Inside Son Doong Cave (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Stone formations with stalagmites and stalactites,
underground rivers and lakes, together with delicate flora and fauna have made
mammoth Son Doong Cave in the central province of Quang Binh one of the world’s
most captivating destinations.

Located in the heart of the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, the cave, which is
more than 200 metres in width, 150 metres in height and approximately 6.8
kilometres in length, was explored by the British Cave Research Association
during 2009-2010 and it has been open to the public since 2013. It is believed
to have been formed 2-5 million years ago.

Son Doong Cave has been recognised as the largest of its kind in the world by
three international record-keeping organisations – Guinness, the Association
World, and WorldKings.

Recently it has been ranked third among the worldwide bucket-list trips for
2019 by Lonely Planet, a prestigious travel guide magazine.

The cave attracted 243 tourist arrivals from 34 countries and territories
across the world who joined 32 pilot tours “Conquering Son Doong-the world’s
largest cave” operated by the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park management board
and Oxalis Adventure Tours in 2013. It generated over 15 billion VND (645,600 USD)
for local tourism in the eight-month trial period.

The tours created stable jobs for 40
locals, with average income of 6 million VND (258 USD) per month at that time. Taking
the cue from the adventure tours, local tourism services have been developed as
well.

Besides, the Son Doong tours have helped
popularise the UNESCO-certified Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park as well as the
province’s tourism to the world.

Holding important scientific values, in terms of geology, geomorphology and
ancient climate, the cave has been favoured by many scientists and science
channels worldwide.

The eco-system inside Son Doong
is as unique as it is large, and it even has its own localized weather system.
Rare limestone cave pearls are scattered in dried pools, and the largest
stalagmite ever found stands 80 meters tall.

Collapsed ceilings have created openings known as dolines,
allowing foliage plants to grow inside the cave. Microscopic organisms thrive
in the darkness.

 

According to an initial study from the Vietnam Academy of Science and
Technology, besides 161 species of flora found inside Son Doong, the cave is
home to 300-million-year-old coral fossils which are valuable for the analysis
of geological layer changes through times.-VNA



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