Heritage Cruises
Heritage Cruises
US$180 US$202
Ambassador Cruise
Ambassador Cruise
US$180 US$198
Peony Cruise
Peony Cruise
US$140 US$161
Orchid Cruises
Orchid Cruises
US$180 US$198
Stellar of the Seas
Stellar of the Seas
US$180 US$189

Halong Bay Caves: Top 10 Must-visit Caves in Halong Bay

Ha Long Bay has long been known to many foreign tourists. Thanks to its aesthetic, geological, and geomorphological value, the bay has been recognized twice as a world natural heritage and one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. Besides Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay located to the South, and Bai Tu Long Bay to the North are two extension parts sharing the same geological characteristic.

Halong Bay Caves: Top 10 Must-visit Caves in Halong Bay

In September 2023, Ha Long Bay (Quang Ninh) and Cat Ba Archipelago (Hai Phong City) were recognized by UNESCO and became the very first inter-province and city World Heritage Site in Vietnam. The crystal clear water is scattered with thousands of karst towers of various sizes and natural shapes. Significantly, many of them hide a cave or grotto that amazes travelers with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites and a magical formation history. Caves are at the top of the must-visit when paying a visit to the heritage site!

What makes caves in Halong Bay a must-visit?

Exceptional landscapes

Presently, 60 caves and grottoes were discovered in Halong Bay and there are certainly many caves still hiding under those mysterious limestone islands. Each cave boasts its own beauty. Some are huge, with lots of light and rich vegetation. Some are small and mysterious. Some contain vestiges of prehistoric people and bring great archaeological value. However, all of them include miracle stalagmites and stalactites that were formed and exist over millions of years and offer mesmerizing scenery.

Unique experience

Besides aesthetic value, Halong caves offer a high value in geology and geomorphology. Whether you are a geologist or an archeologist or not, you will have a chance to learn about the interesting legends, historical stories, and the unique formation of Halong Bay and the cave.

Besides, all the caves in Halong Bay can only be accessed by waterway. Joining a cruise trip is not only a means to visit the cave but also a unique experience that you will never regret. If you have the time and budget, overnight cruises offer an all-in-one experience from transfers, dining, accommodations, modern facilities, entertainment activities, etc. Otherwise, a day trip lasting a few hours usually includes a cave visit and gives you a glimpse but no less impressive view of Halong Bay.

A perfect getaway from the city

Halong Bay is ideal for a natural getaway from the bustling city, and caves will not only feast your eyes but also provide a memorable experience. Enjoy the fresh atmosphere in the calm bay, hike and witness stunning stalactites and stalagmites uniquely shaped by Mother Nature, or kayak through the cave and enjoy the tranquility of the bay! That is perfect for you to get rid of all stress and regain peace after busy and tough days.

Sung Sot Cave
Photo: @dinnerroll813t / Instagram
Activities:
  • Hiking
  • Sightseeing

Sung Sot or Surprise Cave is the largest cave in Halong Bay. Located on Bo Hon Island, Sung Sot has an area of over 10,000 square meters and was discovered by French people in 1901.

After passing a small entrance which is 25 meters above sea level, a specious chamber opens up to your eyes. However, there are up to 3 chambers and the first one is the smallest one. The more you follow the path, the larger the chambers are. You will be wowed by the smooth ceiling resembling water waves, the giant stalagmite from the floor to the ceiling, and the sparking stalactites still growing. That is not to mention the variety of interesting shapes of these stalactites and stalagmites that Mother Nature offers. The royal garden in the last chamber is the highest point offering a breathtaking view of Halong Bay. From this surprise to another, Sung Sot completely explains why it was named that way.

Cruises that visit Sung Sot Cave:

Map
Thien Cung Cave
Photo: @curiousship2019 / Instagram
Activities:
  • Hiking
  • Sightseeing

As the second largest cave in Halong, Thien Cung tempts tourists with spectacular views regarded as Heavenly Palace. Located on Dau Go Island, Thien Cung Cave was discovered in 1993 and officially opened to the public in 1998. It is also 25 meters above sea level yet a bit smaller than Sung Sot Cave (almost 10,000 sqm).

The way to the cave is craggy and almost covered by greenery. The cave has a complex structure with many levels and compartments. The ceilings are high and wide and the walls and floors are filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Three rooms in the cave tell interesting legends related to the Dragon King who helped the king gain peace for the country and the wedding of the dragon prince with a girl named May. Unique shapes of stalactites and limestone rocks make visitors think of daily life and the vibrant wedding in the legend.

Cruises:

  • L’Azalee private cruise
  • Day cruises
Map
Dau Go Cave
Photo: @avataraolbonska / Instagram
Activities:
  • Hiking
  • Sightseeing

Located next to Thien Cung Cave on Dau Go island, Dau Go Cave is not only mesmerizing but also has great historical value. The name “Dau Go” means wooden stake which is attached to a legend in Vietnam history. General Tran Hung Dao ordered his soldiers to hide a lot of wooden stakes under the Bach Dang River when the tide rose which turned into a trap when the tide receded and defeated the boats of invaders. The cave is where the soldiers hide the wooden stakes in the fight.

Featuring 5,000 sqm, Dau Go is among the large caves in Halong Bay. Unlike many other hidden caves, Dau Go has a wide entrance with a height of 12 meters and a width of 17 meters. That brings lots of sunlight and preferable moisture for vegetation growth. The cave includes 3 chambers connected by a small path. Naturally beautiful stalactites and stalagmites become more splendid thanks to the system of shimmering and fanciful color lights. The rich flora creates a cool, fresh, and peaceful space for visitors.

Cruises:

  • Day cruises
Map
Me Cung Cave
Photo: @lovesky_park / Instagram
Activities:
  • Hiking
  • Sightseeing

Me Cung (which means Maze or Labyrinth) is one of the most ancient and unique caves in Halong Bay. It was explained by a small entrance and narrow tunnels connecting chambers. Located on Lom Bo Island, the cave looks like a museum from the inside and contains many traces of prehistoric man dating back thousands of years, creating not only natural but also cultural and historical value.

After walking through the entrance, visitors will enter a spacious chamber full of giant stalactite and stalagmite columns. The cave partly helps you understand more about the shelter, daily life, and culture of the ancient Ha Long people. Besides, there is a way leading to the Royal Garden where you can see a peaceful lagoon, and to the top of the mountain where you can witness Halong Bay from above and enjoy the fresh atmosphere.

Cruises:

Map
Trinh Nu Cave
Photo: @christina_buen / Instagram
Activities:
  • Hiking
  • Sightseeing
  • Kayaking

Located on Bo Hon Island, Trinh Nu Cave includes 3 compartments connected by narrow paths. The cave boasts stunning stalactites and stalagmites and a breathtaking view. What makes Trinh Nu Cave special is a small natural beach in front of the cave where you can take a deep in emerald seawater.

Besides, Trinh Nu Cave is attached to a legend about the love of a young couple. The girl after refusing a forced marriage because she already has her lover was exiled to the wild island and waited so long for her lover that she turned to stone. When entering the cave, you can see a large rock that resembles a long-haired girl facing the mainland waiting for her lover.

Cruises:

Map

6. Tien Ong Cave

Tien Ong Cave
Photo: @azup76/ Instagram
Activities:
  • Hiking
  • Sightseeing

Tien Ong Cave stands out with a large entrance and spectacular view from the outside to the inside. Measuring around 1,000 sqm, Tien Ong Cave consists of 2 chambers separated by a high stone column. Significantly, there is a giant stalactite looking like an old man with long hair and a beard, making it become the cave of "fairy godfather" - the familiar image in Vietnamese perception.

Visitors need to climb up stone steps to reach the entrance which is around 70 meters wide. The cave gradually slopes inwards and is about 50 meters deep. Here, huge sediment layers filled with freshwater snail shells and some primitive stone tools were discovered, making the cave a valuable archaeological relic site in Halong Bay.

Cruises:

Map
Luon Cave
Photo: @eizentravels / Instagram
Activities:
  • Kayaking
  • Sightseeing

Luon Cave is not a dry cave for walking or hiking. Half of the cave is under the water, making it a favorite spot for kayaking or boating activity. Luon Cave is located on Bo Hon Island, just around 1 km from Sung Sot Cave. It is about 4 meters wide, 3 - 4 meters high, and 60 meters long.

Visitors can opt to sit leisurely on a sampan boat rowed by a local or kayak through the cave. It is connected to a serene lagoon where you can relax your mind and immerse yourself in pure nature. With a kayak, it is easier to come closer to the rocky islands and crystal water of the bay. If you are lucky, you can see some monkeys sitting on the cliffs or jumping on the trees. They can come alone or in a group of 3-5 monkeys.

Cruises:

  • Essence Grand
  • Indochine Premium
  • Catherine Cruise
  • Paradise Elegance
  • Ambassador Cruise
  • Athena Luxury
Map
Dark & Bright Cave
Photo: @capella_cruise_official / Instagram
Activities:
  • Kayaking
  • Sightseeing

Located in the Cat Ba Archipelago, Sang-Toi Cave is one of the most beautiful caves in Lan Ha Bay, an extension part around 25 km to the South of Halong Bay. In fact, this area includes 2 separate caves. Dark Cave (Toi Cave) is 100 meters long, narrow, and has limited sunlight. Due to the very low height, the cave can only be visited by kayak when the water level is very low. Otherwise, it is usually submerged in seawater. As a result, to ensure safety, the bay's management board has banned all tourist activities in this cave.

On the other hand, Bright Cave is only half submerged and can be easily visited by kayak or sampan boat. It is shorter than Dark Cave yet larger and has more sunlight. While getting through the cave, visitors can witness the stalactites on the ceiling and feel the quietness and mystery of the cave. After passing by, a tranquil lagoon comes out and you have a chance to see the monkeys, squirrels, birds, and more. In low tides, this area is even more charming with stunning coral reefs in the crystal clear water.

Cruises that visit Dark and Bright Cave:

Map

9. Trung Trang Cave

Trung Trang Cave
Photo: @orchidcruises.halongbay / Instagram
Activities:
  • Hiking
  • Sightseeing

Located in Trung Trang Valley on Cat Ba Island, Trung Trang Cave is usually added to cruise trips in Lan Ha Bay. It was used as a military station by the High Command in the Vietnam War, so it was also called Hai Quan Cave (which means navy). Many traces of the heroic history are still preserved here.

With a length of about 300m, the cave includes a diverse stalactite system with many unique shapes. Besides, it is also home to many animals such as birds, bats, reptiles, and insects. That's why the cave is not set up with too many electrical lights to protect the natural ecosystem.

Cruises:

Map

10. Thien Canh Son Cave

Thien Canh Son Cave
Photo: @gidvietnamtolya / Instagram
Activities:
  • Hiking
  • Sightseeing

Newly discovered in 2010, Thien Canh Son quickly captured the attention of tourists. Belongs to Bai Tu Long Bay, the cave offers the utmost tranquility and pristine beauty. The entrance to the cave is quite small, but after that is a jaw-dropping scenery that you will definitely be surprised by.

Similar to typical caves, Thien Canh Son boasts thousands of years old limestone rocks. Visitors have an opportunity to see stone statues, elephants, seals, lotus flowers, or hanging lamps carved by Mother Nature on exquisite stalactites and stalagmites. From the peak of the cave, a majestic scene of the entire Bai Tu Long Bay must be the highlight.

Cruises:

Map

Best time to visit

Featuring a typical tropical climate of the Northern region, Halong Bay has 4 seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. In general, the weather in Halong is pleasant all year round to pay a visit as each season offers different beautiful scenery. However, the most ideal time to visit the caves is from March to April and October to November.

March to April is Spring with the temperature ranging from 18 - 24°C, the lowest rainfall in the year, and light sunshine. October to November is Autumn with cool temperatures from 23 to 27°C, not as hot as summer and cold as winter. These periods of time are perfect for outdoor activities such as walking and hiking in the cave.

See our guide on the best time to visit Halong bay

Travel tips to have the best cave trip

  • Summer from June to September has lots of sunshine and blue sky which is perfect for sightseeing in Halong. However, there is a higher chance of heavy rains and storms and sometimes it is not very preferable for a cave visit. You can choose June or September which is not yet affected much by rains and storms. The other months are also possible but you should check the weather forecast carefully to book the trip.
  • Summer is the high season for the domestic market. If you want to avoid crowds, you can choose from September to May next year.
  • Some caves may have flat stone steps and ground that are easy to walk on, while some may have rough and slippery steps. Therefore, preparing a suitable pair of shoes is essential. Hiking shoes are recommended.
  • Caves can be very big or small. The paths from one chamber to another can be large or narrow. Some require a climb of around 100 - 200 steps to reach the entrance. If you have any health problems, you should inform the staff to have more details in the instructions.
  • Some other belongings you may need are insect repellent, a hat, sunglasses, long-sleeve shirts, or a light jacket (the temperature in the cave is a bit lower than the outside).
  • While kayaking at underwater caves such as Luon or Sang-Toi Cave, swimwear/shorts are suggested. Phone/camera is not recommended but if you really want to bring them, covering them in a dry bag is necessary.

Questions and Answers (2)

Ask your question
Contact Information
Q
alison thompson 7 months ago
We are travelling to Harlong Bay and staying in accommodation in Harlong Bay. Are there local boats that will take us to Sung Sot cave. Thank you Alison
Reply
Your Reply
No more than 2,000 characters, please.
A
Lan 7 months ago
@alison thompson, Local boats are not available in Halong Bay. Instead, you can hire a private canoe or book a day cruise to visit one of the caves.
0 people found this helpful
Helpful
Halong Bay Cruises & Tours

Explore Halong Bay

Discover the charming and exotic landscapes of Halong bay on an all-inclusive luxury cruise!

Need assistance?

+84 987 246 600 (Whatsapp)
+84 969 606 606 (Whatsapp)
Request a call back
Or Email us

Top cruises in Halong bay

Essence Grand Cruise

Essence Grand Cruise

FROM US$677/person
DAYS 2
Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan

Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan

FROM US$180/person
DAYS 2
Ambassador Cruise

Ambassador Cruise

FROM US$180/person
DAYS 2
Capella Cruise

Capella Cruise

FROM US$195/person
DAYS 2
Indochine Premium Cruise

Indochine Premium Cruise

FROM US$385/person
DAYS 2