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Cave In Halong Bay: Top 6 Must-visit Destinations

Halong Bay is the leading tourist destination in Vietnam and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The breathtaking splendor of this landscape is contributed by an impressive collection of numerous limestone islets/islands and majestic caves. One of the most popular activities in any Halong Bay cruise’s itinerary is cave visiting. This article presents a selective list of 6 most well-known caves in Halong Bay that are worth your exploration at least once in your lifetime.

Sung Sot Cave (Surprising Cave) – The largest cave in Halong Bay

Sung Sot Cave in Halong Bay
Sung Sot Cave features a giant space with majestic stalactites

The origin of the cave name

Sung Sot Cave is the largest, most famous, and most visited cave in Halong Bay. The cave was first found in 1901 by French travelers and called Grotte Des Surprises (The Cave of Surprises) in a travel book established in 1938. Despite a small gate, the cave dazzles visitors with its giant inner space, which probably explains the “Surprising” name.

Highlights of the cave

The path to Sung Sot Cave is under lush of tree’s shadows. Walking through steep rock stairs, tourists may have the feeling of climbing on mountains and experience the excitement as if they are walking to the sky. The cave covers a 10,000-square-meter area, with a 30-meter height and a 500-meter-long passage.

The cave consists of two partitions: the outer and the inner. The first one looks like a theater hall with thousands of stalactites hanging on the ceiling. A narrow tunnel leads to the second chamber, where there is a flow of natural light glittering. The light is filtering from above, through a large opening natural skylight, this opening route is also the exit way from the cave. The bottom of this chamber is a “royal garden” with a pond and a fascinating landscape of small mountains along with living birds and plants.

Entering the second chamber through a small tunnel, visitors can indulge in a completely different space which can accommodate thousands of people. Beside the entrance is a horse made from stone standing next to a long sword. According to an ancient myth, Thanh Giong (also called Phu Dong Thien Vuong) – a mythical folk hero of Vietnam’s history, defeated An invaders. Later on, after helping the residents to expel demons, he left the horse and the sword in order to reassure people and banish demons and back to the sky. It is said that there are still many remains and sceneries in the Cave proving the brutal battles between Thanh Giong and invaders. Especially, the footprints of the horse became small ponds along with crumbled rocks.

Thien Cung Cave (Paradise Cave) – The most primitive cave in Halong Bay

Mysterious beauty of Thien Cung Cave
Such heaven-like scenery in Thien Cung Cave

Thien Cung Cave is rated as the most primitive cave in Ha Long Bay and the longest dry cave in Asia. It features a magnificent system of stalactites and stalagmites bearing unique shapes. The cave has a width of about 10,000m2 with a very complex structure, including a number of levels and compartments with very high and wide ceilings and walls.

The origin of the cave name

The cave is believed to be related to a legend about an ancient Dragon King, who defeated invaders and returned to his cave, refusing to be awarded. Afterward, Dragon Prince married to a girl named May. The wedding took place inside the cave with the visit of many dragons, huge pythons, and giant eagles. Wandering around the Northside, you can see the scene engraved on the wall and stones. That is the reason for the cave’s name – Thien Cung Cave (which means “Heaven Palace”).

Highlights of the cave

Behind a narrow door is a tremendously huge space, which definitely fascinates first-time travellers. The East of Thien Cung Cave is a giant picture naturally gifted with images of characters in ancient fairy tales. The Northern cave will attract a lot of attention with the image of fairies dancing and singing.

The center of the cave consists of four huge pillars carved in a variety of strange shapes from the bottom to the top of the pillar, such as people’s daily activities, birds, flowers, etc. The legend tells that this is where the Dragon Price and his wife gave birth to 100 children, who split to explore new areas of Vietnam, forging pathways and forming new villages with their mother while the other half continue to guard the Bay. These children are told to be Vietnamese ancient origin. Leaving the cave, an impressive vantage point that overlooks the whole Bay is waiting for you to admire.

Dau Go Cave (Wooden Head Cave) – An ecologically rich cave in Halong Bay

Dau Go Cave in Halong Bay
The primitive and sublime beauty of Dau Go Cave

Dau Go Cave was created in the Pleistocene epoch about 2 million years ago and is considered the biggest and most beautiful grotto in Halong Bay. This cave is about 5,000 m2 wide with a 17m-wide and 12m-high door as well as a 27m-above-sea-level height. Exploring Dau Go Cave, tourists seem to indulge in such ancient, pristine, and extremely tranquil beauty.

The origin of the cave name

The name of Dau Go cave is formed in association with 3 different explanations. According to the first theory, Dau Go cave was originally named Giau Go (Hidden Wood) because in the resistance against the Nguyen Mong invaders in the 13th century, the cave was the location where Tran soldiers hid wooden stakes before bringing it to place under the Bach Dang River. Regarding the second theory, Dau Go islands have a quiet area in front of Dau Go Cave, so fishermen often gathered there and repaired their boats. Therefore, there are many blocks of wood left, resulting in the name of Dau Go. The third theory explains that Dau Go Island is like a giant log from far away, leading to the cave name as Dau Go.

Highlights of the cave

From the outside, the cave’s gate is filled with an emerald hue featuring a jellyfish-like shape. With a dome height of 25 meters, Dau Go Cave looks like a mysterious waterfall encompassing hundreds of stalactites. Your eyes will be treated to a magnificent world of stalactites and stalagmites presented in a wide range of unique sizes and shapes. At the cave’s dome lies a giant picture of multi-stalagmite creatures for your ultimate imagination.

The cave consists of three main compartments. Coming to the first area, you may discover a system of stalactites with various images such as lions, pythons, cocks, etc. The second one has a spectacular picture of rocky islands in the water waves. The last area is characterized by an image of giant stone pillars that are pretty and soft. There is also a fresh lake at the end of the cave.

Compared to many other caves in Halong Bay, Dau Go cave is more unique with a rich flora and fauna system. Thanks to the wide opening and high humidity of the cave, along with the effects of the sun’s rays, a rich ecosystem of plants such as moss, poplar trees, and woody plants have developed.

Luon Cave – A uniquely arch-shaped cave in Halong Bay

Sitting on a bamboo boat in Luon Cave
Sitting on a bamboo boat in Luon Cave

The origin of the cave name

Luon Cave is one of the most unique caves in Halong Bay encompassing the self-contained lake inside a closed arch-shaped mountain. This is a closed island group, which reaches the sea only by a 4m width, 3m height, and 100m length. The fresh lake in the cave is surrounded by four mountains, about 1 km2 wide. The cave connects to the ocean with a “tunnel” water cave. To get inside, travellers have to row a kayak or take a bamboo boat rowed by a local. This special structure of the cave may result in its name as “Luon”.

Highlights of the cave

Luon Cave is 60m long and 2,5m – 4m tall depending on the tidal wave’s height. The cave attracts tourists from all over the world thanks to such picturesque and pristine charms featuring a stiff cliff, a peaceful green lake like a mirror throughout the year-long, and an impressive stalagmite system. The natural scenery is a splendid combination of great mountains, blue sky, emerald water, green plants, and fresh air.

Inside the closed cave exists a diverse ecosystem of lush plants, giant trees, fragrant orchids, monkeys, and a rich marine life underwater. It is believed that there was village life here based on the discovery of fossilized freshwater shells on the grotto’s wall.

A tour of the cave exploration takes about 20 minutes. However, you should spend time on Kayaking to enjoy the tranquility and magnificent beauty of the landscape to the fullest.

Trong Cave (Male Cave) – A well-known romantic legend

Trong Cave in Halong Bay
Alluring and huge stalactites with strange shapes in Trong Cave

Trong Cave is famous for not only the unique beauty of stalactites but also a love legend with the opposite cave, Trinh Nu Cave (Virgin Cave).

The origin of the cave name

It is said that there was a woman falling in love with a fisherman but her parents forced her to marry another wealthier man. She did not accept her parents’ request so she escaped to a cave on the sea (Trinh Nu Cave) to wait for the fisherman. When hearing this news, the fisherman went to the sea to find her but the storm hit his boat into Trong Cave. They could not reach each other although they heard each other’s voices and drums. Finally, they both died in despair and the fisherman changed into a high stalactite column in Trong Cave (means “male” in English). Nowadays, local fishermen said that on heavy rainy night when they passed the Trong Cave, they could hear the sound of the wind blowing through the cliff sounding like a drum (means “Trong” in Vietnamese).

Highlights of the cave

In front of the entrance of Trong Cave appears an eye-catching huge stalactite column that stands straight. It is believed to represent the fisherman in the legend. The most outstanding highlight of this cave feature a fascinating collection of stalactites and stalagmites formed in various shapes. Trong Cave comprises two large gates connected East-West through two cliffs. The silvery stalactites hanging down in the Eastern gate created a glamorous scenery here. Standing in the cave, tourists may feel the wind blowing into the rock, echoing back to the wall, making a sound like a drum sound.

Me Cung Cave (Maze Cave) – One of the most complex caves in Halong Bay

A complex structure of Me Cung Cave
A mysterious complex structure inside Me Cung Cave

Me Cung Cave was identified by archaeologists as one of the early Ha Long cultural sites, from 7,000 to 10,000 years ago. Perched on the slope of a mountain, Me Cung Cave is about 25 meters above sea level. From afar, Me Cung Cave’s entrance looks like a house deep into the mountainside.

The origin of the cave name

The inside cave features a very complex structure, divided into many levels, compartments, and areas with an over-100m-long corridor. The name of Me Cung Cave may be inspired by its complicated interior structure with various partitions and narrow space. Entering the cave, tourists might have a feeling as if they were getting lost in a splendid maze.

Highlights of the cave

The entrance of Me Cung Cave is so small that it can fit only one person. However, the inside space of this cave is quite large and divided by limestone walls. Along the 100-meter path of Me Cung Cave, there are stalagmites and stalactites which are similar to the chandeliers and curtains of a marvelous palace. At the exit of Me Cung Cave lies Me Cung Lake, located on an airtight island surrounded by imposing mountains. This includes a world of creatures such as fish, shrimp, crabs, squid, etc. as well as algae, corals, and sea cucumbers, which develop the raising of many special animal and plant species in Ha Long Bay.

In addition to such magnificent and unique beauty, Me Cung Cave is also famous for the geological and historical values discovered inside the cave. On the limestone walls of the cave, there are the remaining sediments of many sea creatures that existed millions of years ago. Moreover, according to studies, scientists recognized the life of prehistoric humans in Halong during the stone age. 

Overall, each cave in Halong Bay features unique and splendid characteristics that all mesmerize visitors. You can choose your favorite destination(s) and find a cruise that includes these caves in its itinerary. For example, if you love exploring Sung Sot Cave, Luon Cave, or Trong Cave, Ambassador Cruise offers such spectacular experiences. This article is expected to help first-time travellers have better knowledge of Halong Bay caves and make a suitable plan for your upcoming trip to this Natural Wonder Site.