Discovering the Chay River and Toi Cave

Since the eco-tourism area of the Chay River and Toi Cave was put into operation in 2011 with a new tourist activity of kayaking on the Chay River and discovering the mysterious beauty of Toi Cave, it promises to be a haven for tourists.

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The trip starts from the wharf at Tro Mong Forest Management Station in Phuc Trach Commune, Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province. Rowing on the 10km-long Chay River which originates from the immense mountains in the ancient karst mountain area of Phong Nha-Ke Bang, tourists seem to be on a lissome silk ribbon with two sides of verdant fields of corn and old trees.

During the trip, tourists sometimes see stones in different shapes in the clear and turquoise water of the river. The blue colour of the water in this river is rather strange and according to scientists’ explanation it is because of the erosion of the karst mountains and the natural phenomenon of calcium dissolving into water for millions of years.  


Discovering the wild beauty of the Chay River. Photo: Tat Son

Sightseeing by kayak. Photo: Thanh Giang


The entrance to Toi Cave is 20m wide and 40m high. Photo: Thanh Giang

Tourists visit Toi Cave . Photo: Tat Son

Toi Cave is 5,258m long and 80m high. Photo: Tat Son

The mysterious world of stalactites and stalagmites in Toi Cave. Photo: Tat Son

Wonderful stalactites and stalagmites in Toi Cave. Photo: Tat Son

A gecko living in Toi Cave. Photo: Thanh Giang

The surface of  stones looks like waves. Photo: Thanh Giang

Tourists have lunch at the boat wharf on the Chay River. Photo: Thanh Giang

Rowing the kayak on the transparent Chay River, tourists arrive at the entrance to Toi Cave where the temperature is quite lower than the outside. Toi Cave, 5,258m long and 80m high, is a branch of the system of Phong Nha Caves which was surveyed by explorers from the British Cave Association in 1990 and 1992.

Going deep inside the cave tourists will enjoy cool air and the magnificent beauty of the stalactites and stalagmites in different shapes on the ceiling and the floor that look like a golden stream. The stalactites in the cave are considered the standard sample of fossils that help scientists define the origination of the ancient karst mountains in Phong Nha-Ke Bang from the ancient ocean.

Because it is located near the river, the cave is rather humid, creating favourable conditions for the growth of fern plants. Therefore, tourists sometimes see small fern plants growing on stalactites and stalagmites that is a new and strange natural phenomenon in Toi Cave. The cave is also home to many animals like bats, swallows and Vooc (trachypithecus phayrei crepusculus). In 1995 Russian scientist L.Deharveng discovered a new species of crab and named it nemoron nomas. The sample of this species of crab is now preserved at the National University of Singapore’s Museum.

Taking in the four-hour tour, tourists not only had a chance to discover the beauty of nature, but also accumulate useful knowledge about typical karst geomorphologic characteristics of the ranges of mountains and diversified ecological system in Vietnam.

Story: Ngan Ha – Photos: Tat Son, Thanh Giang