New cement steps have been built outside and inside Hua Ma Cave, paving an easy way for travelers to stroll up and down the new tourist destination in Ba Be National Park in the northern province of Bac Kan. Hua Ma in Quang Khe Commune is ranked among the most beautiful and interesting caves in the national park because of its magnificent stalactites and the legend that has been told for generations. This legend has put it that a king and his entourage once approached an area near the Hua Ma Cave, and the horse of the king was unable to cross a stream in the area. After several unsuccessful attempts to cross the stream the king got off his horse and asked locals for the reason. Then he found out that the area was home to wandering souls of the casuists, whose merciful cry was often heard from the cave at night. The king told his soldiers to kill horses and let the heads drift along the stream. The king also ordered the erection of a temple nearby and made his way into the cave to sit there and recite Buddhist scriptures in the hope that the wandering souls would be released. From that day, no-one has heard the merciful cry from Hua Ma Cave. 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 Hanoi.
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