The Incredible Son Doong Cave in Vietnam 

The Incredible Son Doong Cave in Vietnam by Shashi Thakur. Happy Tourism Day Dear readers... In this write-up, I have given information about the fascinating facts about the largest cave on earth, Son Doong. It's been less than a decade since it was opened to exploration for tourists.
Son Doong Cave in Vietnam
Son Doong Cave in Vietnam

Ever since I read in a newspaper two years ago about a stunning cave in Vietnam, named Son Doong cave, I haven’t stopped dreaming of traveling to the ultimate La La Land.

Son Doong cave has a river beneath a mountain. And the cave has steep rocks on both sides. It is punctuated by 2 large dolines, which are areas where the ceiling of the cave has collapsed. The dolines allow sunlight to enter sections of the cave, resulting in the growth of trees as well as other vegetation. The picture below is one of the dolines mentioned.

Two large rivers, Khe Ry and Rao Thuong, united to create Son Doong Cave millions of years ago, creating an enormous path beneath the limestone mountains. Collapses in the cave ceiling decayed over time, to form large holes called dolines.

Son Doong is extraordinary in contrast to other caves due to two massive dolines (cave roof collapses) like “skylights” giving sunlight that spills portions of the cave and building an exquisite view.

The word “Son Doong” cave denotes “mountain river cave”. It was established 2-5 million years ago by river water eroding away the limestone underneath the mountain. Where the limestone was shaky, the cave ceiling collapsed producing huge skylights.

With time, collapsed ceilings have cultivated holes called dolines, allowing dense vegetation to thrive and developing an isolated and dangerously unreachable wilderness.

Son Doong Cave in Vietnam

To take part in the excursion into the cave, you must be an expert swimmer, diver, and mountain climber, to successfully cross the cave. The journey throughout is hazardous, with the magnificent views all around the cave.

Son Doong is the largest cave on the planet, located in central Vietnam’s Quang Binh province. It is now a part of the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO heritage site.

The cave has a total length of 9.4 kilometers and has the biggest cross-section of any cave anywhere on the globe. It encompasses around 150 individual caves, a thick subterranean forest, and several underground rivers.

Son Doong Cave in Vietnam

Home to flying foxes and a 70-meter rock formation, which is the tallest known stalagmites, resembling a dog’s paw (notice the picture above), the cave is an out-of-the-world marvel. It has rejuvenated the people’s lives of the surrounding neighborhood ever since it opened for boutique tourism in 2013.

At more than 200m in height (up to 500m in some parts), 175m in breadth, and 9.4km in length, Son Doong is so gigantic that it could easily fit many other world’s largest caves. It is huge enough to accommodate the 40-floor skyscrapers of the whole New York City block, according to an adventure tour company, which leads the way to the visitors into the caves.

Son Doong in central Quang Binh province was first discovered by a local man Ho Khanh in 1991 when he stumbled upon an opening in a limestone cliff and heard the sounds of a river deep inside.

Son Doong Cave in Vietnam

When Son Doong was opened to tourists in 2013, the lives of hundreds of locals changed forever. They soon became porters and guides and opened their homes to welcome the guests wanting a night halt. The weather here is tropical, it remains hot and humid most of the year.

Friends, if you love to find new international locales for adventure tourism that combines trekking, swimming, diving, and rock climbing, then this one’s for you. If you’re planning to participate in any cave tours around the world, Vietnam deserves to be on top of your list.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, in the central region of Vietnam is home to some of the world’s largest, most awesome, and unique caves and cave networks ever discovered by mankind on Earth.

Son Doong Cave in Vietnam

Some valuable things to know are important, before traveling to the mighty Son Doong Cave in Vietnam. Here all details are given about the tourist’s required fitness level, food on tour, overnight camping, and suitable clothing.

The tour price is cool, consisting of a couple of lakhs in Indian Rupees, which includes training as well.

The distance from the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi to the cave site is 388 km, with various options for transport.

You can take the 360° angle virtual guided tour of Son Doong, by clicking the arrow button in the video to move ahead. 


(Pics courtesy – The Lonely Planet)

-Shashi Thakur

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