Are you looking for a challenge during your next trip to Vietnam? Do you want an adventure more amazing than most tourists can dream of? While there are exciting places to visit in Vietnam, none are quite like Hang Son Doon.
A team of British divers recently found that the largest cave by volume in Vietnam, Son Doong Cave, is even larger than previously thought, as it connects through an underground river to another large cave, Hang Thung, creating the largest cave system in the world.
The total volume of Hang Son Doong is 1.36 billion cubic feet (38.5 million cubic meters), about double the volume of the previous record-holding cave. The caverns alone could swallow a major city block, including skyscrapers 40 stories tall.
Son Doong is about 5.8 miles (9.4 kilometers) long. By joining a cave tour, you can spend several days trekking, climbing, camping, and taking unbelievable pictures.
How You Can Experience the World’s Largest Cave Passage
Only 1,000 tourists per year can enter these famous caves as of 2019. Reservations are on a first-come, first-serve basis. To reserve a spot in Hang Son Doong, you can contact exclusive excursion provider Oxalis, a tour company known for its high standards of safety and responsibility.
If you apply for a Vietnam visa and take part in an expedition, you’ll be able to:
- Camp for two nights inside Son Doong Cave
- Camp another night in Hang En Cave, the third-largest cave in the world
- Climb the Great Wall of Vietnam, a wall of stalagmites, inside Son Doong
- Hike through the jungle for 15.5 miles (25 kilometers)
- Take thrilling pictures inside the caves using specialized lights
- Visit the isolated, remote, jungle village of Ban Doong
Like No Other Cave in the World
Some caverns in the passage are large enough for a passenger jet to park inside. Small clouds even form near the ceiling. In other sections, a jungle grows inside the cave because the roof has opened and allowed seeds and sunlight to enter.
Of course, there are large stalactites and stalagmites abound. The tallest stalagmite on record there sits at 262 feet (80 meters). Make sure to watch for other phenomena, such as unusually large cave pearls, which are spherical calcium formations.
This tour is exciting and difficult. You will have to use climbing equipment to descend through the entrance and to climb the Great Wall of Vietnam. This requires a certain level of physical fitness. In addition, the price of a tour is $3,000 USD or listed below. Please note that these estimates are subject to current exchange rates:
- $4,418 AUD
- $3,982 CAD
- $59,105 MXN
- 69,800,000 VND
A Surprising Discovery
Son Doong cave was only recently explored in the past decade and has been open to the public since 2013. During a storm in 1990, Ho Khanh discovered the entrance to the cave in the jungle near his village. For years, he could not find the entrance again.
In 2009, he rediscovered the entrance and was able to lead an exploratory team into the cave. When they entered Son Doong, they realized that they were the first humans to ever enter it, as no human tools or other signs of activity could be found.
Entering the cave involves difficult, steep descents using specialized caving equipment. The cave openings are surrounded by thick jungle that has likely prevented humans from previously entering.
From One Discovery to More
Though untouched by humans, monkeys, birds, snakes, bats, and other animals have entered the cave occasionally to feed. Researchers have also discovered new species of fish, spiders, and other animals inside the cave that lack skin pigment and eyes.
The leader of the first expedition recently invited a team of accomplished British divers to explore the waterways of the cave. They confirmed its connection to Hang Thung, another large cave in the area, further establishing that the world’s largest cave is in Vietnam.
Ho Khanh, the discoverer of the cave mouth, continues to be involved with Hang Son Doong, leading groups to the cave and organizing support teams for the expeditions.
Get Your Vietnam Visa
If you want to explore famous caves in Vietnam, there are none more amazing than the Hang Son Doong. You can check availability and sign up for the next expedition directly with the tour company. Before you head out on your next cave adventure, let Vietnam Visa help you get your Vietnam visa. We make it easy so you can focus on the fun stuff, like planning your Vietnam trip.