Son Doong Cave in Vietnam is by far the largest cave in the world. And the remarkable thing is that even as recently as 2009 we did not know about the grand cave and the entire cave ecosystem that it houses. It is a natural wonder which was lying hidden in the hinterland of Vietnam. Before the Son Doong Cave was discovered another cave from the Far Eastern region had the honor of being labeled the world’s largest cave. Malaysia’s Deer Cave was considered the largest in the world. The Son Doong Cave is about 9km in length, 200m in width and 150m in height. It houses an entire cave ecosystem including a river and jungles.
The cave was first discovered by a local man Ho Khanh but the locals did not realize the enormity of their discovery or the enormous layout of the cave. It was in 2009 that a group of British cavers led by Howard Limbert explored the cave’s interior and realized the full extent of the cave. It was then realized that Son Doong was indeed the largest cave in the world. The interior of the cave is unique which has been carved out by water flowing over limestone for millions of years. It has resulted in some spectacular formations. The collapses from the roof has given birth to a jungle ecosystem populated with species that are not found anywhere else in the world. Towering stalactites and ancient fossils are found all along the large river flowing along the cave.
The Cave is Open for Public and Tour Operators are Offering Treks
The cave is large enough to accommodate entire city streets and skyscrapers. Ho Khanh, the local man, had actually stumbled on the cave as a child while wondering in the jungle to find food and used the cave to hide from bombs and from the rain. After the war he had forgotten where the cave was but was able to locate it again after a long time. However, he found a very steep approach to the caves which was very difficult. It was a team of British explorers who explored the cave thoroughly and realized in the end that they were in the largest known cave in the world. The government has now opened the cave for the public and allowed the tour operators to host treks through the caves. The first such tours began operating this summer. These are expensive treks costing as much as $3,000.