Local name: Hang Sơn ĐoòngThis is how you enter the cave. Carsten Peter
The Hang Son Doong Cave became famous in 2009 when it was declared the largest cave in the world. It is five kilometres deep and 150 metres wide and up to 200 metres high. A river flows through the cave, and there is even a tropical rainforest. This can grow thanks to the sunlight that shines through the sinkholes along the cave ceiling.
Son Doong means ‘mountain river cave’, obviously named after the river that runs through the cave. The river created this cave around 2,5 million years. The water slowly eroded the lime stone surface, which sometimes caused the top of the cave to collapse.
These sink holes are special because this is where there is lush vegetation inside the cave. Another remarkable thing in Son Doong are the so-called cave pearls, perfectly formed spheres created by concretion of calcium salts that form layers around a grain of sand, for example.
The cave is located in the Quang Binh province in Vietnam, on the border with Laos.
Access to the cave is difficult. It can only be reached by taking a multi-day camping expedition with a guide. It’s very pricy (around 5000 US dollar) and gets booked out quickly. There is a waiting list of several months, because the trip is so popular.