Cốc San Cave is located in Cốc San Commune, Bát Xát District, Lào Cai Province. — Photo mia.vn

by Lâm Giang

Cốc San Cave is a system of stalactite caverns in the northern province of Lào Cai. Although not as famous as other tourist destinations, it retains an irresistible attraction for nature lovers.

It is a complex of many waterfalls and caves, located in Cốc San Commune, Bát Xát District. The cave is nearly 30km from the centre of Sa Pa Town. It is known as the largest cave in the province and charms with its beauty.

To move from Sa Pa Town centre to the cave, we chose to drive National Road 4D which took about 50 minutes to traverse a distance of 30km.

Cốc San Cave attracts many tourists. — Photo mia.vn

We had to walk a rocky path for about a kilometre from the main road. Although it can be a challenge in summer, we couldn’t help but admire the beautiful scenery of lush rice fields, green mountains and charming small villages.

This road is hidden by some large rocks, meaning Cốc San still feels untouched by civilization’s approach. We could hear running water hitting the rocks as we got closer.

Cốc San is sandwiched between two low hills. Most of the caves in Cốc San are located behind the waterfalls.

These caves are hidden behind a curtain of water. Nothing is quite like being inside the cave to see the water creating a steamy window to the outside. They are interspersed with each other and seem to be embraced by the Hoàng Liên Sơn mountain range.

Inside the main cave is a large open space that can accommodate hundreds of people. The mysterious shapes of stalactites can be seen all around us and form shapes that resemble animals, objects and trees.

The air here is very cool. It’s as far removed from the bustle of the town as you can get. 

Cốc San Cave is extremely harmonious. We felt the magic, the majesty and the beauty of the waterfalls, caverns and even the rocks here.

The majestic beauty of a waterfall in the Cốc San cave complex. — Photo mia.vn

The waterfalls are placed close to one another and between them are quiet, blue streams that murmur all night and day.

The most beautiful is Sam Ca, which divides its water flow into three branches.

Large rocks linger alongside the stream which you can sit on to enjoy the tranquility of the area. You can even try your luck at fishing from the pond and enjoy a good meal with your catch.

The tranquility of the waterfalls in the Cốc San cave complex. — Photo mia.vn

From the top of the mountain you can steal a glimpse of a beautiful panoramic view of Cốc San surrounded by paddy fields.

People in Cốc San are honest and friendly. They welcomed us with local foods like sweet corn, grilled fish, and buffalo jerky, as well as bamboo shoots and a touch of wine to wash it all down.

The warm hospitality of the locals and their delicate cuisine was one of our fondest memories of the trip. VNS

Buffalo jerky is a specialty of Lào Cai. Photo sktravel.com.vn

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