Cat Ba island‘s Hospital cave, or Quan Y cave, has been a pride of Vietnam’s military medical team since the war. Today, although the hospital is no longer there, its historical value remains.
About Hospital cave
The hospital cave has a particular structure with stalactites and coastal limestone mountains formed by sediments.
The sparkling stalactites, together with the light in the cave, create a mysterious atmosphere.
During the war
Hospital cave, or Quan Y cave, was a field hospital when the US escalated bombardment of North Vietnam in 1963 – 1965.
During this time, people on Cat Ba island built a cave based on the natural limestone mountain.
The cave served as a place for treating wounded soldiers, shelters, and avoiding bombs for residents and people evacuated from Bach Long Vy island.
The construction of the Hospital cave was a reinforced concrete structure with a length of about 200m.
The design consists of the front door adjacent to the west and the back door adjacent to the east. Through three layers of thick doors is a three-story hospital entrance.
In particular, the first floor was the main area, including 14 functional rooms such as the operating room, waiting room, medicine room, etc.
The second floor was the area for exercise and physical examination. The third floor was the reception hall, guard room, and officer room.
Due to its characteristics as a war hospital, the Hospital cave was also equipped with a good road system, drainage, and ventilation system.
Read more: Trung Trang Cave Cat Ba island.
How to get to the Hospital cave
Getting to Cat Ba island
The easiest way to travel from Hanoi to Cat Ba is by bus. Daily buses are departing from Hanoi, and the journey takes approximately 3.5 to 4 hours.
You can book online bus tickets here.
From Hai Phong
Related articles: How to get from Ninh Binh to Cat Ba island
Getting to Hospital cave from Cat Ba
About 13km from the center of Cat Ba town, Hai Phong, Hospital cave is located halfway up the mountain in the Khe Sau area, Tran Chau commune, in the territory of Cat Ba National Park.
From Cat Ba town, it only takes approximately 30 minutes to get to the Hospital cave. It’s easy to find the entrance thanks to the sign along the road.
Hospital cave entrance fee
The entrance fee to the Hospital cave is 40,000 VND per person.
Inside the cave is arranged a simple small set of tables where the guard checks the ticket before letting visitors go through the iron door to the inside.
Exploring Hospital cave Cat Ba island
After purchasing the entrance ticket, we followed the trail on the right about 50 meters.
We then walked up the stairs to the cave door, which was located halfway on the mountain.
In the past, the staircase to the cave door was made of wood, so when the cave was attacked, it could be easily destroyed.
However, recently the stairs were replaced with iron, creating a firm and safe way for visitors.
Standing on the cave door, looking down, we enjoy a Cat Ba national park panoramic view.
The cave’s ceiling was quite high, clean with stalactites staining green moss. On the corner, we saw a small worship area with incense and flower.
The rooms on the first floor
To enter the rooms, we had to pass an iron door. It was very solid with many locking latches.
The entire corridor was the working rooms and equipment storage, designed quite evenly along the aisles.
We could see the function of each room based on the nameplates on the top.
In those rooms, there were models of soldiers that simulated the past.
The right rooms were for treatment items and models depicting patients in the process of recovery, while the left rooms were for logistics rooms, personal belongings, drug stores, etc.
The items placed in the room were simple but vivid, drawing a space reminiscent of what happened in the past.
The largest room on the first floor was probably the meeting room. We could see the models of soldiers with their radio and water bottles.
There were several posters on the first floor as well. Each poster encouraged the will of the Vietnamese people to fight back in the American war.
The second floor
At the end of the first floor was an escape route to the back of the mountain.
In the middle of the corridor, we found the way to the second and third floors. While visitors could visit the second one, the third floor was prohibited.
On the way to the 2nd floor, we went past the common toilet and water tank.
The arch of the second-floor cave was very high and airy. This floor was used for physical training, combat training, a movie theater, and a hospital hall.
Under the overhead lights, there was a ban sign for the 3rd floor, so we could not go there.