Bac Kan is a well-known place as it used to be part of the Viet Bac Revolutionary Zone of the Vietnam Revolutionary Forces and embraces a number of tourist attractions.
Any visitors to Bac Kan could have remarkable feelings about the place and people there. During the resistance war against the French colonists, local people were very bold by having an uprising against the colonisation but now in peacetimes they have become so simple and hospitable. Bac Kan is famous for Ba Be Lake, which consists of three large fantastic lakes surrounded by mountains and forests. Still, there is another mysterious tourist destination, Hua Ma Cave.
Hua Ma Cave is located in Quang Khe Commune, Ba Be District. The cave has only recently been discovered so it is still almost untouched and enigmatic. The cave has been naturally shaped during the many-thousand-year process of geological changes. It is 700 meters in length and in some places the cave opens up and is 50 meters in height. Inside the cave, there are thousands of stalagmites and stalactites of different shapes; some look like small towers, others are like a statue of Goddess of Mercy or a formal court of mandarins in the feudal time.
Hua Ma means “Horse’s head” is a cave on a mountain, 300m above the sea level. This cave is 500m long and 50 m high, is home of beautiful stalactites in various shapes and size such as: flowers, pen tower..
All these stalactites were formed over millions of years. That’s why Hua Ma cave is not only a beautiful spot but also an interesting site for those who research geology.
This cave is located in the commune of Quang Khe, in Ba Be district, 6 km to the southwest of Ba Be lake.
In fact, Hua Ma has been known by local people for a long time but, as it bears in a myth and a much-weaved occult story, few local people would dare to approach the gate of the cave. The legend tells that a long time ago, a King headed a raiding contingent visited the locality and when he came to the bank of a stream near the cave, his horse stopped and did not go on. The King got off the horse and asked local people about the reason and local people told him that the area was a habitat of ghosts. According to them, when it was getting dark, cries generated from the cave and they decided that these were the spirits of honest people who were killed by foreign enemies during wars.
The King then ordered his troops to erect a pagoda to pray for peace for the souls of the killed people. Since then, local people have not heard the cries from the cave, yet they still consider the cave a holy place that should not be trespassed upon. As a result, the cave has been hidden until recent times.
It is from this legend that the name of the cave came into existence as Hua Ma means the horse’s head in local dialect. Nowadays, visitors can see the stalactites that more or less resemble a throne where the king was seated on. More magnificent stalactites shine under the electrical lights along the path in the cave. The old and young stalactites look like towers, lotus flowers, stone poles and other shapes depending on the imagination of visitors. To visit Hua Ma Cave, visitors can walk or travel by small passenger car through eight kilometers from the administrative section of Ba Be National Park. On arriving at the cave, they have to walk up 300 meters to the three-meter-wide, five-meter-high entrance, and then stroll down into the cave, which is more than 500 meters long and 40-50 meters wide. Do not forget to bring a flashlight to see more stalactites far from the path or in areas which are in darkness. Ba Be National Park is about 300 kilometers from Hanoi and 50 kilometers from Bac Kan Municipality. Tours to Hua Ma Cave and other attractions in this national park can be booked at the travel office of the park or the travel firms in Han.
If the cave is so mysterious inside, the view outside the cave is also great. From the mouth of the cave, people could see a large space, a vast picture of mountains, forests and water. They could see Ba Be Lake and the Nang River running smoothly in distance, they could hear birds singing elsewhere and imposing mountains and forest in front. If lucky enough, visitors could participate in a local monthly market to admire girls and boys of several local ethnic minorities in their traditional colourful dresses and clothes. They could taste and become familiar with local typical specialties and they would get drunk with home-made wine and unconsciously fall in love with the place and people.
Both Hua Ma Cave, the local people and the picturesque locality are waiting for international and domestic tourists to explore them.