Halong Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin, is also called Vinh Ha Long (“Where the Dragon Descends to the Sea”). It is well known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular travel destination. Each year, countless inbound and outbound tourists flocks to this attraction to relax and be close to nature.

Halong Bay is located in Quang Ninh Province, in the northeast of Vietnam, and is 165 km from the capital of Ha Noi. It stretches around 1553 kilometers and its coastline spans 120 kilometers. With 1,600 islands and islets, Halong Bay offers a spectacular seascape of limestone islands, rock formations, and Halong Bay caves. It also has a diverse biodiversity with 450 species of mollusks and over 200 unique types of fish!

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1. Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave)

When it comes to Halong’s cave, it goes without mentioning Sung Sot Cave (Suprise Cave), the largest and most famous cave in Halong Bay. It is located near the heart of Halong Bay, on Bo Hon Island. This striking cave is discovered by the French on an expedition in 1901.

The cave covers an area of 10,000 m2 and has 2 chambers, namely Waiting Room and Serene Castle. The former is dotted with stalactites and stalagmites reflecting the legend and lore of the area while the latter is grand and features interesting rock formations which look like animals’ shapes.

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  • Highlight: the biggest cave in Halong Bay, 2 chambers: “Waiting Room” & “Serene Castle
  • Location: Bo Hon Island.
  • Size: 10 000 m2.
  • Best time to visit: Year-round, but October to December is best.

2. Dau Go Cave (Wooden Stakes Cave)

Dau Go Cave is situated on Dau Go Island and stretches around 5000 square meters. This cave is one of the largest caves on Halong Bay and wins the heart of tourists with its unspoiled beauty and rich history. You must climb 90 rocky steps to reach the mouth of the cave and start your own expedition around the 3 large chambers.

In the past, Dau Go Cave used to function as a shelter for wooden stakes during the Mongol invasion. That’s why it is named Wooden Stakes Cave. Then, the 12th Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty in Vietnam visited the cave and composed a poem to describe its unique beauty. Nowadays, you can still read the poem etched on the left-hand side of the cave.

  • Highlight: has 3 chambers displaying stalactites and stalagmites and historic graffiti
  • Location: Dau Go Island
  • Size: 5000 m2
  • Best time to visit: Year round

3. Thien Cung Cave (Heaven Cave)

Also located on Dau Go Island is Thien Cung Cave, gifted with a primitive charm and has an area of 10 000 m2. Even though the cave’s mouth is narrow and coated by thick jungles, its interior is quite complex with high ceilings.

Particularly, Thien Cung Cave is associated with a romantic legend. The story goes that Thien Cung Cave is home to Dragon King and his Queen. The place has witnessed Dragon King and Queen’s lavish wedding and how they raised 100 children together inside the cave. During the trip, you will be told about this legend in detail and partly understand the appearance and formation of the Cave.

  • Highlights: Ancient home of a Dragon King and his Queen, numerous stalactites and stalagmites with special and strange shapes
  • Location: Dau Go Island
  • Size: 10 000 m2
  • Best time to visit: Year round

4. Me Cung Cave (Maze Cave)

Located on Lom Bo Island, Me Cung Cave (Maze Cave) owns a sublime beauty and is the smallest cave created under the hand of Mother Nature. Historically, this is the oldest cave on Halong Bay and people have found many artifacts of humans from the prehistoric age dating back 7000 to 10 000 years ago. You need to squeeze into the cave as its mouth is extremely narrow and leads to numerous passageways. This brilliant cave only stretches 100 meters long but can definitely satisfy your curiosity about gorgeous stalagmites, stalactites, and winding tunnels.

  • Highlight: one of the oldest caves, also the smallest cave
  • Location: Lom Bo Island
  • Size: 100 meters long
  • Best time to visit: Year round

5. Trinh Nu Cave (Virgin Cave)

Trinh Nu Cave (Virgin Cave) is close to Sung Sot Cave (Virgin Cave), on Bo Hon Island, and deep within the heart of Halong Bay. The cave blends the scenic beauty of Halong Bay with the quaint folklore imprint of Vietnamese heritage – a fanciful love legend. For fishermen, the Virgin Grotto is their house, but for young lovers, it is considered the symbol of true love and is the romantic place for taking the oath of love. There is still a stone with the shape of a girl lying down with her long hair looking out to the sea, waiting for her lover to return.

  • Highlight: one of the finest sunlight-filled caves with an emotional love tale,  a small, ancient pottery vestige in the old Van Don trading system
  • Location: Bo Hon Island
  • Size: about 60 m in length
  • Best time to visit: Year round

6. Luon Cave (Tunnel Cave)

Luon Cave also lies on Bo Hon Island and is 27 meters above sea level. It is believed to be created millions of years ago due to the impact of sea wind and water. The cave is called Luon Cave because it is located along the edge of an imposing mountain and tourists have to take a boat passing the mountain to reach the other side of the cave. While going on the boat, you can enjoy the cool emerald water and limestone pillars. The water also perfectly reflects the blue sky with white clouds, the shade of craggy cliffs, and the green markings of plants. The water surface is relatively gentle, so Luon Cave is ideal for kayak lovers.

  • Highlights: Ideal place for kayaking, a gate opening a wonderland with water and limestone mountains
  • Location: Bo Hon Island
  • Size: 100m in length, 4m in width, and 3m in height.
  • Best time to visit: Year round

7. Tien Ong Cave

If you are worried about the narrow area of the caves above, Tien Ong Cave is a wise choice for you because its mouth is exceptionally wide at 50 meters. The cave is situated on Cai Tai Island and is very close to one of the four famous floating fishing villages: Cua Van. Visitors can enter the entrance and then directly explore a massive area inside (around 1,000 square meters). The interior side of the cave features a block of stalactites resembling an old man with a gentle face, long hair, and beard, thus being named “Tien Ong Cave”. You will be dazzled by your first sight of this stunning and ancient cave.

  • Highlights: wide entrance, there is a block of stalactites in the internal compartment
  • Location: Cai Tai Island, very close to Cua Van Floating Fishing Village
  • Size: almost 1,000 m2
  • Best time to visit: Year round

8. Tips for tourists to enjoy the Halong Bay caves tour the most

To explore Halong Bay’s Caves, these are some tips for you:

  • If you are a social butterfly and enjoy the crowd, Sung Sot, Thien Cung, and Dau Go Caves may fit your taste well because both cruises and overnight cruises visit there in the afternoon.
  • Wearing shoes is preferred because some caves require climbing or hiking a lot. Shoes will help you move easier and safer.
  • Always pay attention to slippery areas such as Sung Sot and Dau Go Caves.
  • Do not bring food and drink on board, especially plastic waste.
  • Do not litter indiscriminately at tourist sites to keep the bay as clean as possible and promote sustainable tourism.

Metta Voyage has just recommended the top 7 fabulous caves on Halong Bay that are definitely worth your visit. Please contact us at [email protected] to get more details and book your fascinating tour of this picturesque attraction.

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