Quang Binh caves get surreally real under photographic light

 Photographer Pham Huy Trung has beautifully captured the landscape masterpieces carved by nature inside the Nuoc Nut and Va caves in Quang Binh Province.

Early last month, HCMC-based Trung joined a group on a two-day tour to explore the two caves that are part of the cave system in the Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park.

The group took a car from the center of Son Trach Commune to the 28 km milestone on the Ho Chi Minh West road, then trekked through the Phong Nha - Ke Bang forest.

The first destination in the journey, Nuoc Nut Cave, impressed Trung with stalagmites dripping down from the ceiling and growing from the cave floor.

Inside the cave are sandbanks and stalactites of different shapes. While the cave was first discovered in 2003, an entrance to go in was only found in 2012.

Cave experts have said that based on geological survey results, Nuoc Nut Cave is up to 2.2 km long and about two million years old.

The cave is open to visitors from February to the end of August every year.

After exploring Nuoc Nut Cave, Trung's group camped for one night near the cave entrance and continued trekking to Va Cave the next day.

In the photo above are stalactites in Va Cave. The interiors of both caves have a special structure thanks to a water system that connects with the world famous Son Doong Cave, said to be the world's biggest. The total length of Va Cave is 1.6 km.

The underground river in Va Cave has crystal blue water. In the system of more than 300 caves discovered in Phong Nha - Ke Bang, Va is one of the most striking ones.

The lights of headlamps add to the mysterious effect.

There is no light in the cave, so it was necessary to have a lot of light shining in to get clear, better-looking photos," Trung said.

Inside Va Cave, the team used padlock belts and pulleys to move pass the stalactite walls that are over 10 m high.

The exploration requires visitors to be in good physical shape and have basic rock-climbing skills.

Trung said everybody’s tiredness vanished on seeing Thap Non Lake with hundreds of stalactites looking like pink bamboo shoots, each about 2 m high.

Experts say that the stalactites here are rare and unique, not to be found anywhere else.

Scientists have not yet solved the mystery of the conical stalactites seen above. They grew from the lake and were not formed by water drops that drip down from the ceiling, as it typically happens.

At the end of the journey, Trung said the interiors of the Va and Nuoc Noi caves were scenes from paradise.

Quang Binh, a popular tourist attraction in central Vietnam, is often referred to as the "Kingdom of Caves" as it boasts many limestone caves.

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