Thiên Đường Cave (Paradise Cave)
I’m compelled to write this entry as soon as I got home because there just wasn’t any good info out there to help me determine if this was a cave for someone like my mom who is older, with some arthritis on her feet, could make this trek. I had to decide between this and Heavens Cave.
I chose Paradise Cave after this comparison:
- Thieng Duong Paradise Cave: #1 sight to see, huge long path of amazing rock formations
- Phong Nha Heavens Cave: #2 sight to see, 1 hour long boring boat ride, not as long of a path once inside.
So here’s the facts on Paradise Cave:
- We lucked out and arrived at the base at around 12:30pm which apparently is an in between time for all the annoying tourist buses. Yes it was about a 4.5 hour drive that made me start to question whether this was worth the drive. But when we arrived into the cave entrance, we literally had the cave all to ourselves. No noise, no loud announcements, no smelly people not wearing deodorant!
- There’s really only 1 restaurant there (Paradise Restaurant) and has wifi. Food is ok but if you are able to pack food, I would totally recommend that instead.
- Yes its a 10–15 minute walk from the parking lot to the base of the mountain. It is totally worth it to pay $7/person to get a buggy to get to the base because the walk there really is pretty flat, long, could be a waste of energy against the humidity, and boring.
- If you are a New Yorker or someone who lives in a walking city, this pre-hike and real hike is more than manageable for you. I thought Multnomah Falls in Portland (1 mile hike upward) was way harder than this one and supposedly that’s not even considered a hard trail.
- The hike up did not feel like a mile AT ALL. I would say closer to 1/2 mile. There are 2 paths you can take: if you are traveling with someone less equipped to walk, take the windy path without the stairs (easier on the feet).
- This hike was totally manageable by older people in flip flops. All the walkways are cemented and or have stairs. Hiking shoes really aren’t necessary.
- Once inside, walk the entire thing, yes even the older people! Don’t stop once you get down the stairs. It is a really nice long 1 mile path into the cave and the rock formations get cooler and cooler as you walk further in. Walking up is only really a short portion of the hike. Most of the hike inside is flat.
- The recommendations from people to bundle up are mainly from people who are used to really warm climates. It was probably a really nice comfortable 65 degrees in there. Didn’t need a sweater at all.
- The cave apparently varies in temperatures throughout the year. Supposedly it is cooler now in the hot summer months and warmer in the winter months.
Some pro-tips for next time:
- Wear open TEVA shoes (sneakers weren’t really needed even…)
- Bring a raincoat/umbrella (in case it’s raining that day)
- Always wear bug repellent! The bugs started to come out at around 3pm as we were descending.
- Always have tissues with you (for the bathrooms)
More pictures to follow!