Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave) is situated in the center of Halong Bay's heritage zone. It lies on the Bo Hon Island group and is surrounded by the Bo Nau Cave, Me Cung Cave, Luon Cave and Ti Top Island. The cave was discovered by the French in 1901 and named Grotte des surprises (Cave of the surprise). It has been known as the widest and the most famous cave of the Bay.
Sung Sot Cave covers an area of 12,200 square meters. There are thousands of stalactites and stalagmites along the 500-meter paved passage. Lamp posts line the passage and illuminate the amazing scenery. Spotlights of varied colors are placed in such a way to be unobtrusive and add to the enchantment of the grotto.
From the wharf, you climb 50 steep stone stairs to the mouth of the first grotto, which lies 25 m above the sea level. Going down some 10 stone stairs, you reach the mouth of a second grotto. The path to Sung Sot is quite steep and is lined with shady trees. There are two partitions in the cave. The first one is similar to a theater hall with many stalactites hanging from the ceiling, which is approximately 30 meters high.
A narrow passage leads to the second chamber, where a flow of natural light bathes the surfaces of the cave. The light filters in from above, through a large opening, creating a natural skylight. This opening also serves as the exit from the cave. The formations in the chamber take the form of sentries conversing with one another, animals in varying poses etc. In the middle of the chamber stands a formation which resembles a general surveying his troops.
At the deepest point of the second chamber, a “royal garden” appears with a clear pond and a fascinating landscape of mountains. Many birds and plants (benjamin figs, cycads and centenary banyan trees) live here. On nice days groups of monkeys might arrive in search of fruit. Walking through the cave ones imagination can run wild conjuring up all kinds of fantastic creatures and fanciful creations.
At the side of the entrance, the rock seems to form the shape of a horse with a long sword. Legend says, after having defeated the An aggressors, Thanh Giong (the Saint Giong) helped the population to chase away evil spirits and demons. After this feat, Saint Giong flew to heaven, leaving a stone horse and sword to continue to keep the demons away. Sung Sot Cave is typical for karst caves on Halong Bay and has high scientific value in the field of geology.
Sung Sot Cave is typical for karst caves on Halong bay and has extreme value in the field of geology, which makes it suitable for both of visiting and researching.