The Largest Cave in the world
The Son Doong Cave was discovered in 1991 by a local man named Ho Khan. However due to difficulty of accessability the cave was not properly investigated until 2009 when a group of cavers from the Brittish Cave Research Association conducted a survey there.
The cave was formed two to five million years ago, when river water flowing across limestone burowed down along a fault, scouring out a giant tunnel beneath the mountains. In places where the limestone was weak, the ceiling collapsed into sinkholes, creating gigantic skylights. The secenery inside the cave is absolutely unreal and makes you feel as if you have entered into a different world.
Reaching the Cave
To reach Hang Song Doong cave is a six kilometer hike through the rainforest. On the way to the cave you will pass through a small village that is home to the Ban Doong ethnic group. Oxalis adventure tours is the only company that is licensed to operate the tour to guide you to the cave. The tour is four days and three nights and is available from February to August. The tour includes camping equipment, four meals a day, bottled water, a first aid kid and medical rescue equipment.
Vital Boost to Quang Binh Provence
The discovery of the cave has lead to a much needed boost to the provence where the cave is located, Quang Binh. The Quang Binh provence has long been one of the poorest provences in the country and was heavily bombed during the Vietnam war. There is still a massive amount of unexploded ordanance scattered throughout the fields and jungle putting thousands of lives at risk every day. A common practive among the locals in recent years has been to collect these explosives and selling the metal for scrap, costing several lives in this dangerous practice.
The Vietnamese development company Sun group has been pushing to build a cable car to Hang Song Doong, which would ferry 1000 visitors to the cave. However do to massive environmental threats to the ecosystem, UNESCO and activist group Save Son Doong pushed the Vietnamese government to halt construction permits in 2015.
There is a debate from both sides of course, some see the boost in tourism as a positive for the local community while others fear for the destruction of the ecosystem.
The cave amazingly has its own weather system! The cave produces its own clouds which is a site that is surreal to say the least. The importance to maintaining the cave can not be underestimated.