Son Doong Cave is the largest cave in the world and located in the heart of the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, with its own jungle, river and gigantic formations, it is truly a natural wonder unlike any other in the world!

EXPLORATION OF SON DOONG CAVE

Son Doong Cave is in the heart of the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park in the Quang Binh province of Central Vietnam. Only recently explored in 2009 – 2010 by the British Cave Research Association, the cave has only been open to the public since 2013.

Son Doong Cave was first found by a local man named Ho Khanh in the 1990s. Ho Khanh later had the chance to talk to two members of the British Cave Research Association (BCRA) – Howard & Deb Limbert — who were basing themselves in Phong Nha to conduct exploratory cave expeditions in the area and urged him to try and rediscover the cave again. Ho Khanh found the cave again in 2008 and led Howard, Deb and a team of professionals back to the cave for the first expedition in 2009, to enter what would later become known as Hang Son Doong, or ‘Mountain River Cave’.

GEOLOGY OF SON DOONG CAVE

The Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam contains the oldest karst system in Asia, between 400 – 450 million years old. Hang Son Doong itself is relatively young, with the analysis of sediment dating it to be only 3 million years old.

Formed on the edge of a fault zone, Hang Son Doong was carved out by the mighty Rao Thuong River as it eroded away the limestone, forming the enormous tunnel beneath the Truong Son Mountains. Giants dolines were created as parts of the ceiling fell in up to 300,000 years ago, creating massive openings to the outside world. Cave pearls the sizes of baseballs have been formed by water dropping from the ceiling.

The first expedition was halted by an 80 m high calcite barrier, which was affectionately named “The Great Wall of Vietnam”. It wasn’t until their second expedition in 2010, when the Great Wall was finally climbed and the end of the passage was found, that Hang Son Doong was determined to be the largest cave in the world.

At over 5 km long, with sections reaching up to 200 m tall and 150 m wide, Hang Son Doong is large enough to house an entire New York block, complete with 40-story skyscrapers. With a total measured volume of 38.5 million cubic meters, this comfortably surpasses Deer Cave in Malaysia, which was previously considered the record holder. Stalagmites up to 80 m high have also been surveyed, the tallest ever encountered.

FACTS ABOUT SON DOONG CAVE

Imagine trekking straight into the depths of the world’s largest cave on an expedition unlike any other. The cave is so massive that a 747 could fly through its largest cavern. A space so mesmerising that it forces you to question whether you are still on this planet at all. Foreign landscapes found nowhere else, enormous stalagmites rising from the ground and statuesque stalactites hanging from the ceiling like an alien species. Jungles emerge from inside the cave itself, a scene so surreal that you have to see it to believe it. Misty clouds envelop the whole scene, a result of the cave’s own localised weather system. Passages adorned with ancient fossils offer evidence of the millions of years that have passed on this Earth.

As you approach the jungle just outside the entrance, the rush of cool wind that cascades out brings to life everything inside of you. Hazy, cold and exhilarating, it is apparent that there’s something magical waiting just beyond the opening to the cave.

SON DOONG CAVE’S EXPEDITION TOURS

Less people have seen the inside of Hang Son Doong than have stood on the summit of Mount Everest. Join us on this otherworldly expedition and become one of the lucky few who have had the life changing experience of exploring the world’s largest cave.

With your team of more than 25 porters plus safety experts and guides, you’ll explore over six days, the entire length of Son Doong Cave, Hang En Cave, as well the Ban Doong ethnic minority village.

There is no rush on this tour and there is plenty of time for photography and to enjoy the cave. However you need to be very fit, and have previous experience trekking (but not necessarily caving or climbing) to enjoy this adventure tour.

For photography enthusiasts and professionals alike, Son Doong Photography tour is another option to conquer this cave for the 2017 season. This tour will be focused on capturing unique images within Son Doong with lighting support and porters carrying up to 20 kg your personal equipment. Sign up now at Son Doong Photography Tour.

Note: Due to safety and conservation matters, the government of Quang Binh allowed Oxalis is the only operator bringing tourists to Hang En/Son Doong cave. Letter Number 1213/UBND-VX dated on August 03, 2016 of the Government of Quang Binh Province.