10 most popular questions about the Son Doong Caves - World's largest cave

Nga Do
Son Doong Cave is located in the heart of the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province of Central Vietnam. Only recently explored in 2009-2010 by the British Cave Research Association, Son Doong Cave has only been open to the public since 2013.

The Son Doong Cave in Vietnam is the biggest cave in the world. It's over 5.5 miles long, has a jungle and river, and could fit a 40-story skyscraper within its walls.

Photo: Doug Knuth
1. When was Son Doong discovered?

In 1991, a local man named Ho Khanh came to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park to collect firewood and suddenly got lost in a strange area where there was a huge cave in the limestone mountain cliff with a giant ceiling hole full of sunlight. He also recognized that there is a river running into the cave. Yet, until April 2009, as the request of a caving exploration team from UK, Mr. Ho Khanh could find the cave again and instructed the exploration team led by Howart Limbert to discover Son Doong Cave.

2. Where Son Doong's name comes from?

In Vietnam tours to Phong Nha Ke Bang, tourists who are introduced about Son Doong often wonder the name the the world’s biggest cave. Initially, Son Doong was named Ho Khanh as he discovered the cave. Later, it was suggested to change the name into “Sơn Đoòng” because the cave hides behind majestic mountains of Đoòng Village, and because there is a river running in the cave.

3. Why is Son Doong the world's biggest cave?

Son Doong Cave has the length of about 5km, the height of 200m, and the wide of 150m. According to Conde Nast Traveler, the cave can occupy a big house in Manhattan, US equivalent to a 40-floor building. Inside the cave, there is a separate ecosystem formed by the sunlight from ceiling holes and clouds. The stalagmites in Son Doong Cave reach the height of nearly 80m. The lime stones sized baseballs scatter throughout the cave floor. The spectacular underground scenery shows that there are many beautiful landscapes in the world to discovery.

4. How does it cost a Son Doong tour?

There are two rates of tours to Son Doong exploited by a travel agent: about 3,000 USD for foreign traveler and 64.5 million dong for Vietnamese traveler. The rate is being applied for the whole year of 2015. In 2014, there were about 500 travelers visiting Son Doong. Since the beginning of 2015, the number is about 200 travelers. To serve a Son Doong tour of 10 people, there is a support of more than 30 people. Apart from porters bringing supplies and cooking, there are caving experts and safety experts in Son Doong tours.

5. How to visit Son Doong?

To take part in Vietnam tours to Son Doong, you have to register with the travel agent and wait for your turn. However, travelers have to undergo two severe theory and practice tests. If not passing the tests, travelers cannot join tours to Son Doong. It is because Son Doong exploration is adventure tours. During the journey, travelers have to walk more than 50km through jungles, rough routes, big stone blocks... Explorers will sleep in rents and have a bath according to the preparation of the travel agent. Travelers will join a tour without modern facilities, like a wild life.

6. When is the best time to visit Son Doong?

The best time to travel Son Doong is from February to August. The rest months are rainy season, which is very dangerous to travelers. From February to April, the weather in Son Doong is very cool. It is perfect to discover the cave. Yet, it is a little cold at night. From May to August, it is hot and humid weather. Therefore, travelers have to prepare a good health before the trip.

7. What to bring from Son Doong?

It is a big note that travelers must not take any thing from Son Doong. Travelers are not allowed to litter, break trees, defoliate leaves, absolutely not touch anything in the cave when the experts have not allowed, because the stalactites are still in process of formation, just a touch can make stalactite stop the development process. It is important that what you bring into the cave must be brought out. Not touching the stalactites also protects your health because many things in the cave have not checked.

8. How long of waiting for a Son Doong tour?

Tours to Son Doong is full for the year of 2015. If you want to register for the next year's tour, you have to wait for the specific evaluation of experts about the affection of tours to the environment. If the affection is high and affects the ecosystem of the cave, the travel company will stop tours to reserve the original beauty of Son Doong Cave. However, it is no hopeless about Son Doong tours. If having enough financial budget and health, do not hesitate to book a tour to Son Doong. If some one quits the tour in the last minutes, you may be chosen.

9. Is it available private tours to Son Doong?

Any individual or organization visiting Son Doong without the allowance of the management board of Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park is seen to violate the law. Thus, you can join the adventure tour with the travel company having the right. It is the best way. 10. What about other attractions beside Son Doong? During the waiting time for taking part in tours to Son Doong Cave, you can choose other tours such as Phong Nha Ke Bang tours to caves of Tu Lan, Swallow Cave, Paradise Cave, and Phong Nha Cave. Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park has many interesting services for tourists to enjoy Vietnam holidays in this national park.

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