Quang Binh Province is located in Central Vietnam, just as the Country’s shape narrows; the eastern border of the Province is the North Pacific, the western border is Laos. It has not got a huge population and is largely forested but there is a reason why tourists on holiday in this country, especially those who enjoy exploring, should ask for this region being included in their Vietnam packaged tours; the caves and grottoes. Vietnam’s popularity is very much on the increase. Visitors are coming, picking up their Vietnam visa on arrival and enjoying all the Country has to offer. The natural environment is certainly one of those things.
If you have limited time, you may only be able to visit a single cave. If you have more time there is plenty to see:
• Phong Nha Cave is regarded as the best in Vietnam. In total, there is 20 kilometres of tunnel with the most popular section that along the Nam Aki River. During the wet season the river rises and it is impossible to enter. The entrance is 20 metres wide and 10 metres high. If you are in your boat and looking down on the clear water, you could be looking at a mirror. As you proceed into the cave, the light reduces and finally there is no natural light at all. The main ‘’hall’’ within the cave is a kilometre long with several other caves leading off it. There are about 20 in all, some with ceilingsof 10 metres but others as high as 25 or even 30 metres. The further in you go the more likely you are to come across caves where stalactites are still forming. One part that everyone should see is the Dried Cave where stalagmites and stalactites have formed a wonderful visual.
• Son Doong Cave in Son Trach was only found in 1991 by a local man. It is the largest cave in the world and was created anything from 2 million years ago by the erosion of limestone by water. There are skylights where the ceiling has collapsed. The cave is 200 metres wide, 150 metres high and 9 kilometres long. It is almost twice the size of what was formerly recognized as the biggest cave in the world, Deer Cave in Malaysia. It is hidden within the rugged Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park close to the border with Laos and is just one of perhaps 150 in the Annamite Mountains. Many have yet to be explored and indeed it took some time before Son Doong’s huge size was realized.
• Paradise Cave offers tourists the chance to trek 7 kilometres, always with an experienced guide. Your torch will reveal eyeless cave fish, and you can swim through one section if you like; most take a boat.
You need to have suitable clothing and footwear to visit any of these caves. You should be moderately fit as well because you will be climbing stairs, perhaps swimming but certainly walking on rocky surfaces that are uneven and slippery. It is certainly one of the ‘’different’’ experiences in a holiday in Vietnam.