Located in the heart of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Son Doong, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, opened to tourists in 2013. It includes at least 150 individual caves, a dense subterranean jungle, and several underground rivers. Photo: Getty
According to VNA, Son Doong cave in the central province of Quang Binh of Vietnam has recently topped the list of the 10 Greatest Natural Caves in the world by the famous travel website Wonderlist.
The site stated that it is the world’s largest cave, which was formed by the erosion of limestone underneath the mountains by river water.
“The cave hides a whole world inside it, with its river, jungle, and climate. Some of the world’s tallest stalagmites are found here,” the website noted.
According to Wonderlist, the cave has a large calcite wall called The Great Wall of Vietnam, behind which abnormally large cave pearls the size of baseballs were found.
In 2009, the BCRA expedition team (British Cave Research Association) officially announced Son Doong as the world’s largest natural cave. Shortly afterward, it completed the survey and measurement of the entire Son Doong Cave with a length of over 9km and a space of 38.5 million cu.m. Therefore, to mark this special event, Google Doodle has chosen April 14 as Hang (cave) Son Doong’s Day.
|Exploring the magnificent Son Doong cave and capturing one of the most iconic and “magical” moments when the sun shines through the cave sinkhole is guaranteed to be an astonishing experience in Dong Hoi. © Geng Xu / Getty Images
Professional geologists estimate that the cave was formed about 2 to 5 million years ago.
The cave is large enough for an entire 40-story skyscraper. Scientists have discovered remarkable geological formations in the cave, including the world’s tallest stalactite.
The giant dolines in the cave allow sunlight to penetrate into them forming the lush tropical jungle and a unique ecosystem, which are home to many rare species, according to Google.
Son Doong Cave has drawn international attention and become a staple on adventure bucket lists for travelers from around the world.
|The four-day and three-night Son Doong Expedition, exclusively provided by local travel firm Oxalis Adventure, is one of the world’s top bucket list adventures.
On April 30, 2013, Son Doong was recognized as the largest cave in the world by the Guinness World Records. Since its milestone, it has become a symbol and brand of Vietnam’s tourism.
World-renowned travel magazines and newspapers have repeatedly named Son Doong Cave as one of the best natural wonders and dream destinations for travelers, such as the top 11 best tourist destinations around the world in 2019 by Telegraph, one of the five most desirable destinations of the world in 2019 by Lonely Planet, and one of the top destinations in 2022 by AFAR.
In addition to Son Doong, the nine other greatest natural caves in the world are Ice Cave near Mutnovsky Volcano (Russia), Caves of Algarve (Portugal), Marble Caves (Chile-Argentina), Antelope Canyon (American Southwest), Waitomo Glow-worm Caves (New Zealand), Cave of Swallows (Mexico), Caverns of Sonora (Texas, the US), Fingal’s Cave (Scotland) and Painted Cave (California in the US).