Vietnam’s national park attraction is the world’s largest cave
Tucked underneath Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park is a relic of the earth’s former glory, a 3-million-year-old cave wrapped in green moss and stern-looking limestone cliffs, unbothered by the sun nor the transformation of the modern world. Han Song Doong, or “mountain river cave,” was first seen in 1990 but the earth seemed to have pulled its blankets up and hid its treasure away from man’s naked eye until 18 years later.
Like a gem kept in a box, Vietnam’s renowned river cave is one of the most outstanding places on earth, stretching up to five kilometres in breadth and 200 metres in height, just enough to swallow a chunk of Vietnam’s skyscrapers underneath its stony walls. Scattered green pools, massive stalagmites and ceiling cracks allow roots and foliage to creep through its hardened facade.
The cave thrives under its own micro-climate and many undiscovered secrets, but the journey towards it requires a feisty spirit, from river crossing to jungle treks, to overcoming an 80-metre high ascent. It is not a leisurely stroll but an exploration, and despite the climbing and crawling, the descending and diving, upon reaching the camp, one could only agree the trouble is worth it.
The ideal way to tour the Hang Son Doong cave system is via Son Doong Cave Expedition run by Oxalis Adventure. In addition to Hang Son Doong, the tour operator offers exhilarating adventure tours in the third largest cave on Earth – Hang En, the cave with the rarest formations ever seen – Hang Va and the gigantic Tu Lan Cave System, inside the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park in Vietnam. oxalis.com.vn ◼
© This article was first published in Aug-Sept 2019 edition of World Travel Magazine.