The power of wanderlust is real. The world is full of beautiful places most of us don’t even know about many. From breathtaking natural wonders to jaw-dropping sceneries and mysterious cities and quaint landmarks, there are a lot of nature packs in. Son Doong Cave is a living example of just how odd yetbeautiful nature can be.
Being the World’s largest cave, itdisplays a fantasy likelandscape that looks likes as if it had plucked out of a fairy tale withmagnificent and amazing structure. Hang Son Doong Cave is the world’s largest, yes, even largest than the popular Phong Nha Cave in Quảng Bình Province, Vietnam.
Where is Son Doong Cave located?
Positioned in the heart of Phong Nha Ke Bang National park in Vietnam’s Quang Binh province, Son Doong is about 460 km south of Hanoi. All the tourist expeditionsare officially managed and led by themost reputed local adventure tour company named Oxalis by partnering with British cave research association in collaboration withthe Vietnamese government. The organizersstrictly adhere to thesafety standards on all tours and ensure that travelers led by the world’stop international caving team with exceptionally qualified guides.
Best time to visit
Due to the risk of flooding during the monsoon that starts in November and runs till mid-January, expeditions won't be operatedall-round the year. All bookings must be made before arrival in Phong Na National Park to ensure your reservation as there as only limited seats are available for cave adventurists.
The official website uses a simple booking system, and available draws will display in your preferredmonth. You can directly book or do it via a reputedtravel operator for a costof around US$3,000 per person. The cost of the booking is a combined fee package, and explorer will be eligible for a night stay in Phong Nha, single night camping in Hang En Cave, one night stay in Chay Lap Farmstay and two-night accommodation in various locations in Son Doong Cave.
Best way to reach there
To reach Son Doong cave, travelers have to cover a 9½ kilometer hike through the rainforest that includes passing through a small village, which is home to the Ban Doong ethnic community. Entry fee to Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park comes around VND 40,000 plus an additional cost of around VND 80,000-150,000 to enter the cave for a guided tour.
The nearest airportto Son Doong is Dong Hoi Airport in thecapital city Dong Hoi of Quang Binh Province in Vietnam. There are flights from Hanoi to Dong Hoi and from Ho Chi MinhCity to Dong Hoiregularly. On an average, the travel time is around one hour for both destinations.
From Dong Hoi Airport, Son Doong caves areabout 42 kmaway, and you can hire a motorbike to drive to the caves, or you can book an organized tour as well so that touroperators will arrange for transportation to the caves.
The major city of Hanoi is well connected by road through buses. Bus services like Hung Thanh and Hoang Long are suited for long journeys. From Hanoi to Phong Na and from PhongNha to Dong Hoi, Camel Travel busesrundaily services. Buses come withairconditioned sleeper coach feature andoccasional WiFi and toilet facility at the backside. There will be a stop at Ninh Binhwhere you can have refreshment facilities.
If you choose to travel by train, there are Reunification Expresstrain and other trainsservices from cities like Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Hanoi, Nha Trang,etc., to Dong Hoi. The travel time varies with the distance from the start point you choose. From Hanoi to Dong Hoi it is a 10-11 hour journey. If you are arriving at Phong Nha via train, you can arrange for a private transfer to Dong Hoi for a price of VND 640,00 for a one way 4 seater car.
Interesting Son Doong Cave Facts
Discovered by local people
A group oflocal loggers led by a hunter Ho Khanh discovered the most extensive cave of the world Son Doong in 1991. The team who were looking for shelter on a rainy day accidentally discovered Son Doong cave without understanding how significant the discovery was.
5-million-year-old natural wonder
According to the researchers, the cave formed when an underground river ran through between the layers of limestones along a geological shift. Through millions of years, the water eroded the rock and forced a massive tunnel under the ground between the mountainrange. At some parts, the loose ceiling fell off forming large holes that enlarged gradually by chemical erosion. Though founded just 28 years ago, the cave is about 5 million years old.
Great Wall of Vietnam
Due to this huge size, Song Doong Cave is known as the Great Wall of Vietnam. The biggest and largestsection of the cave is almost 5 kilometersin lengths, and there are many reasons why it is the largest cave inthe world.
Son Doong Cave highlights
The cave is about 8.5 km long, with 200 meters width and height of 150 meters. As per geologists, it might be older than 5 million years and might have developed by river water eroding limestone under mountains. The cave sits below another cave in Phong Nha-Park and its entry pass is quite difficult to traverse.
Inside the cave, there are some areas with a heavy current of water but you would be guided by expert team while crossing those areas. Though the cave stretched about 8km, no one was able to explore it more than 6.5km. You need to negotiate 10kms through Truong Son highway to enter Son Doong's mouth, and it takes 6hours trekking through the forest to reach there.
The Son Doong cave has ancient lakes, underground rivers, plenty of sights, exciting and mysterious sounds, and falls with light beams passing through the ceiling reflecting on rocks making it nothing less than a fairy world.
Waves of stalagmite on the cave floor with rock balls resemble like pearls, and it is a fantastic sight which you would find in fairy tales. The cave has its own environment with lakes, trees, rivers animal life and some of the tallest known stalagmites that are about 70ms tall.
Son Doong Cave Tour Packages
Quang Binh Day Tours
If you just have a day and want to sign up for a Son Doong Cave cheap tour, you can go for Quang Binh daily tours which include a boat journey to Phong Na. The boat rides to ensure that you get aninsight into the grand experience and an understanding of the grandeur of the amazing sight. The beautiful views overlook the river and offer an exciting opportunity to get to know the famous natural wonder. Your tour operator can assist you for the booking.
Oxalis adventure tour
Oxalis adventure tour includes a 4 day and 3-night cave expedition which will cost US$ 3,000 per person inclusive of safety gears, caving equipment, camping equipment, 4 meals a day, bottled water, medical rescue equipment, and first aid kits. You will also gain benefits of guidance from a professional advisor, English speaking guide, 4-5 safety assistants and a team to carry equipment and cook meals throughout the journey.
The first night of the tour will see visitors camp near the Hand Dog, a huge stalagmite named so due to its resemblance to a dog paw. What’s more amazing is that the ecosystem within the cave, which has its own weather system and unique clouds.
Vietnam is home to many spectacular wonders and Son Doong is just one among them. Exploring Son Doong cave is an adventure activity of lifetime which is quite an amazing experience. Every backpacker will enjoy the experience of adventure tour or expedition arranged by the professional team. No words are enough to adore the magnificence of the UNESCO protected cave. It is a whole another world, devoid of much human interaction, purely natural!