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Son Doong cave listed among 10 most incredible in the world

With its ecosystem and splendid wildlife underground, Son Doong Cave is one of the world's most beautiful caves.

US-based travel website TheTravel has included Son Doong Cave in central Vietnam on its list of the "10 Most Incredible Caves in the World."

 An adventurous traveler is climbing the “Great Wall of Vietnam” inside Son Doong Cave. Photos: Oxalis Adventure 

“If nature’s best-kept secrets are to be listed, natural caves make up for an unparalleled adventure. Caves are generally formed in four ways: rainwater, wind erosion, volcanoes, and sand erosion. Having geological formations, stalactites, stalagmites, and lakes, they are spectacular in many ways,” Pranzali Korgaonkar, a staff writer of the travel site, wrote.

In his list of "ten incredible caves around the world that tourists will be eager to visit," Son Doong Cave ranks tenth.

According to TheTravel, the cave is one of the largest in the world. It is believed that Son Doong was formed by Rao Thuong River erosion into the base of Truong Son limestone mountain in the central province of Quang Binh in Vietnam. Hence, a large tunnel was formed underneath the mountain.

With 200 m high, 175 m wide, and 9.4 km long, it is estimated that a 40-story New York skyscraper could fit in this cave.

The fascinating elements are a thick forest mushrooming in the cave for years and towering stalagmites, phytokarst, cave pearls,  cave roof, and collapses. Two days of intense jungle trekking and river crossings are required to reach the entrance of Son Doong cave.

The camping site inside Son Doong Cave.

Oxalis Adventure is the only tour operator that offers expeditions to the cave via Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park Management Board, costing US$3,000 for a four-day tour.

Son Doong Cave is far beyond an ordinary cave. Speleologists have pointed out 10 reasons why Son Doong Cave is one of the world’s greatest wonders that any traveler should visit once in their lifetime.

Located in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Son Trach Commune, Bo Trach District, Son Doong Cave was formed between two and five million years ago. 

In addition to being the largest on the planet, this extraordinary cave boasts gigantic lakes, underground jungles, thousands of stalagmites, rich marine life, and even its own climate. According to the cave experts at Oxalis Adventure, 70% of the jungle inside the cave remains unexplored.

The Garden of Edam inside Son Doong Cave.

Found in 1991, Son Doong Cave was recognized as the largest of its kind in the world by three international organizations, including Guinness (based in the UK), the World Record Association (based in Hong Kong), and World Records Union (Worldkings).

It was recognized by UNESCO as a world natural heritage in 2003 and 2015.

In 2019, Son Doong Cave Expedition was consistently voted by the famous UK-based travel magazine Lonely Planet as one of the dream destinations.

Other caves in the list of “10 Most Incredible Caves in The World” that TheTravel suggested its readers explore in 2023 include Naica Mine Cave in Mexico, Glowworms Cave in New Zealand, Marble Caves on the border of Chile and Argentina, the Reed Flute Cave in, China and Škocjan Cave in Slovenia, among others.

 A traveler needs to be in good health to explore Son Doong Cave.