Son Doong Expedition – The World’s Largest Cave (Part 1)

Mother Nature has generously endowed numerous magnificent and majestic natural scenery on the territory of Quang Binh. A spectacular cave system has been developed by a geographical location with multiple limestone ridges over 300 million years old, intertwined rivers, and abundant annual rainfall.

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Son Doong Cave (also known as Mountain River Cave) was first found in 1991 by Ho Khanh, a local farmer from Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh. Locals in Phong Nha are extremely poor, and they have resorted to eke out a living by venturing deeper into the bush in search of aloe, a highly prized wood. Khanh, like many others, became an illegal logger and fell lost in the thick bush. As the sky began to darken, he went to seek refuge nearby, and by chance discovered the vast cave's mouth. He did not venture further into the cave since he lacked a rope and lighting, and he returned home a day after. Locals did not trust him when he told them the story. He wanted to keep his word, but he couldn't recall the road to the cave because there isn't any human track at all. Eventually, the story became a legend, and he stopped dreaming of becoming wealthy through aloe and returned to his regular chores, which essentially consisted of farming. He never gave up hope, though, of finding the cave again.

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After hearing of Khanh's discovery of the cave in 1991, a group of cavers from Great Britain came to seek assistance and guidance in finding new caves in the Quang Binh area, and Khanh obliged. The rest of the team was still lost after three days in the jungle. The team went on two more expeditions but were still beaten by the jungle's density.
He rediscovered the cave in 2009 as a last-ditch effort to retrieve his memory. The team quickly returned, and they eventually discovered what they were looking for and has been public to the world. The cave's name is Son Doong, and it was given to it by Ho Khanh. By volume and size, this cave has become the world's natural largest cave. It is substantially larger than Deer Cave in Malaysia's Gunung Mulu National Park, which was previously known as the world's largest cave until 2009, and it can also accommodate up to 68 Boeing 777 jets.
In 2014, Oxalis Adventure Tours was granted permission to access the cave for tourism purposes, however, only a small number of tourists would be allowed into the cave for conservation considerations. The company only operates for 1000 places per season, and the tour is only held between the end of January and the end of August This is also the optimum period for cave exploration and hiking. The cave's one trail must be scrupulously followed by all customers. After the tour is completed, everything must be brought out and returned to its original state.

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You'll spend three nights camping in the caves.

Day 1: The first night was spent at Hang En, the world's third-largest cave after Son Doong and Deer Caves. The adventure will begin at 9 a.m and will take you to the designated drop-off location. After that, you descend around 200 meters to the Rao Thuong valley. There are numerous rivers that cross, and the scenery is breathtaking. The journey to Doong village, a minority Bru Van Kieu ethnic community where you will have lunch, takes 3 hours. After lunch, you'll continue walking to Hang En, where you'll be awestruck by the scenery – it's spectacular!

The British Cave Research Association originally discovered Hang En in 1994. The journey from Phong Nha village to Hang En took three days at that time.
Hang En is one of the most spectacular caves in Vietnam. The cave's name simply derives from the thousands of swifts that live inside. Our camping area is 200 meters long and 100 meters wide. During the rainy season, water levels can rise above 80 meters, that is the reason why no one should be here at that time. After the main entrance, there are some tetra-coral fossils. Both the dry and river passages of the cave are around 2 kilometres long. The passage in the river tunnel leading to the exit is extremely beautiful.

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Right at the camp, hot coffee or tea is waiting for you. You never anticipate dinner to be flawlessly prepared by local chefs and porters in such a remote location. After dinner, a photoshoot will be organized for those who enjoy taking images or simply hanging out with the team around the campfire. The views from the cave's larger main entrance, which are rendered even more breath-taking by the spectacular sunbeams, should not be missed on the following day of the journey. There are no words to express how incredible it is.

I will, without a doubt, continue to upload part 2 as soon as possible. In this blog, I'll show you how incredible Son Doong is and what you'll need to prepare for your absolutely epic adventure.

Thank you again for taking the time to read my post; I hope to show you around someday. Have a great day, and I'll see you in my next post.

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