The world’s largest cave, hidden deep in the jungle of Vietnam, is attracting tourists from all over the globe.
Son Doong measures over ten kilometers long and boasts two sinkholes as well as an impressive array underground vegetation.
In 2009, a group of British cavers explored the area. They enlisted the assistance of a local farmer in order to locate the entrance. The location has been a huge hit with adventurers from all over the globe, who are eager to discover the complex network of tunnels.
Expert on the site, Howard Limbert says that the cave is large because of the limestone quality.
“This rock is 450 million years old and it’s the oldest in Southeast Asia. It is a very pure, high quality limestone and it continues to grow every year. Each year the cave gets bigger.”
Is there a larger cave anywhere in the world than the one you are looking for?
Son Doong formed 2.3 million year ago when a large river eroded a number of fault lines in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park.
The high level of precipitation in the area has enabled the grotto to support a wide range of rare plants and animals.
In 2009, the Guinness Book of World Records deemed the site the largest single cave passage. It is twice the size of Deer Cave in Malaysia.
It is believed that the cave may be larger than originally thought.
Limbert says that they have explored the majority of the passages, but the one remaining unexplored passage is the main river over the first sinkhole.
Limbert is hopeful that improvements in caving technology will enable his team to do more precise studies of the cavern over the coming years.
If proved correct, Son Doong may connect to another cave systems completely, making the passage longer than current estimates.
Can I visit Son Doong cave
Son Doong is open to caving expeditions.
To preserve the environment, strict restrictions have been placed on tourism within the area.
Nguyen Chan A., Oxalis Adventure director, said, “We need to bring a team consisting of porters, rangers, and cave experts to accompany visitors to each expedition.”
We have to ensure that everything brought in the cave can be used again. To minimize the impact of humans on the cave ecosystem, the Son Doong caving trips are limited to 1,000 people each year.
Expeditions are priced at EUR2,800 per person and include permits, equipment, professional guides, and permits.
Son Doong can be found in Quang Binh Province, an area known as ‘Vietnam’s cave kingdom’ due to its incredible array of rock formations.