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Huong Tich Grotto (Perfume Pagoda) EarthCache

Hidden : 12/05/2009
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Geocache Description:

Congratulations pirate63 for the FTF!

You MUST to do the following to claim the cache:
  • Take a picture of yourself AND your GPS with the shrine pictured above and post it with your log.
  • Email me the answers to the following questions (DON'T put the answers in your log).
    1. Take an altitude reading at river level and another at the top of the stairs that lead down to the cave.
      What is the difference or the total altitude gain (either feet or meters)?
    2. In what geographical region is the cave located?
    3. What distinguishing feature of this cave shows that it is a solutional cave?

Any log that does not meet these requirements will be deleted.

Huong Tich Grotto Information
Huong Tich Grotto is a part of the Perfume Pagoda on Perfume Mountain. The journey to the cave involves a 50 mile journey from Hanoi to Ben Duc, a 1 hour boat ride on the Yen Vi River and then a hike up to the top of the mountain.

Every year around Tet (between February and March), there is an annual pilgrimage of Buddhists to the Perfume mountain and Chua Huong. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country are drawn by the Hoi Chua Huong or Chua Huong festival. The town of Ben Duc is packed with thousands of row boats used for shuttling visitors during this time of the year.

Inside the cave are several examples of stalagmites and stalactites. Each is given a name for their purported features. here are Cay Gao - Rice Stick, Cay Vang - Golden stick, Nui Co - the maiden and Nui Cau - the youth. Nui Co and Nui Cau supposedly look like the heads of young children. It is believed that couples who wish for children often pay homage to Huong Tich grotto and to especially visit Nui Co and Nui Cau to pray for their first born. These formations are trademarks of a type of cave called solutional caves, found mostly in limestone.

Limestone Cave Formations
Limestone caves begin their lives as bedding-planes, faults or joints in the rock which in this case is limestone. Groundwater begins to seep through these cracks and the dissolves the surrounding rock with the water's natural acids. Over many years or geological epochs, these small irregularities in the rock expand and become caves.

Stalactites and stalagmites are travertine deposits in limestone caves formed by the evaporation water that contains calcium carbonate and seeps from the ceiling of the cave. Stalactites are attached to the ceiling of the cave, are usually long and thin and have a hollow core. Water travels down the hollow core and drips from the bottom. Stalagmites rise from the floor and are commonly found under stalactites. Stalagmites are usually short and thick compared to their stalactites brothers. Sometimes these formations join and create a column.

Vietnam Geography
Vietnam is a long, thin, 'S' shaped country considered to have 3 distinct areas. The north, consisting of alpine peaks, the Red River Delta and fertile plains; the central area, distinguish by rich volcanic plateaus and fantastic beaches; and the south has the Mekong River Delta and thousands of archipelagic islands.

There are several geographic regions in Vietnam. These regions range from soggy plains to jagged mountains. The highest point in Vietnam, located in the Northern Highlands, is Fan Si Pan Mountain whose top is 3,143 meters (10,300 feet). These mountains are an offshoot of the Himalayas. Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, and is located in the the Tonkin Lowland which includes the Red River Delta. Huong Tich Grotto lies at the edge of this region near the Annam Cordillera.

The Annam Cordillera is a long mountain range that forms much of the Laos-Vietnam border. The southern part of this range is a high plateau where the north typified by rugged mountain peaks. From east of the Annam Cordillera to the sea is a long, thin strip called the Coastal Plain. The plain is narrow and sometimes disappears in the southern areas of this region and widens to about 60 miles in the north. The last region is the Southern Lowland. This region consists of the Mekong Delta, archipelagic islands, and Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh or Siagon.

Definitions from

A grotto is any type of cave that is fairly small.

  Bedding plane
Any of the division planes which separate the individual strata or beds in sedimentary or stratified rock.
A fracture in the continuity of a rock formation caused by a shifting or dislodging of the earth's crust, in which adjacent surfaces are displaced relative to one another and parallel to the plane of fracture. Also called shift.
A fracture in rock where there has been no lateral movement in the plane of the fracture (up, down or sideways) of one side relative to the other.
A light-colored porous calcite, CaCO3, deposited from solution in ground or surface waters and forming, among other deposits, stalactites and stalagmites.
A mountain system of south-central Asia extending about 2,414 km (1,500 mi) through Kashmir, northern India, southern Xizang (Tibet), Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan. The Himalayas include nine of the world's ten highest peaks, including Mount Everest.
An elevated, comparatively level expanse of land; a tableland.
A landform that is created at the mouth of a river where that river flows into an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, reservoir, flat arid area, or another river. Deltas are formed from the deposition of the sediment carried by the river as the flow leaves the mouth of the river. Over long periods of time, this deposition builds the characteristic geographic pattern of a river delta.
  Archipelagic Islands, Archipelago
A chain or cluster of islands that are formed tectonically.

To reach the cache location, you will have to either make personal arrangements or take a guided tour. It will take about 2 hours from Hanoi to reach the boats but once there, you will be treated to many spectactular views of the surrounding mountains while being rowed on the river and either hiking to the top or taking the cable car most of the way. Either option is a great experience, but even if you take the cable car, there is a short hike up and then back down to the grotto.

The terrain is a 5 since you have to take a boat up the river to get to the cache.

Additional Hints (No hints available.)