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Quang Binh cave festival 2019 opens

The biennial cave festival was kicked off in the central province of Quang Binh on July 20 under the theme “Quang Binh – Endless Mystery.”

A view of Son Doong Cave in the central province of Quang Binh. (Photo: VNA)

The festival, which runs through August 20, offers a wide array of tourism events, including music show, street carnival, helicopter tour and more.

During the one-month-long event, a domestic tourism promotion campaign is scheduled, offering visitors 10-20 percent discounts of all local services and products. Tourists are being treated to a 50 percent discount or free admission to Phong Nha and Thien Duong caves on July 20.

A new sightseeing helicopter tour is also launched for visitors at the Phong Nha – Ke Bang site, while the Dong Hoi – Da Nang air route is officially available.

The festival, held every two years, aims to introduce and promote Quang Binh and its outstanding resources, with more than 300 alluring, unique and grand caves, which have unique geology and rich biodiversity, along with making Quang Binh’s tourism a spearhead industry of the locality.

Quang Binh is also famous for its incredible mountain scenery and sprawling beaches. Its Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park was recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2003 thanks to its impressive scenery and archaeological value.

The province is also where American fantasy movie “Pan in Neverland” and American blockbuster “Kong: Skull Island” were filmed.

In recent years, the local tourism industry continues to boom. In the first six months of 2019, 2.45 million people visited Quang Binh, up 20 percent from to the same period in 2018, with more than 130,000 foreign holidaymakers, a 31 percent increase.

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We woke reasonably late following the feast and free flowing wine the night before. After gathering ourselves and our packs, we headed down to our homestay family’s small dining room for breakfast, where we enjoyed scrambled eggs, toast, mekitsi (fried dough), local jam and peppermint tea. We were making our way to the Rila Mountains, where we were visiting the Rila Monastery.

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We woke reasonably late following the feast and free flowing wine the night before. After gathering ourselves and our packs, we headed down to our homestay family’s small dining room for breakfast, where we enjoyed scrambled eggs, toast, mekitsi (fried dough), local jam and peppermint tea. We were making our way to the Rila Mountains, where we were visiting the Rila Monastery.

We wandered the site with busloads of other tourists, yet strangely the place did not seem crowded. I’m not sure if it was the sheer size of the place, or whether the masses congregated in one area and didn’t venture far from the main church, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed by tourists in the monastery.

We headed over Lions Bridge and made our way to the Sofia Synagogue, then sheltered in the Central Market Hall until the recurrent (but short-lived) mid-afternoon rain passed. Feeling refreshed after an espresso, we walked a short distance to the small but welcoming Banya Bashi Mosque, then descended into the ancient Serdica complex.

We visited the impressive Sveta Nedelya Cathedral, then walked to the calm and diminutive Sveti Georgi Rotunda, which is surrounded on all sides by solid, square and pragmatic communist-built structures. I marvelled at the decision to leave this tiny church in the midst of these gargantuan buildings, but I loved the fact that it remains intact.

We were exhausted after a long day of travel, so we headed back to the hotel and crashed. I had low expectations about Sofia as a city, but after the walking tour I absolutely loved the place. This was an easy city to navigate, and it was a beautiful city – despite its ugly, staunch and stolid communist-built surrounds. Sofia has a very average facade as you enter the city, but once you lose yourself in the old town area, everything changes.

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We wandered the site with busloads of other tourists, yet strangely the place did not seem crowded. I’m not sure if it was the sheer size of the place, or whether the masses congregated in one area and didn’t venture far from the main church, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed by tourists in the monastery.

We headed over Lions Bridge and made our way to the Sofia Synagogue, then sheltered in the Central Market Hall until the recurrent (but short-lived) mid-afternoon rain passed. Feeling refreshed after an espresso, we walked a short distance to the small but welcoming Banya Bashi Mosque, then descended into the ancient Serdica complex.

We visited the impressive Sveta Nedelya Cathedral, then walked to the calm and diminutive Sveti Georgi Rotunda, which is surrounded on all sides by solid, square and pragmatic communist-built structures. I marvelled at the decision to leave this tiny church in the midst of these gargantuan buildings, but I loved the fact that it remains intact.

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We wandered the site with busloads of other tourists, yet strangely the place did not seem crowded. I’m not sure if it was the sheer size of the place, or whether the masses congregated in one area and didn’t venture far from the main church, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed by tourists in the monastery.

We headed over Lions Bridge and made our way to the Sofia Synagogue, then sheltered in the Central Market Hall until the recurrent (but short-lived) mid-afternoon rain passed. Feeling refreshed after an espresso, we walked a short distance to the small but welcoming Banya Bashi Mosque, then descended into the ancient Serdica complex.

We visited the impressive Sveta Nedelya Cathedral, then walked to the calm and diminutive Sveti Georgi Rotunda, which is surrounded on all sides by solid, square and pragmatic communist-built structures. I marvelled at the decision to leave this tiny church in the midst of these gargantuan buildings, but I loved the fact that it remains intact.

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Today we were travelling north from Gorno Draglishte to Sofia (via Rila Monastery).

We woke reasonably late following the feast and free flowing wine the night before. After gathering ourselves and our packs, we headed down to our homestay family’s small dining room for breakfast, where we enjoyed scrambled eggs, toast, mekitsi (fried dough), local jam and peppermint tea. We were making our way to the Rila Mountains, where we were visiting the Rila Monastery.

We wandered the site with busloads of other tourists, yet strangely the place did not seem crowded. I’m not sure if it was the sheer size of the place, or whether the masses congregated in one area and didn’t venture far from the main church, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed by tourists in the monastery.

We headed over Lions Bridge and made our way to the Sofia Synagogue, then sheltered in the Central Market Hall until the recurrent (but short-lived) mid-afternoon rain passed. Feeling refreshed after an espresso, we walked a short distance to the small but welcoming Banya Bashi Mosque, then descended into the ancient Serdica complex.

We visited the impressive Sveta Nedelya Cathedral, then walked to the calm and diminutive Sveti Georgi Rotunda, which is surrounded on all sides by solid, square and pragmatic communist-built structures. I marvelled at the decision to leave this tiny church in the midst of these gargantuan buildings, but I loved the fact that it remains intact.

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We woke reasonably late following the feast and free flowing wine the night before. After gathering ourselves and our packs, we headed down to our homestay family’s small dining room for breakfast, where we enjoyed scrambled eggs, toast, mekitsi (fried dough), local jam and peppermint tea. We were making our way to the Rila Mountains, where we were visiting the Rila Monastery.

We wandered the site with busloads of other tourists, yet strangely the place did not seem crowded. I’m not sure if it was the sheer size of the place, or whether the masses congregated in one area and didn’t venture far from the main church, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed by tourists in the monastery.

We headed over Lions Bridge and made our way to the Sofia Synagogue, then sheltered in the Central Market Hall until the recurrent (but short-lived) mid-afternoon rain passed. Feeling refreshed after an espresso, we walked a short distance to the small but welcoming Banya Bashi Mosque, then descended into the ancient Serdica complex.

We visited the impressive Sveta Nedelya Cathedral, then walked to the calm and diminutive Sveti Georgi Rotunda, which is surrounded on all sides by solid, square and pragmatic communist-built structures. I marvelled at the decision to leave this tiny church in the midst of these gargantuan buildings, but I loved the fact that it remains intact.

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