Phong Nha Cave is located in the northwest of Quang Binh Province near the Vietnam-Laos border, about 50km northwest of Dong Hoi City and about 500km south of the capital city of Hanoi. From the center of Nhon Trach Commune in Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province, it takes tourists about a 30-minute motorboat ride going upstream on the Son River to reach the cave.
The beauty of Phong Nha Cave has been written about in historical books. In the late 19th century, “Dai Nam Nhat Thong Chi”, a set of geographical books in the Chinese language compiled by the national historiographer’s office during the Nguyen Dynasty, called Phong Nha Cave “the fairytale cave”.
In the late 19th century, after several expeditions, French explorer Leopold Michel Cadiere proclaimed Phong Nha Cave “the number one cave of Indochina”. In July, 1924, Barton, a British cave researcher went to Phong Nha Cave for a survey and stated that it was a beautiful and miraculous place that could be compared to the world’s most famous caves, such as the Padirac of France and the Cuevas del Prac of Spain.
The Son River. Photo: Nguyen Bach Chien
The entrance to Phong Nha Cave. Photo: VNP
Giant stalagmites in Phong Nha Cave. Photo: VNP
A huge Guo (Fiars Callora) tree in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. Photo: Ngo Doc Lap
A karst mountain in Phong Nha-Ke Bang. Photo: Ninh Manh Thang
Gorgeous Thien Duong Cave. Photo: Nguyen Dinh Vinh
The grandiose beauty of Thien Duong Cave. Photo: Pham Trung Thanh
In addition to a system of caves and grottos, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park also has a tropical primeval forest with the highest biodiversity in Vietnam. The forest covering 85.75ha has rich flora and fauna, including 66 rare and precious species of animals listed in Vietnam’s Red Book and 23 species under prioritized protection of the world, such as five-coloured langurs, Saola, bears, tigers, pheasants, white-cheeked gibbons and yellow turtles.
Recently, the Scientific Research and Wildlife Rescue Centre has found a vast forest of green cypress trees which are about 500-600 years old, on the top of Phong Nha – Ke Bang mountain, at a height of 800m above sea level. The density of the cypress trees is about 600 trees/1ha. The tree trunks are 20-30m high with a diameter of 1-1.5m. This is a rare and precious species. Now there are only three species of green cypress trees identified in the world. Phong Nha – Ke Bang forest also has Cypripedioideae, a rare orchid species which is considered a “precious thing” of nature.
For its special value in the history of the Earth’s formation, on July 5, 2003, at its 27th conference in Paris, UNESCO recognized Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park as a World Natural Heritage Site.
|MANAGEMENT BOARD OF PHONG NHA-KE BANG NATIONAL PARK
Address: Son Trach, Bo Trach, Quang Binh Province
Tel/fax: (84) 52 3677021
Story: Manh Thuong – Photos: VNP – Photos from the contest “Vietnam’s World Heritage Sites 2011”