Surprise Cave, or Hang Sung Sot in Vietnamese, is the largest cave in all of Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay and therefore sees a steady stream of visitors. For some, the incredible views atop Titov are the highlight of a Halong Bay cruise, for others it’s delving into the network of tunnels that make up Surprise Cave. The walking route, which winds up and down the island and in and out of the sunlight, offers some pretty spectacular views of the bay outside as well as the island interior.
Halong Bay cruise reviews demonstrate that this is a major highlight of a Halong Bay tour. Tripadvisor ranks it as the third most important attraction to visit in all of Halong Bay. ‘Not worth missing’ writes Dmon13 from Scotland, who rates it as one of the best caves he’s ever visited. ‘Simply stunning, huge and colourful,’ writes Jolyon67 from Australia, ‘the most beautiful cave in Halong Bay’.
The Cave is just 25 meters above sea level and is situated on Bo Hon Island. The area inside is a total of 12,200 square meters. It consists of three chambers and the highest point is 30 meters from top to bottom. All three chambers are littered with stalactites of different shapes and sizes. According to legend, the cave is the result of a fierce battle between a magical hero on horseback and several dangerous demons. The trail from the hero’s supernatural stead created several lakes and rivers throughout the cave. Although not connected to the legend, various animal shaped natural sculptures can be found throughout the three chambers.
An easily navigable path has been carved through the cave and steps have been cut up and down the hill for easier access. There is still a fair amount of ascents and descents so the cave should only be tackled by those that consider themselves fit enough and don’t have any knee or ankle problems.
Surprise Cave features on a number of the La Vela Cruises itineraries and as with all popular attractions in Halong Bay, La Vela aims to visit at quieter times to escape somewhat from the crowds. So be sure to come along and search for your own shapes in the rock and make your own way through the chambers. You are sure to come away as surprised as the French explorers of over a century before.