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Surprise Cave, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam – part 1 of 2

By on September 10, 2015 in Vietnam

On the last day of my cruise around Ha Long Bay I visited the Surprise Cave.

The cave system was discovered by two French women in 1904 and they were so surprised by it that they called it the Surprise Cave. However, I suspect the cave had been long known by the local inhabitants of Ha Long Bay, and therefore it most probably has a local name.

The cave system consists of 3 chambers with the second and third being much larger than the first..

The cost to get in is 50,000 Vietnamese Dong (£1.80 GBP; $2.25 USD), and this cost was included in cruise. We were also provided with a guide who was very good, and told us a lot about the different shapes that could be observed in the cave, and how they related to local myths. Also saw a Golden Orb spider on the way out of the cave system.

I did like the warning sign as I approach the cave! The sign was needed as it was a very steep climb up to the entrance of the cave.

Suprise Cave Ha Long Bay

The view from the cave back into the bay was stunning. It also made me realise just how many tourists come to the bay as I could count at least six bay cruise ships, with a few more around the corner, and numerous ferry boats bringing tourists to the cave.

Suprise Cave Ha Long Bay

The first view inside the cave was a little disappointing for two reasons – first the chamber was very small and not that impressive, second the place was heaving with tourists.

Suprise Cave Ha Long Bay

It was unreal just how many people seem to be in the cave. It made me realise just what a popular tourist attraction Ha Long Bay is.

Suprise Cave Ha Long Bay

I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not the water dripping off the ceiling in the caves was in fact rainwater that had worked its way down through the rocks, or whether or not it was condensed sweat.

The entrance to the second and third chambers was up some steps and through a small opening in the far right of the first chamber.

Suprise Cave Ha Long Bay

The second and third chambers of the cave system were massive. They were spectacular with magnificent rock formations.

The interior of the cave was well maintained with good pathways and good lighting.

However, the use of coloured lighting in some places was a little over the top and gave the place to feel the Disney theme park.

Suprise Cave Ha Long Bay

Suprise Cave Ha Long Bay

The rock formations were impressive. And again it made me think about just how powerful the action of water on rock can be.

Suprise Cave Ha Long Bay

Suprise Cave Ha Long Bay

The use of strong colour lighting did give the place an odd feel.

Suprise Cave Ha Long Bay

The image below really gives you a feeling and sense of scale of the place. Look at the small figure in the centre of the photograph.

Suprise Cave Ha Long Bay

Suprise Cave Ha Long Bay

Suprise Cave Ha Long Bay

One surprise in the Surprise Cave was the graffiti on one of the rocks. Clearly in French, and claiming to be from 1904 – the year the cave was “discovered” by the two French women.

Suprise Cave Ha Long Bay

The caves were impressive.

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Nick's continued wanderings can be followed on Twitter: @nickswanderings.
 

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