Surprise! This Cave is in Technicolor

Posted by - November 2, 2011 | Category: Asia, Escapes, Vietnam

Hang Sung Sot, Halong Bay, Vietnam

What happens when you take Vegas lights and apply liberally to a natural wonder? Well the result is a little like what’s going on over at Hang Sung Sot, or “Surprise Cave” in Halong Bay, Vietnam.

Hang Sung Sot Surprise Cave

Tarted up like a Russian hooker, or like my friend Lisa back home says, “a tropical fish with a hangover,” Surprise Cave is a massive draw in northern Vietnam.

Streams of day-trippers and Halong Bay cruisers make their way here to catch a glimpse of the stunning stalactites and stalagmites housed within. Lighting aside, Hang Sung Sot is spectacular. Lonely Planet recently named Vietnam as one of their Top 10 destinations for cheap holidays in 2012, and with plenty of inexpensive sights like Surprise Cave to keep you occupied, it’s easy to see why.

Hang Sung Sot Surprise Cave Halong Bay

There are three grottoes within the cave.  The first is the smallest…

Colourful Hang Sung Sot Surpise Cave

Surprise Cave Vietnam

First Cave in Hang Sung Sot Halong Bay Vietnam

Walls of Surprise Cave Vietnam

Cave walls look like clouds, Surprise Cave Halong Bay Vietnam

Colourful walls of Surprise Cave, Halong Bay Vietnam

Surprise Cave Halong Bay Vietnam

Surprise Cave Halong Bay, Vietnam

Sloped ceiling of Surprise Cave Halong Bay Vietnam

Halong Bay Surprise Cave Hang Sung Sot Vietnam

Surprise Cave wall and ceiling Halong Bay Vietnam

Remember our friend Kevin from Cork, Ireland? Some of his friends have been at work here as well. But most of them are his ancestors from the 19th century. Graffiti is hard to escape anywhere you go.

Grafitti in Surprise Cave

Panoramic view of Surprise Cave Halong Bay Vietnam

I expected Cirque du Soleil to descend from the ceiling at any moment.

The Many Colours of Hang Sung Sot Halong Bay Vietnam

Another surprise in this cave – this garbage can doesn’t know if it’s a dolphin, a whale, or a penguin.  Still cute as heck though.

Dolphin meets whale meets penguin garbage can

As you exit Surprise Cave, you are greeted with a sweeping view of Halong Bay.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

So what exactly is the surprise? I’m not going to ruin it for you, but let’s just say that if you’re bringing small children, you may want to shield their eyes.

What are your thoughts on the lighting at Surprise Cave?

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56 comments - add one
  1. Awesome photos man! The lightning was indeed a surprise, but it does allow you take some otherworldly photos! I could had stayed there for a whole day with my camera and a tripod (which I of course didn’t have then).

  2. The lighting is interesting–might not have been my first choice, but I have loved all of the caves I’ve visited–kind of cool that they are all different. And you’re right–thumbs up to the trashcan!

    1. I think it would have been cool to have a more natural lighting, and maybe the glitzy Vegas stuff could make an appearance every 30 mins or so. That would be interesting…

  3. Wow.

    The lights are cool!… makes us curious to how this happens exactly.

    We are eyeing travel to that area in the New Year.

    Thanks!

    Nancy & Shawn

    1. Well you should definitely include Halong Bay and Surprise Cave on your trip! Let me know if you need any Vietnam tips — I was there for well over a month…

  4. I get why most caves (visited by tourists) need to be lit artificially, but I think something a little more understated might highlight the caves natural beauty.

  5. Thanks for posting just about every pic I just likewise shot of “Surprise” Cave. Now when I finally get a chance to post my own blather (am presently in Sapa – and yes, ’tis a tad chilly, but nonetheless fantastic) – all I have to do is post a link to your pics! 😉

    But seriously, Halong was truly singularly awesome. I did a 3 day/2nt. trip and recommend it to fully inhale all that incredible natural wonder (the rainbow lights and penguin trash cans at “Surprise” notwithstanding.) 😉

  6. Loved the “Tropical fish with a hangover” comment. I remember being perplexed by those bins. Is that a penguin? What the hell is a penguin doing in Vietnam?

  7. I tried to comment on this when your post originally aired, but I was somehow pre-empted by your bi-polar site…

    Here goes again:

    The ONLY way this cave could get any better was if there was some old guy wearing a Chester Dawe apron full of coin, walking around yelling “Fifty fifty!! Get yer fifty/fifty tickets here!!” (As per the B.I.S. bingo, circa 1988…)

    Sacrilege, say I….

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