Son Doong Cave is one of the mysterious caves in the world and is the heart of the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, located in Quang Binh province of Central Vietnam. After being recently explored and researched in 2009-2010 by British Cave Research Association, Son Doong cave has been opened and designed tour to the public since 2013. However, fewer people have seen the inside of Son Doong cave than have stood on the top of Everest mountain.
Son Doong’s main passage is 3.1 miles long ( 5km) , 660 feet high and 490 feet wide, large enough to contain 68 Boeing 747.
Not only is the cave famous for its enormous size, but also a rich diversity of flora and fauna. More detail, the expedition members spotted an intact jungle with the biodiversity without the humans’ marks. To honor the extraordinary natural beauty of the jungle, the cave experts have called it “the Garden of Eden”
The main cavern is large enough to house an entire New York City block. Hang En, the third-largest cave in the world, is located nearby
Son Doong was formed during the Cambrian-Permian geological eras, putting it at a date between 400–450 million years old.
What’s even more amazing is that the ecosystem created within the cave has its own weather system and creates its own clouds. Inside, you will find the largest stalagmite known to man, hanging at 262 feet tall (80 meters), and fossils dating back millions of years. Collapsed ceilings have created openings known as dolines, and this has allowed foliage to grow inside the cave. You will come across jungles and rivers enveloped by misty clouds, and microorganisms thriving in the darkness. It is a whole other world, devoid of much human interaction. You will be walking into an image of Earth as it was hundreds of million of years ago. Think of it like A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. Maybe you will find dinosaurs inside.
A local farmer, namely Ho Khanh found the Son Doong cave entrance in 1991. He said that the time of this discovery was when he was earning his daily living by searching for aloeswood in the jungle. One day, he unintentionally got caught in the heavy rainfall on the way to work; getting worried about the potential flood sweeping through the jungle, he was prompt to seek shelter from the rain. Accidentally, the place where he sheltered was exactly Son Dong Cave. It is utterly an interesting story about finding out this cave first.
Expeditions are allowed only through one company, Oxalis , who have a legal permit to run tours. They run an exclusive five-day expedition that is not for the faint of heart. A tour costs 3000 USD, but it is money well spent.Unfortunately, you need to be extremely fit and patient, as there is a waiting list of about two years. The government only permits 1000 tourists/ year, It means that one 5 day tour only has 10 people. However, the tour to Son Doong Cave for 2017 is sold out within a day.
By the time when the local farmer found out Son Doong, he never had any idea about immense value of the cave. After a few years since this discovering, he left his aloeswood seeking and restarted the farming.
The cave’s trace was still a secret during 15 years until 2006 when the British Caving Research Association was in their exploration for new caves in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park. At that time, the farmer told them about his story of unintentional cave-discovering, and then the expedition for this cave’s exact location began.
Not only is the cave famous for its enormous size, but also a rich diversity of flora and fauna. More detail, the expedition members spotted an intact jungle with the biodiversity without the humans’ marks. To honor the extraordinary natural beauty of the jungle, the cave experts have called it “the Garden of Eden”.Scientists have discovered never-before-seen plant species around Son Doong’s waterfalls. Oh, and there’s a whole river in there, too.
Another special thing about the cave is that it includes a system of emerging stalactites and limestone cave pearls dispersed in ancient pools. Especially, rare limestone cave pearls formed from the natural phenomenon through hundreds of years, in which water dripped down, dried up, and left calcite layers covering grains of sand.
Unfortunately, everything the farmer Ho Khanh could reveal from his memory was just an overwhelming cave with continuous gales. Besides, even with the support of modern equipment and Google Earth, the expedition from the British Caving Research Association could not still find out the exact location of Son Doong. Eventually, in 2009, the farmer came across the entrance again, and since 2010 the cave’s exit has been public in the world.
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