Sung Sot Cave: Unraveling Its Hidden Wonders

Sung Sot Cave is a stunning limestone cave located in Halong Bay, Vietnam. Being the largest and most impressive cave area, Sung Sot has been a popular tourist attraction since its discovery in 1901. The cave features huge stalactites and stalagmites, as well as many beautiful rock formations that are illuminated by colored lights. Visitors can explore the cave by boat or on foot, marveling at the incredible natural beauty of the area. In this article, let’s us walk you through the journey to this magnificent attractions!

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Sung Sot Cave is one of the most beautiful caves in Vietnam and a must-visit spot for anyone traveling to Halong Bay. But where exactly is this stunning cave situated? Well, Sung Sot Cave is located on Bo Hon Island, which falls under the jurisdiction of Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province and 25 meters above sea level.

The legend and the original of the name Sung Sot


According to local folklore, Sung Sot Cave holds a tale that dates back centuries.

Centuries ago, Vietnam had been attacked by strong invaders, which made the King and government hard to deal with. The villagers lived in fear of the invaders, who would often come attacked their crops and livestock.

One day, a young boy named Giong (Who later became Thanh Giong – One of the God in Vietnam Ancient Time) appeared in the village riding on an iron horse. He heard about the invaders and decided to put an end to their tyranny. He attacked the invaders and won.

Sung Sot Cave Interior
Sung Sot Cave interior associated with the Legend of Thanh Giong – Image by wirestock on Freepik

The story goes that after he defeated the enemy, Thanh Giong ascended into heaven leaving behind his iron horse which turned into stone and became the island of Hon Heo. The hole in the roof of Sung Sot Cave is said to be where Thanh Giong went up to heaven and small lakes inside the cave was the footprints of his iron horse.

The original of its name


One theory suggests that Sung sot Cave was named by French explorers who were amazed by its size and intricate formations when they found it in 1901. “Sung Sot Cave” roughly translates to “Surprise Cave,” which was likely how the French felt when they first discovered it. Word of the cave’s wonders quickly spread, drawing explorers from far and wide.

Another interpretation comes from local legend, which tells the story of a famous emperor who visited the cave with his wife on their honeymoon. They were so impressed by what they saw that they exclaimed in surprise, leading to the name Sung sot.

the cave is covered with flora and fauna
The name “Sung Sot” means the Cave of Surprise – Source: Internet

Today, Sung Sot Cave stands not only as a testament to geological marvels but also as a symbol of the deep-rooted mythology and world heritage site of Vietnam. It continues to amaze and inspire all who venture within, weaving its own magical tale within the tapestry of Halong Bay’s rich history.


What’s to expect when visiting Sung Sot Cave


A greenery way up to the Cave


You must ascend 50 stairs from the dock area to the entrance of Sung Sot cave in order to get there. The climb up is exciting due to the steepness and narrowness of the stairs. Travelers can take in breathtaking vistas of Halong Bay and the neighboring islands along the trip, which enhances the journey’s beauty. The adjacent areas are lushly vegetated, giving the impression of being surrounded by nature.

greenery way up to the Cave
You’ll have to climb up about 50 steps covered in greenery to get to the Cave – Source: Internet

Unique structure with 2 chambers


As you step into the cave, you’ll be transported into a realm of breathtaking beauty and awe-inspiring formations. One of the cave’s prominent features is its vast chambers, which offer a sense of grandeur and spaciousness. The chambers measure around 10,000 square meters and feature soaring ceilings that reach up to 30 meters high. Along with its impressive height, visitors can’t miss out on admiring the various stalactite and stalagmite formations that adorn every corner of this natural wonder.

The beauty of Sung Sot Cave
The beauty of Sung Sot Cave will keep making you surprise – Source: Internet

Sung Sot Cave is divided into two chambers, which are connected by a narrow passageway. The first chamber is called the “waiting room,” where visitors can see various stalactites hanging from the ceiling and stalagmites rising from the ground. The stalactites and stalagmites within the chambers are among their most captivating highlights.

Carved over millennia by the slow and patient dripping of mineral-rich water, these formations create a stunning visual spectacle. The shapes and sizes vary, resembling intricate sculptures or frozen waterfalls. Each stalactite and stalagmite tells a story of nature’s artistic prowess, showcasing a remarkable range of textures, colors, and patterns.

As you move further into the cave, you will reach the second chamber named “Serene Castle”, which offers an even more impressive sight. Here, there are enormous columns that look like pillars supporting the roof of the cave. Once inside the second chamber of Sung Sot Cave, visitors are awestruck by its sheer size and grandeur.

These formations, with names like “Fairy Dance Hall” and “Rooster and Hen,” evoke vivid imagery and ignite the imagination. The formations resemble different marks of the Sung Sot Cave Legend (which we stated above), such as mythical creatures, human figures, and familiar objects, inviting visitors to interpret their shapes and marvel at nature’s ability to create such intricate and diverse designs.


View point


Last but not least, the panoramic views from the cave’s vantage points are another highlight not to be missed. Gazing out from the openings, you’ll be treated to sweeping vistas of Halong Bay’s picturesque landscape. The combination of the emerald waters, towering limestone karsts, and lush vegetation creates a scene of unparalleled beauty.

View from Sung Sot cave
The magnificent viewpoint in Sung Sot Cave is a highlight should not be missed – Source: Internet

Best time to visit in Sung Sot Cave


You could visit Halong Bay at anytime of the year. However, the best time to visit Sung Sot Cave in Halong Bay is during the dry season, which typically spans from October to April. During this time, the weather is generally pleasant with cooler temperatures and lower humidity. The months of March and April offer comfortable conditions for exploration and photography, as the skies are often clear.

As Sung Sot Cave is located in Halong Bay, You could take a look at our detailed guide about weather and best time to visit Halong Bay in this article: Best time to Visit Halong Bay

How to get there


As it’s located in the middle of the sea, cruise trip is the only way to explore Sung Sot Cave. 

After getting to Halong, you could choose some of the below options to visit Sung Sot:

First choice: Canoeing

Canoeing is the quickest and first choice for reaching Sung Sot Cave. You might rent a canoe at Tuan Chau Marina for 1,200,000 to 1,800,000 VND (USD50 to USD80) per hour. In addition, the entry ticket will cost an additional 290,000VND each person.

Alternative 2: Day boat

Joining a day boat for 6 to 8 hours is another option for saving money. Take Halong Travel Route 2, which includes Sung Sot Cave in addition to Ti Top Island, Beautiful caves like Bo Nau Cave, Me Cung Cave, Trinh Nu Cave, Luon Cave, and other attractions.

This option would cost 290,000 VND (for route 2 tickets), 200,000 VND (for boat rental), and up to 250,000 VND (for an optional lunch).

halong bay cruise
Overnight Cruise is the most convenient way to travel Sung Sot Cave – Photo by Paul Bill on Unsplash

Alternative 3: An overnight cruise

This is the best way to see Halong Bay’s features and Sung Sot Cave. Typically, the package includes a visit to all popular attractions, food while traveling, and transportation. In addition to sightseeing, you could also engage in other exciting water sports like kayaking or swimming.

Each passenger would pay between $100 and $200 for this, which would cover everything plus the transfer from Hanoi to Halong Bay.


To make the most of your visit to Sung Sot Cave, here are some helpful tips:


Plan your visit in advance: Sung Sot Cave is a popular attraction, so it’s advisable to book your tour or boat trip ahead of time, especially during peak tourist seasons, to ensure availability.

Wear appropriate footwear: The cave can be slippery, so wear comfortable shoes with good traction to navigate the uneven terrain safely.

Dress comfortably: The interior of the cave can be cool and damp, so bring a light jacket or sweater to stay comfortable during your exploration.

Bring a camera and extra batteries: Sung Sot Cave offers stunning photo opportunities, so don’t forget to bring your camera or smartphone to capture the breathtaking natural formations. It’s also a good idea to bring extra batteries or a power bank to avoid running out of power.

Respect the environment: As with any natural site, it’s important to respect the surroundings. Follow any guidelines provided by your guide, avoid touching or damaging the formations, and dispose of any waste responsibly.

Stay hydrated: Carry a water bottle with you to stay hydrated during your visit, especially if you’re exploring the cave during warmer months.

Be mindful of other visitors: Sung Sot Cave can get crowded, particularly during peak hours. Respect the space of other visitors and be patient when navigating through the cave.

Go further: Don’t just stop at Sung Sot Cave. Go extra miles to explore many more beautiful attractions of Halong Bay such as: Thien Cung Cave, Lan Ha Bay, or Bai Tu Long Bay. 

By considering these tips and visiting during the optimal time, you can enhance your experience at Sung Sot Cave and fully appreciate its natural wonders in Halong Bay.



Embark on an unforgettable journey of discovery as you unravel the hidden wonders of Sung Sot Cave. Marvel at the awe-inspiring formations, the grandeur of the chambers, and the magical play of light within this natural masterpiece. Explore the depths of Sung Sot Cave and be mesmerized by its extraordinary beauty.


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