Exploring Thien Ha Grotto – Admiring the beauty of the Milky Way from the cave

Hidden in the Tường Mountains (a mountain range in Tràng An, considered a lookout protecting the Hoa Lư Citadel during the reigns of Kings Đinh Tiên Hoàng and Lê Đại Hành), Động Thiên Hà stands nearly 200 meters above sea level as one of the world’s natural and cultural heritages recognized by UNESCO, nestled deep within the mountains.
The cave is renowned as one of Ninh Bình’s stunning limestone caves. With a length of 700 meters, it comprises a 200-meter dry cave and a 500-meter water cave.
Starting from the Boat Pier, a boatman navigates visitors along the Bến Đang River. Sitting on the boat, one can admire the winding mountain resembling a dragon’s shape, with endless stretches of lush green rice fields on both sides of the Bến Đang River. Upon reaching the shore, visitors are greeted by traditional stilt houses of the Muong ethnic people.
On the way to the cave entrance, bamboo forests stretch out on both sides, forming a lush green canopy to shelter visitors from the intense sun or sudden rains.
Entering the 200-meter dry cave, visitors experience a cool breeze in summer and warmth in winter, feeling as if stepping into a different world. Natural light filters through towering limestone formations, creating breathtaking natural paintings. Further into the cave, visitors feel as though they’ve entered a silver and gold palace adorned with sparkling colorful stalactites under the sunlight, each unique in shape, stimulating human imagination under the vast, high-ceilinged dome with beautiful veined limestone.
Especially on clear sunny days, shafts of light illuminate the cave, creating a stunning spectacle. Locals refer to this phenomenon as the “Gate to Heaven,” as looking up reveals a deep blue sky with drifting white clouds.

Ninh Bình boasts many beautiful and famous caves, with Động Thiên Hà resembling a seven-colored natural painting, making anyone who visits feel as though they are in the midst of a vast universe.
After marveling at the diverse scenery in the dry cave, visitors proceed through a wide corridor to board a boat into the water cave. The water cave evokes a sense of being in a fairyland paradise. The cavern ceiling reveals countless shimmering limestone stalactites, resembling twinkling stars, including formations named from ancient Ninh Bình legends such as Fairy Flower Island, Mother’s Breast Gourd, and Dragon Turning Fish. All these create an ethereal space often likened to a “Milky Way in the heart of the mountains,” with bands of seawater-colored light shimmering on the limestone walls, making visitors feel as though they are lost in a vast universe. Moreover, with a length of over 500 meters, the natural scenery of the water cave gives the impression of an endless cavern.
With its sparkling and mystical stalactite system, Động Thiên Hà is regarded as one of Ninh Bình’s most stunning through caves.
Exploring Động Thiên Hà, visitors not only breathe in the fresh air but also immerse themselves in a poetic and majestic space with creatively shaped stalactites. Visitors are encouraged to let their imaginations run wild, envisioning various whimsical formations.
Near Động Thiên Hà lies Động Thiên Thanh, where while Động Thiên Hà is known as observing the universe from the boat within the cave, Động Thiên Thanh lets visitors view the vast universe’s stone vault from the ground. Here, visitors can witness a Stone Pillar Supporting the Sky, symbolizing the connection between Heaven and Earth.
According to research by British scientists working in Ninh Bình, Động Thiên Hà constitutes a living cave system. Geological development continues vigorously here, notably reflected in the ongoing formation of limestone formations by dripping water, creating magnificent and magical stalactites. Particularly, the cave retains its pristine beauty with numerous bats inhabiting the area.
Exploring Động Thiên Hà and Thiên Thanh is not just a journey of tourism but also a unique and miraculous spiritual experience. The mystical and serene ambiance of these stone caves will leave an unforgettable impression on visitors who venture to witness the beautiful landscapes of Ninh Bình.

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