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How to discover Hang Son Doong Cave – World's largest cave in Vietnam

Son Doong cave (Vietnamese: Hang Son Doong) is world's largest cave, located in Son Trach, Bo Trach District, Quang Binh province, Vietnam. It is found by a local man named Ho Khanh in 1991 and was recently discovered in 2009 by British cavers, led by Howard Limbert. The name "Son Doong" cave means "mountain river cave", It was created 2-5 million years ago by river water eroding away the limestone underneath the mountain Where the limestone was weak, the ceiling collapsed creating huge skylights.

Son Doong cave is more than 200 meters wide, 150 meters high, and approx 9 kilometers long, with caverns big enough to fit an entire city street inside them, twice as large as Deer Cave in Malaysia (currently considered the world's largest with 90 meters wide, 100 meters high and 2 kilometers long). Son Doong cave was classified as the largest cave in the world by BCRA (British Cave Research Association) and selected as one of the most beautiful in the globe by the BBC news.

Son Doong cave is hidden in rugged Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province near the border with Laos, the cave is part of a network of 150 or so caves, many still not surveyed, in the Annamite Mountains. It is very difficult to travers. During the first expedition, the team explored two and a half miles of Son Doong cave before a 200-foot wall of muddy calcite stopped them. They named it the Great Wall of Vietnam.

Above it they could make out an open space and traces of light, but they had no idea what lay on the other side. A year later, they have returned—seven hard-core British cavers, a few scientists, and a crew of porters – to climb the wall, if they can, measure the passage, and push on, if possible, all the way to the end of the cave…


HOW TO GET THERE & AWAYS


Son Doong cave is hidden in rugged Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province near the border with Laos. It takes explorers 6 hours of walking through a 10 kilometer long forest path from Truong Son Highway to reach the mouth of Son Dong cave.

The nearest town is Dong Hoi which is 65km away (55km driving & 10km trekking).
To get to Dong Hoi you can travel by air, car, train from either two big tourist hubs Hanoi & HoChiMinh City, or from smaller hubs Hue and Hoian.


HOW TO TREK & CAVING


You can rent a local English speaking guide by yourselves or Local Tour Operators will provide English speaking tour guide from Dong Hoi. The local tour guide is the one who know the area and the cave well. They will try to arrange Mr. Ho Khanh (the one who discovered Son Doong Cave) to be your local tour guide but that is not a guarantee.

You should located your camp for the evening will be in a clearing in (or near) En Cave. Twin shared tent will be provided with sleeping bag. Hamok can also provided if you preferred.


CAVING TRIPS


The best trip is 3-day-tour departure from Dong Hoi with 2 nights camping in En Cave (2hr walking from Son Doong Cave) and around 6-7hr exploring inside Son Doong Cave. It is possible to explore only a part of the cave with support from local support team including local guide, porter and forest rangers.

2-day-tour can also be arranged with 1 night camping and only 3hrs exploring inside Son Doong Cave.
For detailed itineraries please view our tour section. Learn more >> Son Doong Caving trip

BEST TIME FOR CAVING SON DOONG

The coast area of Quang Binh has tropical climate and is divided into two distinguished seasons. The dry season (from March to August) has a maximum temperature of 40o C and the colder, rainy season (August to January) has temperatures that can go down to 19o C. In higher areas (on mountains, highlands) the temperature is generally cooler.

From March to August will be the best time to explore Son Doong Cave, especially between March and April when the temperature is more pleasant, though rainfalls are still likely. During the rainy season, between September and January rain is more frequent and can be heavy. More >> [ Things needed for caving Son Doong Vietnam ]

WHAT GEARS YOU SHOULD BRING

Though the local support team can walk or jump easily on rocks inside the cave and need no caving gears that does not mean you can do the same as they do. Bring with you basic caving gears like helmet, booths, head lamp,…anything you would need for a serious caving adventure.

You are expected to encounter some water inside the cave thus it is wise to packed your belongings in waterproof backpack.
The camping is equipped with tent & sleeping bag and will be upgraded with air mattress soon. 

Leaches could be the biggest nature obstacle as you trek through jungle and at the campsite thus anti-insect repellent is a must-have.

Learn more >>Son Doong Cave Guideline
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