Nguom Gnao Cave is located in the far north part of Vietnam near the China border. The main entrance to the cave is 2 km from the Ban Gioc Waterfall. The name “Nguom Gnao” Cave means Tiger’s Cave in the language of the local Tay ethnic minority.
The cave was discovered in 1995 and was partially opened to the public in 2006. The height of the cave reaches 196 feet high and stretches for a length of 7034 feet but only about 3000 feet are accessible to the public, where lighting has been installed and a path has been created.
Near the entrance and exit of the cave there is enough lighting to see the natural colors of the stalactites and stalagmites rock formations. The series below shows the cave formations in a natural lighting which are predominantly a mixture of yellow and gray.
As you move deeper into the cave there are areas where the natural lighting and the supplied lighting can both be seen. This transitional section can be seen in the series of photos below.
The majority of the cave is lit in a champagne colored lighting. I have seen this coloration in some of the other caves that I have visited and I think it makes for an interesting look on the formations.
Other place in the cave the lighting appeared more yellow which give the formations a different appearance which I think is a better look for seeing the details of the formations.
The Nguom Ngao Cave has an unusual formation that I have never seen before. On the surface of the cave there was a section where small pools formed in strange shapes and in some areas the resembled terraces like terraced rice fields. Other places the surface of the cave looked like being on the surface of the moon.
The other unusual sight was seeing a formation with elements in it that made the formation sparkle.
The path through the cave was easy to follow and made walking through the cave safe and enjoyable. Some places the head room was a little low and other places there were small passageways through the formations but that is completely expected in caves. I actually think it made for a better experience because it made me feel like it was an adventure and not just being in a designed environment.
The main attraction for going to Cao Bang Province is to see the Ban Gioc Waterfall which is spectacular but if you are staying in the area then going to Nguom Ngao Cave can be a refreshing break during the heat of the day. Touring the cave takes around an hour but I like to go a little slower than the average person just so I won’t miss out on seeing something.
Caves always fascinate me for many different reasons. First of all, large voids underneath the surface seems odd but then the creation of stalactites and stalagmites along with other random formations is phenomenal. Stalactites and stalagmites are common to all caves but they are all different. They all have different characteristics. I always wonder, “How were these unique shapes formed?”
While I have not been to that many caves, each cave that I have seen has something that I have never seen before. In the Nguom Ngao Cave it was the formations on the floor of the cave that resembled terraces. These formations are really puzzling to me.