Dau Go grotto is on Driftwood
Island. Seen from afar, the entrance to the grotto
appears to be blue, and has a shape similar to that of a
jellyfish. After 90 steps up the island, the entrance is
reached. The ceiling of the grotto is about 25 m.
Hundreds of stalactites falling down from the roof of
the grotto look like a waterfall.
The grotto is divided into three main parts.
The exterior is a room with a vault full of natural
light. Many forms may be seen in the rock formations of
the chamber, depending on the imagination of the visitor
Crossing the first chamber, one enters the second
chamber through a narrow passage. The light here is
mysterious, and new images appear in the stone. It makes
us having a fear and be inquisitive.
The third chamber of the grotto is widely opened. At the
end of the grotto is a well of clear water. Looking up
in the dim light we recognize that surrounded is the
image of an ancient citadel and a scuffle of elephants,
horses, man with bristly sword and spear. All are making
a rush and be petrified suddenly.
The name Driftwood Grotto came from a popular story of
the resistance war against the Yuan - Mongolian
aggressors. In a decisive battle, Tr�n Hung �ao was
given the order to prepare many ironwood stakes here, to
be planted on the riverbed of Bach �ang River. The
remaining wooden pieces found in the grotto have given
it its present name.
And the name Giau Go is associated with the legend that
General Tran Hung Dao (1226-1300) hid ironwood stakes in
preparation for the Bach Dang battle against the
Thien Cung Grotto is monumental and modern (in
its natural form), then Driftwood Grotto is solemn, but
also grandiose. In "Marvels of the World," published in
France in 1938, the author called the grotto "Grotte des
merveilles" (a site of many marvels)
In the first chamber, in the very middle of the grotto,
is a colossal pillar supporting the large vault. On the
top of the pillar, there appears to be a monk draped in
a long, dark cloak, with his right hand clasping a cane.
The second chamber is narrow. Here, the stalactites look
smaller but more graceful. One feels like going to a
pagoda with a monk in meditation so that one steps more
The third chamber features high stone columns out of
which nature has carved images of a large kingdom, of
heroes and soldiers holding swords and spears rushing
up, of war elephants and horses or lions, etc. All of
them suddenly was petrified and remained there for good.
In 1917, Emperor Khai Dinh came to visit the grotto, and
amazed by the beauty of the place, ordered the erection
of an engraved stone stele singing the
praises of Ha
Long Bay and the grotto. Today, it remains to the
right-hand side of the entrance.