Hạ Long Bay is nothing less than a magical gem of the beautiful country Vietnam, and it is full of incredible surprises. One such is the Sửng Sôt, a.k.a. surprising caves. Home to the largest and most renowned limestone karst grotto located on Bo Hon Island, these amazing caves are bestrewn with stalactites and stalagmites.
Formed approximately 500 million years ago, these limestone formations are now a picturesque beauty. The stalactites and stalagmites, which decorate the caves have been formed after thousands of years of gradual dripping. The name surprising caves is because when Frenchmen visited the place for the very first time in the early 1990s, they were awed by the majestic beauty of the place, and hence the name.
Our cruise was docked nearby the caves, and it was a boat ride of 2-3 minutes. The view from the dock was spell-binding. A perfect amalgamation of glazing blue waters, greenery all around, it was a sight to behold.
On reaching the dock of the island, we had to climb approx 50 steps to reach the mouth of the cave. The steps are uneven and eroded by nature, and surrounded by plants and bushes all around, giving this place a magical vibe.
Even though it was extremely hot, and the climbing the stairs added more to it, it was the excitement to see the famous surprising caves that kept us going.
Finally we reached the mouth of the cave. It comprises of 2 caverns which are home to the flowstones, stalactites, stalagmites forming through millions of years. The first cave is a small one and a small ray of light piercing through it makes it even more spellbinding. Not hampered by human intervention, it is altogether a different world.
On reaching the first cave, it initially appeared to be small and dark, but after passing the rocky entrance, the caves turned out be quite big. Home to limestone formations that, it was formed millions of years ago due to the tectonic plates movement and change in weather patterns, the largest caves of Ha Long Bay was created. The caves have artificial lights installed in them, else it will be impossible to see inside.
The second cave which is connected via a passageway to the first one is enormous such that it can hold thousands of people in it. Adorned with the limestone formations in interesting and strange shapes, these caves are something I had never witnesses before.
Decorated with the unison of the stalactites and stalagmites extending from ceiling and floor, this cave expedition was an experience in itself. The sun rays gelled up with the colours of the caves along with the artificial lightning inside, it created a palette of itself giving a mystic vibe.
And if one thinks that nothing more magical can be seen here, wait to see the view outside the caves because it is going to surely blow one’s mind. When we reached the highest peak of the caves, the view of the bay was too perfect. In my opinion, no adjective or fancy phrase can do justice to this place.
Now, if you think that caves were the only place that this island had to offer, then there was one surprise next to the surprising caves, a small yet serene man-made flax-gold beach. On the opposite of the caves with close 20-25 steps, the small yet beautiful beach lies.
We went to this island when the sun was at its prime, but the glaring sun rays falling on the sand and water added a glistening effect, which made the place picturesque. All in all, the heat was worth it!
The neon blue sky with towers of radiant light soaked the sea with their beauty. Nothing much to do, and due to scorching sun, we stayed for a couple of minutes. This beach was the last spot of the island, and then we were back at our cruise with the beautiful memories to cherish.
If you are planning to visit these majestic caves, please keep a few things in mind:
1. Wear shoes with good grip as way to the caves in rocky, and last thing that one wants is being uncomfortable while climbing.
2. Since it is extremely hot there, carry a small water bottle as you’ll get nothing while you are the island.
3. Wear light and breezy clothes so that one doesn’t feel suffocated.
4. And lastly, have ample of fun and enjoy the wonder of Hạ Long Bay.
It takes 15km to the South is a part of Vietnam culture by a countryside to visit some local house and learn more the handicraft still working. From Conical Hat (the symbol of Vietnam women) to making Noodles (as famous by local name "Pho"), see and try how to make rice papers or try to weaving a Mat.
Da Lat's specific sights are pine wood (forming the name: "City of thousands of pine trees") with twisting roads and tree marigold (Vietnamese: dã quỳ) blossom in the winter. The city’s temperate weather stands in contrast to Vietnam's otherwise tropical climate.