After a relaxing night onboard our cosy boat it’s an early start to beat the crowds to one of Ha Long Bay’s most famous caves.
We’re heading towards Surprise Cave that was discovered by the French in 1901.
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.
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.
It’s so big that it really does feel like another world. As you look at it, you could be mistaken for thinking you’d landed on some alien planet.
In the misty distance below you can see an eye-catching rock formation that thrusts into the air.
It 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 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.
After toiling away in the darkness we then take the vertiginous climb up Mount Ti Top for some truly amazing views across the bay.
If you’ve ever seen a picture of Halong Bay, probably it was taken from the top of Ti Top Island.
While it is a (very) steep climb of a few hundred steps to the observation deck on the summit of Ti Top mountain that reveals a panoramic view of Ha long Bay – it is still definitely worth the effort.
The 360° view is nothing short of breathtaking and you can spend an hour or more at the summit viewing and photographing Ha long Bay.