There are many beautiful caves to explore throughout Halong Bay, but perhaps the most interesting and legend-filled is the unique winding pathway through the “Heavenly Palace,” Thien Cung Cave. Located just 4km from the harbor, north of Dau Go Island, and a popular stop for the best cruises, Thien Cung offers a special insight into the magical story-telling past of Vietnamese culture.
Thien Cung Cave
Thien Cung has an interesting history. It was the ancient residence of the Dragon King and his beautiful bride, May. According to legend, they had a spectacular wedding at the heart of the cave, attended by gods, genies, fairies and dragons. Images of these guests are still found among the stalactites and stalagmites that fill the cavernous halls. May and the Dragon King raised 100 children, and all the while they called the cave home. During this time, the Dragon King would fly out among the islands in the bay, helping local fishermen and farmers with their work and defending them from invaders. When their 100 children were grown, May took half to explore new areas of Vietnam, forging pathways and creating new villages. The Dragon King and the other half of the children stayed in Halong Bay and continued to be its guardians and rulers.
Thien Cung Cave - one of the most beautiful grottoes in Ha Long Bay
With the passage of time, the location of the Dragon King’s Heavenly Palace was forgotten. The jungle grew over the cave entrance, and it was only remembered through often-retold stories. Then in 1993, fishermen chanced upon the cave as they sought shelter from a bad storm that had blown into the bay. They were amazed to discover the ancient caverns of myth.