11 Oct Spend a night at En Cave (Swallow Cave) – Phong Nha Ke Bang
Before starting our journey to En Cave, we just search information on internet and know that this cave is one of the most gigantic caves in the world according the evaluation of National Geographic magazine. That is also the urgent for us to start the journey.
In the morning, after participating Tam Co temple festival on HCM road according to the traditional spiritual life of the local people here, we continue coming to Km 35 and getting along the path to the long virgin forest. Our journey divides into two itineraries: the first one is mainly the high slopes under the beneath growing on the limestone mountain; the second one is the path along the stream.
In fact, the door of the forest is Ba Gian mountain (Gian has the meaning of the slope according to the local language). It is about 20m from the road and lie on the height of 553m comparing the sea level.
therefore, in the first itinerary, we always down to the slope and go along to the path through the forest to Ban Doong, a village of Van Kieu people where is isolated with the our world by the huge mountain.
Ban Doong includes 6 household who migrated from Quang Ninh commune in a storm since 1993. They live mainly by exploiting honey and cultivating. However, the death did not stop. In October, 2010, a huge storm skilled all their cows and destroyed all their houses. 27 people in Ban Doong had to cling to the jackfruit in two days to survive.
Watching swallow and enjoying strange fish
Hang Én (the Swallow Cave) is 1.645 m long and has three mouths divided by the fine sand hill and cliffs. One is halfway up a mountain and two others are located on another mountain which has its foot on the south-east and north-west alongside Rao Thuong Stream. All of these make the cave different from other well-known caves in the country. The most unique characteristic of En Cave is twinkle scenery made by the green color of river and the sunlight from the roof.
On the ceiling, in the small cave, in the stalactite is the nest of swallow and bat. That is the main reason leading to the name of cave: Hang En (Swallow Cave)
“En cave used to be the home of Arem ethnic people hundreds years ago. They had ability to climb like the gibbon and transfer on the branch of the tree. Therefore, in the swallow season, they often climbed to cliff and catch small swallow to eat.
Nowadays, Arem people move to the street 20 to live but on 15th the fifth lunar month, they often come to En Cave and celebrate “Eating Swallow” festival in the form of worship forest genie” Mr. Thanh Hue, vice president of Quang Binh tourism organization said.
Looking outside scenery from the door of En Cave is really interesting. The scenery of the herb of swallow with the green of the virgin forest attracted photographer Carsten Peter. He created a wonderful work about En Cave which was selected as the most beautiful nature on March by Natioanl Geographic magazine.
At night, we catch fish at Rao Thuong stream together with the staff in Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park. The fish here has many strange names such as: ca mat (cool fish), ca co, trau da, etc…especially; treo fish is considered as “aristocrat” fish thanks to it delicious meat and less bone. It is difficult to catch it.
After two hours, we catch enough fish to grill and eat the whole night and some big fish to cook the soup for breakfast.
That night, we have a good sleep with the sound of stream and the breeze like the whisper of forest and mountain.
More photos of En cave: