Son Doong Cave
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Ruby Le

Ruby Le is keen on traveling and exploring undiscovered places in Vietnam. He loves to share travel experiences, photos, and write articles after every trip.

Son Doong Cave

If you are passionate about traveling to explore and experience. Son Doong cave is definitely the ideal place that you should visit at least once in your life. Son Doong Cave opens up a majestic natural scene and unique beauty that will overwhelm you when you visit. To make the journey to explore Son Doong cave more complete and meaningful. Origin Vietnam would like to share its experiences in the article below.

1. Where is Son Doong cave?

Son Doong Cave belongs to Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, located in Son Trach commune, Bo Trach district, Quang Binh province, Vietnam. About 45 km northwest of Dong Hoi city and about 490 km south of Hanoi capital.

Adventure Son Doong 1

2. How is Son Doong cave unique?

Located in the oldest limestone mountain area in Asia with an age of 400 – 450 million years. Thanks to technology analyzing fossil sediment samples. Geological researchers have determined that Son Doong cave was formed 3 – 4 million years ago.

Because of its location on a faulted area of ​​the majestic Truong Son range, over millions of years. Son Doong cave was eroded by the water of the Rao Thuong river, creating a giant tunnel, hidden under a dense layer of limestone mountains. Even the ceiling of Son Doong cave cracked outside and began to subside, forming giant sinkholes connecting to the outside.

On December 10, 1990, the cave was first discovered by a local people named Ho Khanh during a trip to the forest, but lost its location. After many search efforts with British cave experts. Finally in 2009, Son Doong cave was announced by the Vietnamese – British cave survey expedition team as the largest natural cave in the world.

With a total volume of 28.5 million m3, length of 9km, width of more than 150m, height of more than 200m. And with a system of more than 350 caves, large and small underground rivers and lakes. By 2013, Guinness World Records recognized Son Doong cave as the largest cave in the world.

3. Records of Son Doong cave

Unprecedented records of Hang Son Doong Quang Binh:

  • Ranked by the New York Times as 8 of the 52 best places to visit in 2014.
  • Moreover, Son Doong Cave ranked first in the list of 15 most magnificent caves in the world as voted by Bored Panda.
  • Especially, Hang Son Doong has officially become the first and only place in the world that has been jointly established by all three world record organizations to date: Guinness World Records (headquartered in UK), World Records Association (headquarters in Hong Kong) and World Records Union (headquarters in US and India).
  • Besides, it is the largest cave in the world with its unique ecosystem. Son Doong Cave has been put into operation for adventure tourism since 2013. Up to now, it has always proven attractive to the domestic and international tourism community with its majestic beauty. In addition, along with professionalism in operating organization, sustainable exploitation and many other great values.
Adventure Son Doong 2

4. When is the best time to explore Son Doong cave?

Son Doong cave tours last from January to August every year. From September to December, Son Doong cave is closed for tourism and exploration activities to ensure your safety and allow time for the ecosystem to recover. So you can refer to the time periods below to choose the right trip for yourself!

  • January – March: the air in Phong Nha is still chilly, helping you save energy when walking through the forest all day long. This is the time when natural mountains and forests sprout and the trees are green.
  • April – May: Phong Nha is now in the transition season, the sun is light but not harsh, and there is little rain. This is a great time for you to trek without having to worry too much about weather conditions.
  • June – August: you will see clouds floating right at eye level in the cave walls and comfortably immerse yourself in cool water when wading streams on the way or swimming in the underground river inside the cave.

5. How to get to Son Doong cave?

5.1 Moving to Quang Binh

Quang Binh is a destination region that possesses many natural heritages, wild and majestic landscapes. Therefore, there are many means of transportation for you to choose from when traveling to Quang Binh.

5.1.1 By plane

To serve the travel needs of people and the increasing number of tourists. Quang Binh province has built Dong Hoi airport with flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The flight time to Dong Hoi is only about 1 hour and 30 hours. So those in the South will not need to worry about having to spend too much time getting to Dong Hoi. This is a means of transportation to help you save travel time and health to prepare for the journey to explore Son Doong cave.

After arriving at Dong Hoi airport, you can take a tour, rent a motorbike. Or take a taxi to the Son Doong cave area.

5.1.2 By passenger car

From Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, there are many bus companies running the North-South route and passing through Quang Binh.

  • From Hanoi: You can go to Nuoc Ngam, Giap Bat,… bus stations to catch a bus to Quang Binh. Travel time is about 10 hours.
  • From Saigon: You can go to Mien Dong bus station to catch a bus to Quang Binh. Travel time is about 24 hours.

5.1.3 By train

Dong Hoi Station is located on the Thong Nhat railway line. So there are many trains running through here with many time frames for you to choose from.

  • If you are in Hanoi, you can choose trains departing at night to arrive in Dong Hoi early in the morning to save time.
  • Or you can choose a train that departs at 6:00 a.m. (SE7) and arrives in Dong Hoi at 4:00 p.m. Which fits the hotel check-in time.
  • For those of you in Saigon, you should choose trains that leave in the morning and arrive in Dong Hoi the next morning. If you have plenty of time, you can take the train for a very different travel experience.

5.2 Traveling from Dong Hoi city to Son Doong cave

You will ride with the travel company to kilometer 39 of Ho Chi Minh Road. From here you will begin the process of exploring the wonderful Son Doong cave. To get to the cave, you have to walk quite a distance.

6. Exploring the beauty of Son Doong cave

Since its discovery in 2009, Son Doong cave still maintains its position as the most magnificent, largest and most mysterious cave in the world. With dozens of kilometers of caves deep in limestone mountains, underground rivers, cliffs and a whole ecosystem of its own.

All of these things create a diverse, rich and extremely captivating natural complex, that attracts you from all four directions. Also in Son Doong, you can find natural wonders seen for the first time in the world.

6.1 Giant Son Doong cave

Son Doong Quang Binh is the largest natural cave in the world with a height of 200m. It is enough to fit a 40-storey building or dozens of the largest Boeing aircraft.

Just setting foot at the entrance of the cave, every cold wind blowing in the cave will melt away the fatigue of the arduous journey of “crossing the forest and wading streams” that you have had to go through. Not only will you be amazed by the vast space of the cave. You will also feel extremely excited by the magical mystery hidden behind the magical thick fog.

6.2 Underground Eden

Not only famous for its giant size, the scenery inside Son Doong cave also creates an extremely majestic scene. With mountains, rivers and a forest with an extremely unique and diverse ecosystem.

Son Doong is home to many different species of flora and fauna. It created by an underground river flowing deep underground and illuminated by the sunlight of a collapsed part of the cave.

6.3 “Vietnam Wall”

Right in front of the cave entrance is a 90m high stone wall, named “Vietnam Wall” by explorers. This is one of the most difficult challenges during the Son Doong cave expedition. You will have to conquer this wall with ladders, ropes and the help of technicians.

6.4 Giant stalactite system

Son Doong Cave attracts you because of its geological diversity in the special terrain of underground rivers and vast caves. If the stalactites in Phong Nha cave are magnificent. Then in Son Doong the stalactite system is like powerful giants with stalagmite columns more than 70m high. It is even taller than the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France and has many shapes built millions of years ago.

6.5 The world’s largest cave pearls

In addition, people also discovered cave “pearls”. Jade envelops a type of pearl-like seed under the sea, mainly composed of the world’s largest calcite in Son Doong. Normally, these “pearls” are only about 1cm in diameter. But in Son Doong, they are as big as a baseball.

6.6 “First cave” entrance – Hang En

Hang En – the third largest cave in the world is the only access road to conquer Son Doong cave. The cave entrance is very large, allowing sunlight to pour into the cave like a giant lamp. It illuminates the crystal clear turquoise lake in a very magical way that will definitely make you scream with excitement.

In 2015, Hang En was brought to the big screen in the blockbuster movie “Pan” with the participation of many Hollywood stars.

6.7 “Dog Paw” stone block

“Dog’s paw” is a giant stalactite, towering in the heart of Son Doong cave. Standing from this position, you can see far away, admiring the entire majestic beauty of Son Doong cave. From the dog’s paw to the Dinosaur sinkhole (First sinkhole), you have to go through 1km of giant cave.

7. Activities and experiences when conquering Son Doong cave

7.1 Swimming in the cave

With many underground rivers and lakes, swimming in Son Doong cave is both mandatory. And It is an opportunity for you to retain interesting experiences. The water in the cave flows continuously so it is very clean and cool. However in some areas the flow is quite fast so you must follow the tour guide’s regulations.

7.2 Hunting for photos of sunlight and clouds

Photos of sunlight and fog have created a “brand” for Son Doong cave. If you want to see and save this beautiful image, you should come here in the spring. Because at this time the sunlight shines through the cave’s sinkhole. The fog spreading throughout the cave also helps make the scene more magical and beautiful.

7.3 “One-of-a-kind” campsite

The two campsites in Son Doong cave are definitely one of the most beautiful and unique campsites in the world. Both areas are located on the edge of sinkholes so you can see the starry sky on clear nights.

8. Meals while conquering Son Doong cave

The tour to conquer Son Doong cave usually lasts 4 days 3 nights or 5 days 4 nights. On the first and last days, you will stay at a hotel in Dong Hoi city. At that time, you will have a buffet breakfast at the hotel. For main meals you can order a set menu or you can go to outside restaurants to enjoy specialties in Quang Binh. We can mention specialties, such as: Canh Porridge, Bot Loc Cake, Banh Hoi, Beo Cake, eel porridge, oyster porridge, snakehead fish porridge,…

During the process of conquering Son Doong cave, you will have two nights camping right in Son Doong cave. Meals are usually prepared by chefs right at the campsite. Food brought is often pre-prepared or dishes that are easy to prepare but still ensure nutrition for you.

9. What do you need to prepare before conquering Son Doong cave?

  • Health: This journey is always dangerous, medical experts will conduct a survey to check your health to ensure you are eligible to participate in the trip. An extremely useful Son Doong travel experience is that before traveling to explore Son Doong cave. You must practice walking about 10km per day and be able to cross at least one hill about 200 – 300m high. Persistently practice for 3 – 6 months before the journey begins and you will have enough physical strength to participate in this wonderful journey.
  • Clothing: Because the travel distance is quite long, you need to prepare well for personal belongings and clothes. You should use shoes that are airy and soft, do not hurt your feet, and can grip rocks and climb mountains. Dress comfortably, airy and convenient for movement. But remember to bring warm clothes because the temperature in the cave at night is quite cold.
  • Personal belongings: Sunscreen and insect repellent are two extremely important things you cannot forget to bring on your trip. And to have super quality photos, don’t forget your tripod and camera.

10. Accommodation when conquering Son Doong cave

Tours to explore Son Doong cave usually last 5 days and 4 nights. Including two nights of camping at Son Doong cave. On the first and last days, you will stay at the hotel arranged by the travel company. The hotels may be the hotels below.

10.1 Resorts:

  • MANLI Resort Quang Binh. Address: No. 379 Truong Phap, Quang Phu Commune, Dong Hoi City, Quang Binh.
  • Gold Coast Hotel Resort & Spa. Address: Vo Nguyen Giap Street, Bao Ninh, Bao Ninh Commune, Dong Hoi City, Quang Binh.
  • Sun Spa resort. Address: Vo Nguyen Giap street, My Canh, Dong Hoi city, Quang Binh.

10.2 Hotels:

  • Muong Thanh Holiday Quang Binh. Address: No. 119 Truong Phap, Hai Thanh ward, Hai Thanh, Dong Hoi city, Quang Binh.
  • Vinpearl Hotel Quang Binh. Address: Quach Xuan Ky, Hai Dinh, Dong Hoi city, Quang Binh.
  • Muong Thanh Luxury Nhat Le Hotel. Address: 121 Truong Phap, Bac Ly, Dong Hoi City, Quang Binh.
  • Nam Long Hotel. Address: 22 Ho Xuan Huong, Dong Hoi city, Quang Binh.
  • Riverside Hotel. Address: 15 Truong Phap, Dong My, Dong Hoi city, Quang Binh.

11. Some important notes when conquering Son Doong cave

To make your adventure tour in Vietnam to explore Son Doong cave complete and meaningful, you should consider some of the following necessary notes:

  • All of your luggage will be carried by the porters. You only bring a small backpack containing a camera, water bottle, ice cream, toothbrush and sunscreen.
  • The travel company has prepared a tent for you to rest and to ensure hygiene in the cave. The company also prepares portable toilets that are extremely hygienic and clean. After each tour, a team will clean up all plastic containers and bring them out of the burial cave. To ensure the safety of your trip, you need to absolutely comply with the regulations set by the tour company.
  • Note that when moving in Son Doong cave, you can only go in one small path that the guide has indicated. And not go out other paths to ensure the wild beauty of the cave.
  • On the way, if you see snakes or any other animals, do not poke or chase them. You just quietly walk past them because they are warned that they are very poisonous.
  • You cannot organize your own tour to visit Son Doong cave. If you want to visit, you must register with Origin Vietnam travel company.

The journey to conquer Son Doong Cave in Quang Binh will certainly be a memorable and meaningful experience in your life when witnessing the most magical and majestic natural masterpiece on this planet. Please immediately contact Origin Vietnam – a professional tour operator, for more detailed information about this challenging journey of conquest. We always accompany you on every tours in Quang Binh and bring the best experiences.

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