Who doesn’t love a little caving, exploring deep jungles and venturing where few others have ventured before? Here’s your chance as Vietnam welcomes visitors to the world’s largest cave, Son Doong, for the first time. Get ready to splash out, tours start at $3,000 a head.
The world’s largest cave was discovered by a local man in 1991 but it wasn’t until 2009 that the first cavers, incidentally from Britain, had the chance to explore inside it. The cave reaches back an impressive 5.5 miles and is so large you could fit a 40-story skyscraper inside!
Visiting this cave is no walk in the park. It’s located in a remote jungle in Vietnam’s back country. Oxalis is the first tour company to offer 6-day trips to the cave but the experience doesn’t come cheap. It costs US$3,000 per person, with the first tours taking place in February next year. And that doesn’t even include your flights to Vietnam!
Descend into the world’s largest cave…
The man who stumbled upon the cave’s entrance didn’t dare go in due to the steep drop down right at the opening. Those who sign up for the trip will need to rappel 80 metres down to enter the Son Doong cave. On the first night, cavers will sleep near the Hand of Dog, a ginormous stalagmite that looks like a dog’s paw.
Because the roof of the cave collapsed hundreds of years ago, there’s now a lush jungle growing inside where monkeys and flying foxes now live. The cave is an explorer’s dream with fields of algae and rare cave pearls formed on the ground. These pearls are shaped over hundreds of years by dripping water leaving calcite crystals on grains of sand. They’re simply spectacular.
The cave has its own river and waterfall where scientists have discovered never-before-seen plant species.
Tours start in Phong Nha and participants should be pretty fit when signing up. There is a significant amount of trekking involved and it’s not recommended for travellers who’ve never pitched a tent before. The first day along required a 10km hike through the jungle to reach the mouth of the cave. Fear of heights? It’s probably best you sit this one out too.
Who’s up for the journey of a lifetime?