Discovering the Hidden Gem: Hospital Cave on Cat Ba Island

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When it comes to historical destinations in Vietnam, names like Cu Chi Tunnel and Vinh Moc Tunnel often take the spotlight. However, nestled in the heart of Cat Ba Island lies a lesser-known gem with a profound history—the Quan Y Cave, also known as the Army Hospital Cave. This site served as both a hospital and a shelter during the war, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring Cat Ba Island.

Location and Historical Significance

Situated in Cat Hai Island District, a mere 13km Cat Ba Town, Quan Y Cave played a crucial role as a bomb-proof hospital during the American War. 1963 to 1965, amid heavy bombardments, it served as a sanctuary for injured soldiers and local residents seeking refuge the relentless bombings. Although the cave is no longer operational, its historical significance remains intact.

The cave was originally named after General Hung Son, who played a vital role in the Tran Dynasty and discovered the cave during the historic Bach Dang River battle. It wasn't until the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 that the hospital ceased its operations.

Hospital cave

History of Hospital Cave

Architectural Marvel: A Glimpse Inside the Cave

Today, the Army Hospital Cave stands as a testament to wartime resilience and ingenuity. Its structure, adorned with stalactites and limestone formations, provides an awe-inspiring backdrop. The cave, divided two connected sections each spanning 200m, boasts a unique layout. With a front gate facing west and a rear gate to the east, the central area houses three floors with 17 rooms, a cinema tent, and various functional spaces.

  • First Floor: Main zone with functional rooms for operations, waiting, and medicine.

  • Second Floor: Movie theater and physical examination area.

  • Third Floor: Welcome hall, guard room, and staff/officers' quarters.

The cave's construction was meticulous, featuring narrow passageways the first to the third floor to deter potential attacks. Massive iron doors at the cave's end, embedded in stalactites, stood as a formidable defense mechanism.

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Structure of Hospital Cave

Getting to Quan Y Cave: A Journey Through History

To reach the Hospital Cave on Cat Ba Island, there are several transportation options based on your starting point:


  • Cat Ba Cruise: The most convenient way is to book a Cat Ba Cruise, such as Mon Cheri or Peony, renowned for their Halong Bay tours that include a visit to the cave.

Cat Ba Town:

  • Personal Travel: If you prefer independent travel, you can find useful information on the best ways to get to Cat Ba Island in the related article.
  • Motorbike: Rent a bike your hotel or nearby shops in Cat Ba town. Enjoy a picturesque 20-minute ride to the Army Hospital cave, experiencing outstanding scenery along the way. Bike rental typically costs around 150,000 VND per day.
  • Taxi: Opting for a taxi is both the cheapest and safest mode of transportation Cat Ba town to the Hospital Cave. The one-way taxi fare is approximately 180,000 VND, and finding a return taxi is easily manageable.
  • Shuttle Bus: Seek information the hotel or the information desk in Cat Ba town. They can provide you with a map and timetable for the shuttle bus route, connecting Cat Ba town and Gia Luon dock at its northernmost point.

Visiting the Hospital Cave is an excellent choice for those with an interest in history. It offers a profound understanding of the impact of war on the Vietnamese people, providing an opportunity to reflect on and appreciate life. Choose the transportation method that suits your preferences, and embark on a journey that combines natural beauty with historical significance.

Hospital Cave Map:

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