20° C (86° – 68° F)
The sheer size of the caverns is amazing
The cave measures 31km in all but visitors are restricted to the first 1km
Lights, some of which are colored, are placed strategically to enhance the natural beauty of the stalactites and stalagmites
The cave has only been open to tourists since September of 2010
My Favorite Photo
The photo above left is really neat. Do you see the man sitting up top? I could hear one of the tour guides telling a group in Vietnamese what I assumed to be a story about this man, given his body language and hand gestures. Shame there were no English translators the day we went, despite being a sign that said so near the cave entrance.
Even though it was the weekend there were not that many people here, and almost all were Vietnamese. There were tour guides, but only Vietnamese-speaking ones.
The cave is great for practicing your photography skills
Because of the humidity in the cave all the steps and walkways are slippery so be careful while exploring
After walking the entire 1km that is open to tourists the walkway ends and you are forced to walk back to the entrance. This can also lead to a bit of a clusterfuck on the single narrow staircase in and out of the caves.
How Much Does It Cost?
|Park Entrance Fee||40,000VND ($2USD)|
|Parking Fee||5,000-15,000VND ($0.25-$0.75USD)|
|Cave Entrance Fee||120,000VND ($6USD)||Buggy Fee (optional)||100,000VND+ ($5USD+)|
Where Is Paradise Cave?
It is one of over 300 caves located within Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, 50km (31 miles) west of the beachside town of Dong Hoi, one of my favorite places in Vietnam.
Tours are easy to find however I would personally recommend making the drive out there by motorcycle at your own pace as the scenery is gorgeous!
Save & Print The Map Below!
INSIDER TIP: When coming from Dong Hoi drive past the dramatic entrance with the large Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park and keep going for another 10km or so, past three small villages, and then take that next left. This is the back entrance to the park and it is a much more gorgeous view as you cruise through the hills coming from this direction. Added benefit: most of the tourists are at the main entrance and Phong Nha Cave, leaving you with the sensation of having the park all to yourself.
It is a 1.5km walk from the ticket booth to the ramp that leads up to the cave entrance…or you can open up your wallet once more and pay for a buggy ride there. (You will however still have to walk up that 1km zigzagging ramp under your own power.)
After leaving Paradise Cave continue along the road the same direction as before and turn left at the four-way intersection. This will wrap you around the other side of the park and back to Phong Nha Cave and the main entrance. It’s a wonderful ride!
11 thoughts on “Photo Journey Through Thiên Đường “Paradise Cave” Vietnam”
Wow Derek, you’ve nailed those photos. Always hard to photograph are caves, and your pics are superb! Well done!
Thank you so much Andrew, this means a lot to me. During the first three years I traveled I didn’t take that many photos because I try to engage the locals in their daily life and anytime you pull out a camera you instantly go from being a local to being an outsider. Now however I’m finally trying to take more photos and of course improve my photography skills, which you can see an example of here. Thanks for the support, best wishes! (And keep up the good work, I’m reading your blog now 🙂
Fantastic photos! They must have been so hard to get in the poor light. The map at the end is cool.
They were incredibly tricky Zoe. I took just over 200 photos in the caves and when I was going through them all to find ones for the post, only about 40 made the cut. From there I whittled it down to the few that are in this post. However there are several other caves also within the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park which I will be covering in my next post, as well animal life in the park and motorcycling through it. Already found a better, clearer map from one of the videos that I captured and turned into a neat photo. Will probably post that one next week 🙂
Ahhh that looks like one badass cave to spelunk…absail…explore in…or whatever they call it.
Yeah, I love spelunking…always fun! However the cave I want to see most of all is the Cueva de los Cristales (Cave of the Crystals) in Mexico. That place looks amazing, seen a documentary or two on it. Unfortunately though visitors are not allowed there 🙁
Wow, this is stunning, Derek!! We are definitely adding this to our bucket list! Awesome photos!
Thanks, appreciate the vote of confidence…I’m trying to improve my photography skills 🙂
Wow Derek, these caves are a real paradise, they might just be another reason to go to Vietnam considering I haven’t been yet 🙂
I spent three full months motorcycling around Vietnam and the Phong Nha caves and park was one of my favorite places. I have some awesome motorcycle video footage too from the park that I need to edit together and get online. Gorgeous part of the country, you’ll love it!
I love the cave diving shots. Great work. That looks like so much fun! One of the best things I ever did with my GF was go cave diving like that.