Sung Sot (Surprise) Cave: Explore The Biggest Cave in Halong Bay
A place so amazing that the French deemed it “Grotte des Surprises” or (Surprise Grotto), Sung Sot Cave is one of the biggest, most beautiful caves in Halong Bay and a highlight on most Halong Bay itineraries.
- Sung Sot Cave was discovered by a French in 1901.
- Elevation: 25 meters above sea level.
- This is the largest and perhaps the most beautiful cave in Halong Bay with an area covering up to 10,000 sqm.
- “Surprise” is the immediate feeling you may have when visiting this incredible natural artwork.
- Sung Sot Cave is among the most prevalent tourist attractions for travelers and it is included in almost all itineraries of cruises exploring Halong Bay.
- The cave is accessible by a rented canoe, a day cruise, or an overnight cruise.
- Best time to visit: Year round; however, the best months to visit are from October to December when the humidity level is low (60-70%).
The cave can be found on the island of Bo Hon, along with another popular Halong cave, Trinh Nu. From the dock below, visitors must climb 50 stairs to the grotto’s mouth, which is just 25 meters above the sea. Sung Sot Cave is divided into two chambers; the first chamber, known as the “Waiting Room” is vast, adorned by stalagmites and stalactites and lit by multicolored lights positioned to complement the chamber’s structural beauty.
In order to reach the second chamber, visitors must walk down a narrow passageway. The second chamber is known as the “Serene Castle”. This chamber is large and grand with an extremely high ceiling and has many interesting rock formations which locals identify by likening them to animals due to their shapes.
Legend of Sung Sot cave
One eye-catching rock formation is shaped like a horse with a long-sword and is linked to the legend of Thanh Giong (God Gióng). It is said that Thanh Giong protected locals by defeating aggressors, demons and evil spirits, and once his work was done he ascended to the heavens, leaving behind a stone horse and sword to continue to drive away any future aggressors.
At the exit of the grotto, there is an open area called the “Royal Garden” where there is a peaceful pond and beautiful banyan trees. Some lucky visitors get to see monkeys in search of fruit which makes for some great photo opportunities!
How to visit Sung Sot Cave
There are two popular ways to visit Sung Sot Cave:
For tourists who are in shortage of traveling time and want to include Sung Sot Cave only in their itinerary, the best way is to rent a canoe. Most high-speed canoes are docked in Tuan Chau and Hon Gai Pier. It often costs from US$50/hour for a 4-to-8-seat canoe.
Alternatively, a more convenient and budget-saving option to visit Sung Sot Cave is to take a 6-hour day boat.
Sung Sot Cave belongs to route 2 that the day boat departs from Tuan Chau International Port - Soi Sim Island - Titop Island - Sung Sot Cave - Bo Nau Cave - Luon Cave - Fairy Lake Cave - Trinh Nu Cave - Me Cung Cave. Visitors have opportunities to enjoy activities such as exploring caves, swimming, boat sailing, and kayaking.
Ticket price: the ticket is sold at Tuan Chau International Port. It costs VND 290.000/pax. Additionally, tourists have to pay VND 200.000 boat rental fee and VND 150.000 to VND 250.000 for lunch (optional). The total price is VND 640.000 - VND 740.000/pax.
- Children under 1.2m or 7 years old are free.
- Children from 7 to 16 years old get a 20% ticket price reduction.
- People aged above 60 years old get a 50% ticket price reduction.
Best time to visit
While the best for locals to visit Halong Bay is from April to October, winter from October to December attracts the biggest number of foreigners to the wonder. During this season, the humidity level is low and the weather is dry.
What to pack
Tourists should prepare light clothes, some sweaters, sports shoes. Insect repellent and sunscreen are also necessary as you will spend a large amount of time outdoors and in the caves.