Son Doong cave, located in the heart of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, 3rd biggest national park in Vietnam stretched 85,754 hectares is the biggest cave in the world whose path wasn’t invented before 2009 officially.
“I sat down with my back to a huge boulder. Then something strange happened. I heard the sound of a strong wind and running water coming from behind me.” These are the words of Ho Khanh who discoverer of Son Doong when he was trying to find some aloe at 20 km inside in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park; he accidently discovered the gigantic cave in 1991 but lost it for next 18 years.
|What comes in your mind when you think about a cave? Bats all over the roof, Webs all over the walls, or darkness all over the cave? Well, this cave has more than that. Son Doong or the Mountain river cave derived its name because a subterranean river flowing inside it, whose source is still unknown. Not just a river but this cave has an underground lake, a forest of its own which is home of some rare species and also of some species which were never seen before. This all was only found when a team from British Cave Research Association met Ho Khanh and travelled back to the untouched world in 2009.|
On 10th April 2009, after trekking 6 hours team lead by Howard and Deb Limber reached to entrance, dark and deep acting as a wormhole between two different universes which raise their hope of finding something outlandish. Descended down 240 ft, passed two river crossings, ascended and then descended again reaching to the first doline and then the bigger one. This dolines allows the sun to shine and generate life, the sun beams gets the credit for some exotic photographs which can only be taken here. Going further they faced a guarding wall, 80 m high which did not allowed them to travel any further. Later, this wall was named as ‘The Great Wall of Vietnam.’
After 2013 the tour company Oxalis started operating Son Doong expedition for everyone who is fit for 50 km trek in 5 days, crossing rivers several times and having a healthy body. The beauty inside the cave is something which cannot be explained in words. One of the world’s largest stalagmites and stalactites having a height of 80 m are found here. At wall, one can find huge cave pearls as big as a baseball or a cricket ball which would have taken thousands of years to form.Again in 2010, team returned with better equipments and strong commitments to defeat the stubborn wall. They succeeded this time but only to get disappointed as they expected the cave to be of bigger height on the other side of wall then what they had found on this side. The only thing they found on other side of wall is the other opening of the cave passage. Still Son Doong was declared as the largest cave with a height of 200 m which is more than twice the height of statue of liberty, width of 150 m and has a passage of 5 miles long.
This cave not only provides you the opportunity to engulf yourself in its beauty but also provides a chance to enjoy a hearty welcome by people of minority village of Ban Doong who live inside the national park completely cut off from the outside world. Know there living styles, eating habits and have a cheerful stay with them.
|Still many mysteries are going to be unrevealed in the deeper sections of Son Doong are interconnected with 150 other caves waiting to be explored and to peel off their secrets. How thrilling it is to think that the first expedition took place a few years ago. It increases the probability of possibility that may be many more places are still unknown and untouched hiding themselves from the mankind.|