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Apr 14, 2022 / 14:34

Son Doong – World's largest cave honored on Google

The world’s largest cave, which was formed several million years ago, stayed immaculate until 2008.

Google Doodle today [April 14] celebrates Son Doong Cave (Hang Sơn Đoòng), the world’s largest natural cave located in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in the central province of Quang Binh, Vietnam.

 Google Doodle celebrates Son Doong Cave on April 14. 

This Google Doodle was published in 17 countries and territories, including Singapore, Sweden, Romania, Greece, and Vietnam.  

Situated near the Laos-Vietnam border and about 500km south of Hanoi, Son Doong Cave is an internal, fast-flowing subterranean river and the largest cross-section of any cave on the planet.

Son Doong Cave, or “Hang Sơn Đoòng” in Vietnamese whose literal meaning is a ‘cave of the mountain river’, has naturally been the consideration of many film organizations like the BBC, CNN, National Geographic, and in many movies and MVs, for example, Alone by British-Norwegian DJ Alan Walker.

The New York Times listed Son Doong Cave as the 8th among 52 must-go destinations in 2014. In 2019, the cave ranked 3rd in the 11 amazing attractions by the leading tourism magazine Telegraph.  

Master geologists estimate the cave was formed sometime between two to five million years ago. It is settled deep within the remote and well-preserved jungles of central Vietnam’s Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site.

The entrance to Son Doong Cave was discovered in 1991 by a local man named Ho Khanh while looking for agarwood. The cave stayed immaculate until 2008 when he backtracked his steps to its misty opening. In 2009, he located the hole with a group of British explorers. It only opened to the public in 2013. The Guinness World Records recognized Son Doong Cave as the largest cave in the world in 2015.

Now Oxalis Adventure is in charge of carrying out the expeditions in working with the Vietnamese government and the British Cave Research Association. For conservation and safety reasons, visitors can only discover Son Doong on four-day expeditions with Oxalis Adventure.

According to the tour operator, Son Doong Expedition has welcomed more than 5,000 guests who joined a once-in-a-lifetime experience since its opening in 2013 and is nearly always full. A customer usually makes a reservation at least six to twelve months in advance.

Visitors, who have no chance to experience the expedition, can enjoy the online exhibition named “Wonders of Vietnam” on Google Arts & Culture since 2021.

The world’s largest cave expedition is not by chance a strong tourist attraction, a popular filming location, and a top media brand. Particularly, it is regarded as a world-class experience tour.

The cave’s structure allows daylight to come in and what is amazing about Son Doong Cave is these daylight sections, a forest, and a jungle inside, according to Howard Limbert, the first foreigner to discover the entrance of Son Doong. In Son Doong’s vast caverns, forests of 100-foot-tall trees thrive in spaces big enough to accommodate 40-story skyscrapers.

Caves are different, bringing about feelings that people have not experienced before. The atmosphere there is better than in other places thanks to high humidity which is normally more than 90%, making people more breathable, he said in a recent interview with Vietnam Television (VTV).

Regarding the conservation, Limbert said for such a natural site, it will take millions of years to repair something damaged so it’s necessary to educate people that “these things are precious and they cant be replaced.” It’s very important to put across to the public that these caves are a very fragile environment and must be preserved and conserved.

Limbert noted that Vietnam is doing a very good job compared with some other countries that are not doing excellent jobs like Vietnam. The country understands conservation rules and regulations and follows these. 

Here are some photos of Son Doong Cave by the Quang Binh's Department of Tourism.