With its karst topography and poetic peaks, the northwestern province of Bắc Kạn offers travelers majestic landscapes and exciting discoveries. One of them is Hua Mạ Cave in Quảng Khê Commune, a hidden gem of impressive stalactites and mysterious legends.
Hua Mạ Cave is located within the Ba Bể National Park, about 80 kilometres from Bắc Kạn City. Soon after leaving the city, you will find yourself surrounded by a peaceful scenery unfolding in front of our eyes. From afar you can see the mountains playing hide-and-seek with the dawn fog. The first rays of sun shining on the reeds blowing in the wind created a perfect painting, dotted with smiling local farmers, their cattles and market stalls along the road.
Passing by a village of a local ethnic minority, you will eventually reached the foot of the mountain where Hua Mạ Cave lies. The cave "hangs" in Lèo Pèn Mountain, more than 300 metres above sea level. There is a convenient staircase leading up and the walk takes about 15 minutes.
As soon as you will reach the entrance gate of the cave, and step inside, you will go from surprise to surprise. The deeper you go, the more it offers. The cave turns out to be much bigger than it appears, more than 300 metres long and nearly 60 metres deep. There are curving limestones looking like terraced rice fields and 10-metre-high stone pillars resembling those found in ancient temples and pagodas. Stalactites and stalagmites of various sizes and shapes adorn the cave.
It is cool and a bit humid inside, which is why tourists enjoy a break from the heat during summertime. It is so quiet inside that you can hear your own footstep echoing in the cave. But the silence also adds a part of mystery related to a local legend. Hua Ma Cave is said to have been inhabited by the ghosts of soldiers until a ritual was performed to quiet their howls. You can read the legend more in details here
In 2005, a group of international archaeologists examining the cave found some porcelain items from the Lê and Mạc dynasty dated from the 16th and 17th centuries. The collection included broken white-glazed plates and bowls with blue patterns. These items may have been produced in ancient ceramics kilns in Hải Dương Province and belonged to a group of people who inhabited the cave.
Hua Ma cave opened to tourists only in 2007, leaving enough room for many more discoveries...
Entrance fee: 25.000 VND/person