My 5: The Hospital Cave – Cat Ba Island, Vietnam.

Entrance Hospital Cave Cat Ba Island

1. The Hospital Cave, April 2018. Whether you’re staying on Cat Ba Island or just nipping in and out on a whistle stop boat tour, do try and make time for this curious Vietnam War site, set deep in the countryside about three kilometers from the entrance gates to Cat Ba National Park.

2. The Hospital Cave, April 2018. As its name helpfully suggests, the cave was used as a bombproof hospital during The Vietnam War, also doubling up as a safe house for Viet Cong leaders. It was constructed in the mid 1960s on the side of a towering limestone karst: the perfect refuge being literally invisible from both the ground and air.

3. The Hospital Cave, April 2018. Buy your ticket from the café on the main road (40.000VND/£1.30/€1.50/$1.75) and haul yourself up the steep stone staircase to the first floor entrance hall. From there this little door leads to a network of unnerving corridors and exhibition rooms.

4. The Hospital Cave, April 2018. You can pass through the cave’s three levels in about ten to fifteen minutes. There are a couple of hospital wards, sparsely decorated with skeletal bed frames, an old operating theatre straight out of a horror movie and a huge cavern that was used as a cinema and swimming pool. This mannequin-adorned dining room was perhaps the most photogenic of the rooms.

5. The Hospital Cave, April 2018. The cave was eventually abandoned in 1975 and turned into a tourist attraction in the 80s. As fascinating as it is, the experience would have been greatly enhanced by just a little information for visitors. As it is, you’ll need to use your imagination as you wander through. The Hospital Cave is open daily from 07:00-16:30.

Like this? Then take a look at my other articles from Cat Ba Island.

And I’ve written many more 5s from all over Vietnam.

Leighton Literature travel reports short stories travel blogger

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Freelance travel writer, voice over and English teacher from London. Former music and film journalist, interviewer of the stars. Passionate about travel, film, music, football, Indian food.

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