Hang Sung Sot - The Cave of Surprises.

Hang Sung Sot (Sung Sot Cave) – The Cave of Surprises.
(Halong Bay, North Vietnam)

Vietnam has many attributes of history within it. To name a few, it has ancient culture, a history of warfare and military activities, geographical and topographical variety and the UNESCO world heritage wonder – the Halong Bay, with a unique feature of numerous limestone karsts emerging from the sea bed appearing like, what the legend has, the dragon’s teeth.

Tourists have to take a cruise boat to sail through the karst infested lake of sea water. These karsts big as well as small are also called islands. It is on one such island named Bo Hon that the Cave of Surprises is located. This was discovered by a French man in 1901 (the French have a deep rooted connection with the Vietnamese. But that’s another story) and opened to tourism some 92 years later on.

The Hang Sung Sot is another limestone cave that the geology masters call ‘solutional cave’. This cave presents a wonderful photo opportunity to the tourists. The beauty of the cave is the formation by calcium deposits of stalactites and stalagmites. And when these formations meet from floor to roof they present an ornamental design of natural pillars and walls. The colour lighting gives the inside of the cave a magical appearance.

The stalactites are icicle like strands / structures hanging from the roof of a cave. These structures are calcium salts deposited by dripping water. The stalagmites are the structures of the same chemical composition rising from the bed of a cave. Currently, no water was visible dripping from anywhere in the cave except for a small pool of accumulated crystal clear water just inside of the entrance with the stalactites hanging like a curtain in a semi circular formation.
(Clear water pool near the entrance with curtain like stalactites)
Atleast three parts of the cave are widely spacious with the roof heights equal to a three storey building at the highest point. The last part of the cave near the exit is hugely spacious.

They allowed us 45 minutes to get through the cave and reach back the jetty where small motor boats were moored to ferry the passengers to the cruiser boat anchored away in deep waters. But the cave is so enchantingly a photographer’s delight that when I came out there was no one at the jetty waiting for me. I was 40 minutes late.

Meanwhile, a well wisher on the cruiser which had already started sail to the next destination, reported me as missing. Then the crew did the head count and rushed a boat for me. I was picked up from the jetty and had a pleasant ride on the small boat for about 30 minutes enjoying light showers and mist, and photography, of course.

By the time I reached the cruiser, it had anchored near the Pearl Island but they were all waiting for me. The next time when we disembarked to explore another island the caretaker made it a point to put a pretty thing on toes behind their photographer guest so that he was not lost a second time.

Vietnamese dames are real beauties.

 - Raj

(Hugely spacious last part of the cave)

visited March 2017