You probably have heard success stories of men reaching the highest mountain, but what about those exploring the depth of the land? Have you ever heard about the biggest cave in the world? Then come to Vietnam and go to Son Doong Cave. This place is so big that it will make you feel like you were in one of those adventurous movies of exploring the centre of the earth. Well, it’s the same experience – and the same thrill too! Be advised that you should be accompanied by the expert when exploring the cave. Don’t be a know-it-all and think you have the guts to do it all by yourself. You may get lost in the nothingness if you do so.
The Hidden Charm
Son Doong Cave is situated in National Park Phong Nha-Ke Bang, right in the Quang Bing Province. The National Park has been listed as one of UNESCO sites that are meant to preserve the natural surrounding and beauty. The cave itself can be found at the centre of this park. The name Son Doong Cave means Mountain River Cave and it was discovered by accident by a local farmer named Ho Khanh in 1990. At that time, he was simply looking for a shelter from the storm.
How big is the cave, really? It stretches around three miles or five kilometres with 200 meters of height (which is around 650 feet). To help you imagine the size of the cave: it can accommodate New York City – every block of it! Get the idea know? What’s cooler is the fact that the cave has its own (localized) weather system – it even has its own cloud! If you want to see one of the greatest and coolest wonders of the world, this place should be included in your wish list.
Collapsed ceilings create a dramatic opening (it’s called dolines) allowing sun rays to pass. It makes the cave has this unique environment because foliage can grow and microscopic organisms survive in the darkness. You should be able to find limestone cave pearls all over the dried pool –while the biggest stalagmite can reach 262 feet (around 80 meters) in height.
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Exploring the Cave
The cave was just opened to the public in 2013 and Oxalis is the adventure tour company that is responsible for the expedition (which usually takes 5 days). One of the ways for the Vietnamese government to protect the cave and preserve its unique environment from mass development (which often leads to mass destruction) is to limit the tour operator –which is given to Oxalis only. The tour company only allows 10 people per departure and the tour itself only runs once a week –and it’s only done between February and August on a yearly basis.
You should be physically fit to take the journey. Within the 5 days expedition, two days of them include intense river crossings and jungle trekking. Be ready to camp inside the cave (naturally!) as well as inside Hang En, the third biggest cave in the world. Don’t be surprised if you are required to swim, crawl, climb, and abseil the underground rivers or cliff. Want some adventure? You’ve got one!
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Reaching the Cave
There is only one village located in the National Park and you need to pass it. You can reach Ban Doong village only by foot because it is in the middle of a dense jungle. There are only 40 people living in the village (even less) and their hardship has been made easy by the cave’s discoveries and the partnership with Oxalis. Interacting with local people will give you a new experience. Their way of lives has remained the same for centuries.
Want to visit Son Doong Cave? Interested in exploring Vietnam? Be sure to get prepared and ready. Manage your reservation, including with Airpaz for your flights. If you come to the site, you can choose airline services like Vietjet Air, Vietnam Airlines, or Nam Air.