Nguom Ngao, an astonishing cave with stalactites of various shapes, is the most famous limestone grotto in the northern mountain province of Cao Bang thanks to its uniqueness and size. Visiting the cave, you will be captivated by its wild beauty.
Nguom Ngao is a really amazing cave, huge and attractive with various shaped stalactites. Some stalactites can create echo also. In comparing this cave with Thien Cung Cave in Ha Long Bay, it is certain that you truly think Nguom Ngao is more beautiful.
Nguom Ngao means “tiger’s cave” in the language of the local Tay ethnic minority. It is said that a long time ago, many fierce tigers sheltered in the cave and would enter the nearby village to hunt for livestock and even humans.
The main entrance to this cave is some 2km from Ban Gioc Waterfalls, just off the road to Cao Bang. Wonderful beauty of Nguom Ngao spreads the cavern. A British study in 1995 found the grotto to be 2,144 meters long, reaching heights of up to 60 m, with three main entrances namely Nguom Ngao, Nguom Lom and Ban Thuon.
At its main entrance, you can feel the fresh, cool air from the natural mist inside. Nature has endowed the cave with stone formations that look like human beings, trees, plants and mythical animals.
The cave was formed due to weathered process of limestone mountains by wind and water over a long time. Stepping in the cavern, you seem to see a miraculous world. From high stone cliffs, hanging wonderful sparkling seven-colored stalactites. Along the way are stalactites of all shapes that look like boats, cactus, forests, terraced rice fields – a symbol of mountainous region of Vietnam and poles and valleys that are said to create a link between the earth and the heaven and a loving tie between men and women.
The nature is busy with its work over a long time to create attractive stone statues of which some look like human bodies, some look like forest trees, animals of fairy tales, or a fairy combing her hair, or a good divine, or a huge lotus bulb. Stalactites seem to grow from the soil, or hang down, vertical or horizontal with small and big figures piled and fixed in a hustle indulging visitors. The most impressive stalactites are those that form an upside-down lotus chandelier, which is nestled a little below the path, and the corners with figures featuring fairies with flowing long hair.
It takes about one hour to stroll around inside Nguom Ngao. Local people discovered Nguom Ngao in 1921, but the cave was not officially opened to tourists until 2006 when paths were built to lead visitors to many corners of the cave. Mains electricity is due to be installed, but it’s probably sensible to take a torch.
The cave is enormous (about 3km long) and one branch reaches almost all the way to the waterfalls, where there is a ‘secret’ entrance. Normally a guided tour will take about an hour and will only go about 400m into the cave; ask if you want to see more. The price remains the same, and a full tour takes about two hours.