Son Doong Cave If you are looking for a destination that offers awe-inspiring natural beauty, unparalleled exploration, and unforgettable memories, look no further than Son Doong Cave in Vietnam. Son Doong Cave is the world’s largest cave, with a length of over 9 kilometers, a height of up to 200 meters, and a width of up to 150 meters. Son Doong Cave has its own river, jungle, and climate system, and can fit a 40-story skyscraper inside. Son Doong Cave was discovered in 2009 and opened to tourists in 2013. However, visiting Son Doong Cave is not for the faint-hearted, as it requires a four-day expedition with professional guides and equipment. In this blog post, we will introduce you to some of the features and attractions of Son Doong Cave and give you some tips on how to plan your visit.
Son Doong Cave’s Formation: A Geological Wonder
The first thing you need to know about Son Doong Cave is how it was formed. Son Doong Cave is part of the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, which is located in Quang Binh province in central Vietnam. The national park is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its outstanding geological and biodiversity values. The national park contains more than 300 caves and grottoes, which were formed by the erosion of limestone by water over millions of years.
Son Doong Cave is the largest and most spectacular of these caves. Son Doong Cave was formed by the collapse of a giant underground river about 2 to 5 million years ago. The river carved out a huge tunnel under the mountain, creating a massive cave with multiple chambers and passages. The cave was named Son Doong, which means “Mountain River Cave” in Vietnamese.
Son Doong Cave’s Features: A World Within a World
The second thing you need to know about Son Doong Cave is what it looks like inside. Son Doong Cave is a world within a world, with its own river, jungle, and climate system. Some of the features and attractions of Son Doong Cave are:
- The Entrance: The entrance of Son Doong Cave is located at the bottom of a sinkhole, which is about 80 meters wide and 50 meters deep. The entrance is hidden by dense vegetation and can only be reached by trekking through the jungle for about an hour.
- The First Chamber: The first chamber of Son Doong Cave is called Hand of Dog, which is named after a giant stalagmite that resembles a dog’s paw. The chamber is about 3 kilometers long and 90 meters high, and has many other stalactites and stalagmites that create a surreal landscape.
- The Second Chamber: The second chamber of Son Doong Cave is called Watch Out for Dinosaurs, which is named after the fossilized bones of ancient animals that were found in the chamber. The chamber is about 1.5 kilometers long and 140 meters high, and has many large boulders and rocks that create a maze-like terrain.
- The Third Chamber: The third chamber of Son Doong Cave is called Garden of Edam, which is named after the cheese-like shape of its ceiling. The chamber is about 1 kilometer long and 200 meters high, and has two huge dolines (skylights) that allow sunlight to enter the cave. The sunlight creates a microclimate that supports the growth of vegetation and wildlife in the chamber, creating a lush jungle inside the cave.
- The Fourth Chamber: The fourth chamber of Son Doong Cave is called Great Wall of Vietnam, which is named after the massive wall of calcite that blocks the end of the chamber. The chamber is about 2 kilometers long and 150 meters high, and has many spectacular formations such as pearls, cave popcorns, cave corals, and cave crystals. The wall of calcite is about 90 meters high and can only be climbed by professional cavers.
Son Doong Cave’s features are a world within a world, with its own river, jungle, and climate system. You will be amazed by the beauty and diversity of Son Doong Cave.
How to Plan Your Trip to Son Doong Cave
Son Doong Cave is an ideal destination for travelers who love nature, exploration, and adventure. However, to make the most of your trip, you need to plan ahead and consider some factors such as:
- When to go: The best time to visit Son Doong Cave is from February to August, when the weather is dry and sunny. Avoid going from September to January, when the rainy season can cause floods and landslides.
- How to get there: The only way to get to Son Doong Cave is by joining a tour organized by Oxalis Adventure, which is the sole operator authorized by the government to run expeditions to Son Doong Cave. The tour lasts for four days and three nights and costs $3000 per person. You need to book in advance and be physically fit to join this tour.
- What to bring: You need to bring some essential items for your trip to Son Doong Cave, such as:
- Clothing: You need to bring comfortable and breathable clothing that can protect you from the sun, insects, and scratches. You also need to bring a waterproof jacket, a hat, a pair of gloves, and a pair of socks.
- Footwear: You need to bring a pair of sturdy and waterproof shoes that can handle the rough terrain and wet conditions. You also need to bring a pair of sandals or flip-flops for the campsite.
- Equipment: You need to bring a backpack, a sleeping bag, a headlamp, a water bottle, a camera, and a power bank. You also need to bring some personal items such as toiletries, medications, sunscreen, insect repellent, and snacks.
- Documents: You need to bring your passport, your visa, your insurance, and your booking confirmation.
- What to expect: You need to expect some challenges and risks for your trip to Son Doong Cave, such as:
- Physical: You need to be physically fit and healthy to join the tour, as you will have to trek for about 25 kilometers, climb for about 400 meters, swim for about 200 meters, and crawl for about 100 meters. You will also have to carry your own backpack, which can weigh up to 15 kilograms. You will also have to deal with high humidity, high temperature, low oxygen, and darkness inside the cave.
- Mental: You need to be mentally prepared and positive to join the tour, as you will have to face some fears and uncertainties along the way. You will also have to cope with the isolation, the lack of communication, and the lack of comfort inside the cave.
- Environmental: You need to be environmentally aware and respectful to join the tour, as you will have to follow some rules and regulations inside the cave. You will also have to avoid damaging or disturbing the cave’s features and wildlife.
Son Doong Cave is the world’s largest cave and a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that you should not miss. Son Doong Cave offers awe-inspiring natural beauty, unparalleled exploration, and unforgettable memories. However, you need to plan ahead and consider some factors such as when to go, how to get there, what to bring, and what to expect. So don’t hesitate and book your trip to Son Doong Cave today!