Situated in the heart of World Heritage Halong Bay, Sung Sot Cave is one of the main reasons why we should visit Northern Vietnam at least once in your lifetime. Behold and see this magnificent Sung Sot cave (Surprise cave) in Things to do in Halong Bay & Halong Bay Cruises

sung sot cave

Take a look at Sung Sot Cave

1. Highlights of Sung Sot (Surprise) Cave you can’t miss out

  • Seeing magnificent stalactites and stalagmites inside 10,000 m2 area of Surprise Cave
  • Admire spectacular landscapes on the top of Sung Sot cave
  • Briefly understand the folk story of Giong (one of the four Immortals in Vietnam’s religious beliefs)

2. Best time to visit Sung Sot Cave Halong Bay Vietnam?

You can visit anytime around, but I wanna give you some information to avoid the crowd.

There are 2 peak seasons in Sung Sot cave Halong Bay: June to July (lots of Vietnamese and Asian tourists) and December to February (with many European, American and other tourists coming from the temperate zone).

Therefore, April to May and August to October may be more enjoyable. But there are few notes you wanna notice here:

  • From August to October, prices are higher in some services. Make sure you book the cruise early to save your preferred slot with an ideal price.
  • From April to May, peak time is 30th April (Reunification Day), 1st May (International Workers’ Day). This time, Halong Carnaval is organized for tourists every year, with colorful street festivals in Halong city. It’s great but you can’t avoid the crowd these days.
  • Other rush time is Tet Holiday (Lunar New Year in Jan/Feb, dates vary), Christmas season and Independence Day September 2nd. You can see many Vietnam flags on the way to Sung Sot cave in Independence Day.

I can say the ideal time to visit Surprise cave is 8 to 9 am and 4 to 5 pm.

And because so many people do sightseeing here, the weekend is not a good time. You may wanna take a trip on weekdays to avoid waiting in long lines and a big crowd.

Sung Sot cave is a one-way route, so you had better visit when there are not so many people, to make sure you don’t miss out on its glorious beauty.

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sung sot view

Surprise Cave will make you go WOW

3. How to get to Surprise Cave – Sung Sot Cave in Halong Bay?

Before reaching out to Sung Sot Cave, you need to be in Halong Bay. Depending on where you are right now, I can suggest you choose suitable routes and transports.

From Hanoi to Halong Bay

It’s up to your preferred transport, your budget, your plan and your time. A wide range of options including in this comparison table gives you a general look into each type.

from hanoi to halong

For more detailed, check out HANOI TO HALONG | Best Way To Go To Halong Bay 

sung sot cave trip

Make your trip in Halong Bay memorable

From Ho Chi Minh City to Halong Bay

If you are in Ho Chi Minh City right now, I suggest booking a flight from Tan Son Nhat airport to Cat Bi Airport (Hai Phong). There are 3 choices for you to book a flight: Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air and Jetstar Pacific Airline. It also depends on your budget, because Vietnam Airlines ticket is more expensive.

It’s about 60 km from Cat Bi airport to Halong Bay. According to many people, the fastest, most convenient transport to go to is the taxi. The price is about 7,000 VND/km.

From Halong Bay to Sung Sot cave

There are many cruises offering you a journey to Surprise cave and many destinations. If you have a low budget, don’t worry! General visiting around Halong Bay ticket price is only 120,000 VND, and you need to pay 30,000 – 50,000 VND more to drop by famous destinations along the route

With Sung Sot cave. the entrance fee is 50,000 VND.

One note: time for this trip is from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm

sung sot cave halong

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If you don’t wanna think too much, AZ Local Trip also offers a trip going through the Sung Sot Cave.

Hanoi – Halong Bay 4 days tour will be one of the most memorable experiences when you are in Vietnam!

4. Why Sung Sot Cave is a must-see destination in Halong Bay?

The unique rock formation is one feature that you can’t find anywhere the same structure as Sung Sot cave. Thousands of stalagmites, stalactites in broad area 10,000 m2 will surprise you at any moment when you are inside as its name (Surprise Cave).

The route leading to Sung Sot Cave is full of the canopy of leaves. Trekking through steep stone steps, you may feel like climbing on mountains and being excited as if we are hiking to the sky.

Sung Sot Cave is divided into two main areas.

First impression about Sung Sot Cave: Surprise!

Into the first area, we have the experience like going into an immersive theater. Stalactites and stalagmites on the ceiling look like a silky “velvet carpet” or a myriad of glowing chandeliers. Welcome to the illusory world of imagination!

Our first impressions about 30m high Sung Sot cave Halong Bay are sticky-shaped incisions as if they are beautified with foam, Near Surprise cave entrance, you can see majestic stone blocks rising from the ground to the ceiling. If you are interested in exploring nature, visit Sung Sot cave Vietnam, one of the typical karst caves, with high geological values.

Setting foot inside, at the first moment, we probably think that Sung Sot cave is only that small. A few minutes later, we realize our first perception was not true when we pass through a rocky slot. Now we are surprised by extensive expansion inside.


Surprise with lively landscapes inside 

Go further, in the second area, we are in a totally different space in comparison to the first one. What’s the difference? It can accommodate thousands of people.

Catering to tourists, paving stones extend 500m long from the cave entrance to the end. On two sides, they decorate illuminated street lamp posts, besides the lighting system with sparkling patterns.

Deeply inside Sung Sot Cave, many surprising landscapes wait for us to explore. Stalactites are in various and special shapes: ancient banyan tree having prolific foliage,  dinosaurs,…

sung sot view

Reaching to the highest peak of Surprise cave, you open your great chance to admire gorgeous landscapes of the royal garden, clear water lakes, the biodiversity of trees and birds living here. Sometimes monkeys drop by Surprise cave to find fruits and foods, making us feel more eager and excited with the lively rhythm of Sung Sot Cave Halong bay.

Sung Sot Cave has been showing tourists many surprising things as its name implies. Having glorious beauty, in 2012, Sung Sot Cave recognized as one of the 10 most beautiful caves in the world by the Association of Tour Operators and Travel Agencies of Czech. It promises to be a fascinating attraction in Halong Bay.

The legendary story about Giong

Not to mention, we have many legends about stalactite and stalagmites. The most representative stalactite is the one next to the entrance ‘horse and a longsword’. Legend told us that: After winning over the enemy, Giong (one of the four Immortals in Vietnam’s religious beliefs) helped people here chase ghosts. When the soul of Giong flew to the sky, he left the longsword and precious horse to reassure people could drive away from the monster.

There are also many natural spots that folk people relate to the traces of Giong after defeating the enemy: Giong and his horse footprints become pretty little ponds and many large rocks crumble.

Why the name Surprise Cave was born?

Before, when French tourists visited here, they astonish with sublime beauty and the huge expansion of this area (about 10,000 m2). Someone exclaimed “Grotto des Surprises”, which means ‘a cave of the surprising things’. That’s why we have the name Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave) nowadays.

These are reasons why Sung Sot Cave is among must-see attractions in Halong Bay. Thousand of tourists from Cruise Halong Bay visit here every day.

sung sot cave journey

5. Tips for your Sung Sot Cave tour

A suitable pair of shoes for trekking

It is slightly slippery at times so make sure you have a pair of good-walking shoes.

Wear light, airy clothes

Sung Sot cave is surprisingly hot and humid. Wear light, airy clothes if you are here in the summer! (May to September)

Walk a lot!

As I said before, Sung Sot cave is a one-way route so you just have to climb until the end. It’s much better if you don’t have knee problems and totally enjoy the Surprise cave trip. In case you have some problems during your journey, there are many staff ready to support you anytime you need so don’t need to worry much!

Once again, you had better be ready to walk up and down steep rocky stairs!

Lookout point for view

Another funny thing when you are on the top is to see how small other people are, also how high we have climbed.
On the top, there is also a lookout point for you to stop and contemplate the scenery. Awesome!