Dau Go Cave: A Fanciful Legend

Halong Bay is famous for its many fabulous islands and caves such as Trinh Nu Cave, Ho Dong Tien, Me Cung, Sung Sot, and especially Dau Go Cave with its large scale and fascinating mythology touching local fishermen and the famous military commander Tran Hung Dao.

According to researchers, the cave has an area of about 5,000m2 and is around 27m above the sea surface. The entrance is large, at 17m wide and 12m high. The formation of this cave began in the Late Pleistocene era – tens of thousands of years ago. This could be called a giant air-conditioner of Mother Nature: the inside of the cave is warm during the winter and the temperature in the summer is always a cool 20-22C while the weather outside is searing hot.

Dau Go features many unique underground treasures. The fantastic formations and towering stone pillars make the cave look like the inside of the old palace. Around the cave entryway is a dreamland for animals and tropical vegetation because of the high humidity and the richness of sunshine. Moss, ferns and trees thrive in the lighted areas of the cave, making Dau Go different from other caves in Halong Bay.

There are three chambers for people to discover. The first room, the brightest and nearest to the entryway, has a vault-like ceiling which seems to be an oil painting masterpiece. The details you see are limited only by your imagination, with images of wild nature, colourful forests and rocky statues here to enjoy.

A narrow passageway connects the first chamber to the second, where you will find another fantastic picture. A little fear and eagerness blend together here, leading the feet to keep on moving deeper and the mouth to open wide with a “Wow!”

The cave’s womb suddenly opens large and the third chamber is finally revealed. In the luminous atmosphere, the colours and textures in all four directions could be mistaken for images from a projector. A feudal palace appears and is surrounded by a chaotic sword fight.

The most interesting about Dau Go Cave is the origin of the name. People can explain it in different ways based on three legends. For fishermen,  this cave’s original name was Giau Go (it means “to hide wood”) because it was used to store sharpened wooden stakes, secret weapons of Tran Hung Dao’s army against Mongol invaders in the Thirteen Century. Over time, the name Dau Go replaced the original name.

The specific location could be a clue to reach the second myth. That is the arrow-like chain of islands which forms a calm lagoon in front of Dau Go Cave. Fishermen often gathered here to fix their boats or take shelter from storms. There remain many wooden pieces flowing into the cave, so the name Dau Go (Wooden Piece) was born.

The third legend refers to the shape of Dau Go Island. From a distance, Dau Go Island looks like a giant section of tree trunk which is hollowed to be threaded by a rope. It is easy to understand that local people would name the island according to its appearance.

We cannot know how much truth lies in these legends, however, they contribute to the mysticism of Halong Bay. Friends from around the world visit and explore Dau Go Cave, partly because of curiosity about the attractive myths surrounding it.


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