On the trek to Swallow Cave

From the National Road 1A in Sa Huynh, turn to the paved road heading to Chau Me beach, crossing through peaceful villages under coconut trees to the end of the paved road, it is time to start the trek to Swallow Cave. The cave is situated in Vinh Tuy hamlet, Pho Chau Commune, Duc Pho District, just a stone’s throw distance away from Binh Dinh.
It is not tough to walk through the yellow sandy beach, then climb up a steady hill. Before feeling sweaty, you will be rewarded with a widened gorgeous view behind the curve and wind blasts full of tiny water particles thrusting on your face. Just then, all the weariness simply disappears.

In the bay are numerous stones abraded by waves for millenniums. On the top of the cave is a rock in the shape of an eagle looking out to the sea. The Swallow Cave is on the other side of the stone yard. The cave is 8m wide, 13m high, and 20m long with an arch-shaped roof. As per geologists, the cave was formed along a granite fault aged Hai Van Complex (Late Triassic). In the middle of the cave is a large rock. Right at the cave entrance, you may smell typical odor of bat muck. Upper part of the cave is densely filled with swallow nests stick on the rock cliff and in the darker parts are hundreds of bats dangling.
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Having deemed that bats are sensitive to sunlight and noise, I was surprised seeing them here in the place of waves noisily screeching on the rocks around the clock. It is said that this is lesser short-nosed fruit bat (Cynopterus brachyotis), listed in the Vietnam Red Book. It is a small bat that lives in South and Southeast Asia. As a frugivore, they prefer aromatic fruit, especially mangoes, bananas, lychees. As feeding on many fruits, they play an important role in disseminating seeds. Another interesting feature of this bat is they forage with their acute sense of smell and navigate with their keen vision of big eyes.

It was fortunate that my companion, a photographer, had good knowledge of bat’s behavior. Though wishing to take good pictures of them, he refrained from using flash but managed to use a tripod with wide apertures to capture few shots without disturbing their rest.
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Standing in the cave entrance, cooled down by wind blasts, watching swallows chirping on the cave roof and fishing boats in the distance, we were not aware that time flied faster than we could remember. We walked out, climbed to the hill top from where, a vast beach of Chau Me village was stretching to the horizon. Both of us took a deep breath of the fresh air before leaving the place.

The cave is unknown to most outsiders. Most of the visitors here are local youngsters. Therefore, there is no service in place as yet, including garbage collection. Then, if you come here for sightseeing, I am sure you can do at least like my friend, the photographer, not to disturb the bats and not to leave anything behind.

Drop DDL a line for any further information on this interesting place, and nice stops nearby as well.

Author: DDL