Like us on FB for more awesome posts!
Don't show this - I already like Bored Panda
Home

Recently Discovered World’s Largest Cave, Son Doong, Open to Visitors

There are many things that make the Son Doong Cave in Vietnam a remarkable natural wonder; at about 9km in length, 200m in width and 150m in height, it is the largest cave in the world, with caverns capable of fitting entire city streets and skyscrapers. It is home to a river, jungles, and entire cave ecosystems. Only slightly less remarkable is the fact that, until 2009, we did not even know how grandiose and impressive Son Doong (or Mountain River) Cave really is.

The cave was found in 1991 by local man Ho Khanh. In 2009, a group of British cavers led by Howard Limbert explored the cave’s interior, only then realizing that it was possibly the greatest cave in the world. Son Doong Cave has dethroned Malaysia’s Deer Cave as the world’s largest.

The water and limestone that carved it over millions of slow, patient years have created spectacular and unique formations. Occasional collapses in the roof have allowed underground jungle ecosystems to form, and with them, all-new species that have never been seen anywhere else. Rare cave pearls, ancient fossils, and towering stalactites form around a river running through the caves, which are so large that they form their own clouds.

Now that the caves have been thoroughly explored, the government has granted tour operators permission to host treks through the caves, which have already begun operating this summer. A visit will set you back at least USD $3,000.

Source: National Geographic | Photographer: Carsten Peter

The cave was first discovered by local man Ho Khanh when he was a child. At the time, he had to wander the jungle to find food, and used the caves to hide from bombs and from the rain. Although he forgot where he had found the cave, he was able to locate it again later. However, the descent he had found was too steep for him to take.

A team of British explorers, lead by Howard Limbert, first descended into the cave in 2009. Little did they know that they were the first to explore the largest known cave in the world.

At about 9km in length, 200m in width and 150m in height, it is the largest cave in the world, with caverns capable of fitting entire city streets and skyscrapers.

“Hand of Dog” is one of many massive formations that visitors will see in the cave. It dwarfs the explorer standing next to it.

The water and limestone that carved it over millions of slow, patient years have created spectacular and unique formations.

Occasional collapses in the roof have allowed underground jungle ecosystems to form. The caves are so large that they form their own clouds.

A river runs through the cave, slowly eroding away the limestone. Waterfalls and pools can be found as well.

An explorer shines their lamp into a tunnel that leads into a pool of water. What will they find on the other side?

Pictured are rare cave pearls, which form when water laden with minerals dripping from a cave’s ceiling falls too quickly to form a stalagmite. Instead, the dripping water forms a small ball of mineral deposits that grows into a small mineral pearl.

The main expedition into the cave consisted of more than two dozen crew, among them porters, scientists, photographers and cameramen.

Exploring the cave was no easy feat. The British team had to return multiple times to overcome previously insurmountable obstacles.

The explorers walk along slick formations covered in algae.

The Vietnamese government has finally opened the cave to the world. A visit will set you back at least USD $3,000.

Source: National Geographic | Photographer: Carsten Peter

Like us on FB:

Subscribe to Boredpanda's newsletter.

3.000.000+ monthly readers

Subscribe

What's hot on Bored Panda

What do you think?

  • http://www.facebook.com/paula2440 Paula Drevich

    stunning

  • http://www.facebook.com/Cookie.Dealer Jessica Sandison

    Yes, especially since it looks like a magical cave :3

  • http://www.facebook.com/nick.masson.nick Nick Masson

    Yes! Would magic mushrooms be available upon entry???

  • http://www.facebook.com/nhathoangtran Tran Nhat Hoang

    A pleasure to have such nature masterpiece in my country :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/iris.muller.90 Iris Müller

    no, each visitor will disturb this fantastic ecosystem a little bit… and no money will bring it back!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sally.southall Sally Southall

    yes if I had the money!

  • http://www.facebook.com/peti4ka Petya Nikolova

    Keeping the price at that level will keep the crowd away, which is OK if Vietnam wants to preserve the natural beauty of the cave.

  • http://www.facebook.com/davide.bulfamante Davide Bulfamante

    nope,,at least someone who pay these sightseeing ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/Cat999 Cat Harina

    Amazing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/marwan.s.mohamed.5 Marwan Samir Mohamed

    journey to the center of the earth

  • http://www.facebook.com/meagan.larson.73 Meagan Larson

    No

  • http://www.facebook.com/UncagedWater Kathi Rheinbold

    I read this article yesterday and then had the most wonderful dream about visiting it. $3k is an awful lot, but I imagine the amount of safety equipment and transportation that goes into an expedition like this necessitates the cost.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nam.tzo Nam Tzồ

    You do not have to pay if you do not buy food from people, quite expensive.
    sail fee is cheap, this is the only thing you have to pay.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rose.ream.9 Rose Ream

    Amazing!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/coop1293 Amy E. Cooper

    YES!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kimberly.catlow Kimberly Catlow

    Yes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jay.lozada.59 Jay Lozada

    keep it that way. No visitor.

  • http://www.facebook.com/julien.legrix.50 Julien Le Grix

    Yes indeed!

  • http://www.facebook.com/julien.legrix.50 Julien Le Grix

    Yes indeed!

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.j.smith.3766 Andrew J Smith

    I would for sure!. Anyone want to loan me $3000? :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.j.smith.3766 Andrew J Smith

    I would for sure!. Anyone want to loan me $3000? :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/michelle.fisher.779857 Michelle Fisher

    Tony Vila

  • http://www.facebook.com/michelle.fisher.779857 Michelle Fisher

    Tony Vila

  • http://www.facebook.com/mufasuh Tyler Covington

    journey to the center of the earth?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mother.of.good.Vibration Marilyn Inosit

    no, I find some corners of the world should be allowed to remain untouched!

  • http://www.facebook.com/roman.wassiltschenko Roman Wassiltschenko

    cannot belive that the fucking most biggest cave in the world was found that lately

  • http://www.facebook.com/jenwoodside Jennifer Woodside

    If I had the financial prowess to drop 3K on a whim, I would.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tammy.gallegos.90 Tammy Gallegos

    Wow, amazing, would love to go see it!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/diem.mi.9 Diem Mi

    Oxalis Caving Tours: would you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/duc.nguyen.1276487 Duc Nguyen

    Yung Zhang Duy BacQue Huong Dau

  • http://www.facebook.com/carol.okeeffe.31 Carol O’keeffe

    Bugger that

  • http://www.facebook.com/ruby.singh.549 Ruby Singh

    most beautiful..

  • http://www.facebook.com/fhannuksela Filippa Hannuksela

    Yes, yes I would!

  • http://www.facebook.com/callie.haines.3 Callie Haines

    nooooooooooo, no i will not. Nice cave and all but geeeeshhh

  • http://www.facebook.com/al.greschlova Alena Greschlová

    amazing and stunning! Wooooow

  • Davidson Karo-Karo

    Amazing GOD

  • http://www.facebook.com/noelle.pember Noelle Pember

    this looks like the cave from Journey to the Center of the Earth…

  • http://www.facebook.com/diego.belli.14 Diego Belli

    i wont pay 1 $, and that is not a measure for how awesome a place is or not…

    stupid title anyways…

  • http://www.facebook.com/diego.belli.14 Diego Belli

    3.000 i would buy an old el camino, and visit baja mexico, or vera cruz…

  • anneke

    And we thought everything had been discovered…..the earth still surprises with its wonders..fantástico.

  • Ron Skaggs

    Since I will not be able to go there in person, I Greatly appreciate you sharing these Fabulous pictures with me! Awesome!