Part 2 of the Ha Long Bay posts:
According to our guide, Ha Long Bay was named from the legend of its creation – a dragon came down from the heavens and created the islands and islets, hence “bay where the dragon descended”. Hang Sung Sot (Sung Sot Cave), or “cave of surprises”, was named when the first explorers found it to be surprisingly gigantic and full of beautiful formations that have remained well-preserved. It’s very tourist-friendly with pathways and stairways built up to and through the main cave room, and over recent years there’s been an addition of coloured lights which made it all the more splendid.
I recognised some formations and rock types from school and visiting the Jenolan Caves back in New South Wales, but was amazed at how diverse the many patterns and shapes in the cavern were. It was surprisingly warmer inside the cave than out which I welcomed, but then again there were hundreds of other tourists there (many loud..).
But more majestic than the cave is the view you get from climbing up to the exit of the cave. You just have to see it for yourself, the photographs do it no justice! There’s a look0ut at the very top (easy to walk up to before heading down to the jetty) and I could’ve sat there for hours. Unfortunately we were shepherded along after a only a few minutes so that the next batch of tourists could do the same (SIIIGHHHH). Handmade and locally sourced souvenirs are also sold there.
It’s clearly a very popular place and I’m sure many tours to Ha Long Bay include a visit here, but I wonder if locals/backpackers might know of another quieter cave/island to visit instead. It would’ve been amazing to have some quiet time in a place like that!
Last part of my Ha Long Bay trip coming soon 🙂