Situated in the centre of the UNESCO-declared World
Heritage area, the Sung Sôt or Surprise Grotto is on
Bo Hòn Island, and is one of the finest and widest
grottoes of Ha Long Bay.
Ascending to the grotto, the way is covered by trees
and foliage, and consists of great paved stone
Inside, it is partitioned into two chambers; the
first one being similar to a wide theatre hall. Many
stalactites hang from the high ceiling, with
numerous possible forms and shapes.
A narrow passage leads to the second rooms, where a
flow of light meets visitors. The chamber is so
immense it could contain thousands of people at one
At the deepest point of the grotto, a "royal garden"
appears with a clear pond and a seemingly
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.
It is situated in the central tourism centre of the
bay, as well as Ti Tup Beach, Bô Nâu Grotto, Mê Cung
Grotto and Luun Grotto. French named it "grotte des
surprises" (grotto of surprise)
From the wharf, you climb 50 steep stone stairs to
the mouth of the grotto, which lies 25 m above the
sea level. Going down some 10 stone stairs, you
reach the mouth of a grotto. The grotto covers some
10,000 m2. Inside the grotto there have thousands of
stalactites and stalagmites along the 500-meter
paved passage. Light posts line the passage and
serve as signposts and ornaments. The lighting
system with elegant styles adds more charm to the
beauty of the grotto.
Up in the 30-meter roof of the grotto, one can
figure out small, soft and even concave spots, which
look like patterns in the ceiling of a theater. A
huge piece of stone stands up to the ceiling by the
grotto’s mouth. This evidences one of the typical
karst-style grottoes with high scientific values.
At the side of the entrance, the rock seems to form
the shape of a horse with a long sword. Legend has
it, that after having defeated the Ân aggressors,
Thánh Gióng (the Saint Gióng) helped the population
to chase away evil spirits and demons. After this
feat, Saint Gióng flew to heaven, leaving a stone
horse and sword to continue to keep the demons away.