Hidden deep within the mesmerizing landscapes of Ba Be National Park in Bac Kan Province, Vietnam, Hua Ma Cave lies a natural wonder that beckons adventurous souls seeking both beauty and intrigue. It is a captivating destination that combines stunning geological formations with rich folklore. Let Indochina Voyages take you on a journey to uncover the secrets of this mystical underground world.
An Overview of Hua Ma Cave
Before delving into the magnificent journey to the Cave, let’s have a glimpse of this vibrant wonder of Ba Be:
- Hua Ma Cave is nestled amidst the breathtaking Co Don Mountain in Quang Khe Commune, situated approximately 10 kilometers south of Ba Be Lake, within the enchanting Ba Be National Park.
- Since 2007, Hua Ma Cave has been open to tourists, and efforts have been made to develop the cave for tourism while preserving its natural landscape
- It is located halfway up the mountain, which is situated at an elevation of 350 meters above sea level and has a length of over 700 meters.
- The cave’s ceiling reaches heights of 40 to 50 meters, and it has an entrance on the eastern side and an exit to the south.
- Besides having the name Hua Ma Cave, it is also known as the Ghost Cave or Horse’s Head Cave.
So why is it called “Hua Ma” Cave? The name derives from a captivating legend. According to local folklore, the cave was once believed to be haunted by evil spirits, emitting eerie sounds that deterred people from venturing near.
A general from the royal court was passing through this area on a hunting expedition. When they reached the banks of the Leng River, it was getting dark. The group planned to cross the river and rest in the nearby village, but strangely, every time they approached the water, the horses turned back, neighing as if signaling something abnormal.
At the same time, cries and mournful wails emanated from the nearby Lèo Pèn Cave. Perceiving the unusual circumstances, the officials called upon the villagers to inquire about the situation. They discovered that the cries belonged to the spirits of soldiers who had fought alongside the royal court against invaders. They had taken refuge in the cave, and as the enemies failed to breach the cave’s entrance, the trapped spirits couldn’t find solace.
Understanding the situation, the officials immediately set up camp by the banks of the Leng River. They sacrificed horses, using the horse heads for a ceremonial offering to the heavens and earth. Strangely enough, as soon as the ceremony concluded, the cries of the spirits within the cave gradually ceased and eventually vanished altogether. Therefore, the general freed the trapped souls, leading to the cave being named Hua Ma, meaning “Horse’s Head Cave,” as a tribute to this mysterious tale.
Nowadays, before getting inside the cave, you’ll see the altar right in front of the cave entrance. It is like a tribute and respect to the souls in the cave
What to visit in Hua Ma Cave?
- Visit time (both go and return): 1 hour
- Route length (both round trip and return): Around 2km (Including more than 200 steps to reach the entrance cave and more than 200 steps into the cave for visiting inside)
Embarking on a journey to Hua Ma Cave is an adventure that begins with a climb. Located halfway up the mountain, reaching the cave’s entrance requires ascending over 200 steps. As you ascend, anticipation builds, and the surrounding scenery unfolds in all its natural splendor. You’ll be impressed with the charming Ba Be when seeing from the high panoramic.
Upon reaching the gate, a refreshing coolness washes over you as you step into the cave’s embrace. The temperature inside is noticeably lower than the outside, offering respite from the heat of the day. The air carries a sense of mystery as if whispering tales of ancient secrets waiting to be discovered.
Descending further into the depths of Hua Ma Cave, you navigate a descent of over 200 steps. Each step deepens the sense of immersion, drawing you closer to the heart of this captivating underground world. The play of light and shadow creates a mesmerizing dance, casting ethereal shapes upon the cave walls. Admire the intricate details of the stone columns, standing tall at heights of 10 to 15 meters that have formed over millions of years.
The Indochina Voyages Team visited this cave in September 2023. Some of our members said that they were impressed by the marvelous of the cave and Hua Ma Cave is even more vibrant and beautiful than Paradise Cave in Phong Nha Ke Bang. The cave’s natural artistry will transport you to a world of wonder, where imagination and reality intertwine.
How can I reach it?
The best way to reach Hua Ma Cave is to make your way to Ba Be National Park in Bac Kan Province by car. If based in Hanoi, it will take around 4.5 to 5 hours to travel to Ba Be by road.
From there, travel approximately 10 kilometers south to Quang Khe Commune. Hua Ma Cave is located near the Leng River, at the foot of Co Don Mountain. You can hire a local guide or join a guided tour from Ba Be Lake to ensure a smooth journey.
We highly recommend you join a trekking tour or rent a motorbike or bicycle from your homestay. Because 10km on the way to get to the cave is very beautiful and tranquil. Perfect for you to immerse in the wonderful landscape of mountains and peaceful atmosphere of the countryside.
Or else, another high recommendation is joining a Vietnam Tour and then choosing Ba Be – Bac Kan as one of your destinations. Then Hua Ma Cave will be one of the most impressive attractions when visit Ba Be National Park. Depending on your start, the time to get to Bac Kan is different. You can ask our Indochina Voyages Travel Experts for more details and information.
For your shopping list:
- To reach the cave, you have to in BaBe National Park. When reach the National Park, you’ll have to pay for entry fee of about ~US $3/person (VND 70,000/person) (Updated 2023)
- Cave entrance ticket: ~US $1,9/person (VND 45,000/person) (Updated 2023)
- The cave doesn’t have a signal for mobile phones but has Wi-Fi inside.
- Open time: 08:00 – 17:30
To prepare for the best journey to Hua Ma Cave, here are our advice for you:
- Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy footwear suitable for cave exploration.
- Respect the natural environment and follow any guidelines or restrictions provided by park authorities.
- Comply with the cave’s regulations when visiting
- Carry drinking water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized during your visit.
- Don’t forget your camera! Capture the breathtaking beauty of Hua Ma Cave and create lasting memories of your adventure.
Hope this blog will be helpful for you in for preparing the journey to Hua Ma Cave. Begin your exploration with Indochina Voyages and let the wonders of Hua Ma Cave captivate your senses!
From Indochina Voyages Team