The 500-permit limit for entrance to Son Doong Cave this year has been fully booked, said Nguyen Chau A. Tourists from the US booked the majority of permits with 145 people, followed by Australians and Vietnamese with 123 and 115 adventurers, respectively.
Night at Edam Garden in Son Doong Cave (Source: Ryan Deboodt)
Son Doong, located in the central province of Quang Binh, was first discovered by a local man in 1991 and made public by the United Kingdom’s Royal Geographical Society in 2009 and is considered the world’s biggest cave. The cave is about 200 metres wide and over 150 metres high. With its largest chamber estimated at 250 metres tall, the cave is said to have enough space to accommodate a 40-storey skyscraper. It contains at least 150 individual grottos, a dense subterranean jungle, and several underground rivers.
It has made headlines in prestigious magazines and on television channels, including the National Geographic in 2011 and recently on the American Broadcasting Company channel. Recently, Boredpanda website – a leading art, design and photography community – listed Vietnam’s Son Doong Cave among top 15 unbelievable places that could belong to another planet. Up to 250 adventurers have explored the Cave so far this year.
In order to develop tourism in Son Doong cave in Phong Nha Ke Bang as well as preserve the cave and the park, Vietnam tourism department has limited the number of tourists visiting Son Doong Cave and implemented responsible travel with many strict regulations for both travellers and tour operators.
So what do those tours to Phong Nha Ke Bang have to offer? The easiest trip is 2 days 1 night tour including relaxing in Phong Nha homestay or resort and spend 4 hour exploring Pradise cave. A level 2 expidition is 2 days tour to Hang Va cave with 12km jungle and mountain trekking, rocky terrain, elevation change up to 150m (between valley and top of mountain), 1 km swimming in caves (from 200m – 500m each cave), 3 km caving, 2 days and 1 night in jungle and caves.
The hardest tour is level 6 – Son Doong Cave tour with 50 km jungle and mountain trekking, elevation change up to 400m (between road and valleys), surface river crossing: 40 times (knee deep, 10-50m wide river), 10 km caving including rope climbs, rocky terrain and scrambling, 80m descent with rope and harnesses, underground river-strong current crossing, 5 days and 4 nights in caves.
Most of Phong Nha Ke Bang tours are clearly for adventurers but not for fainted hearts. If you are seeking for a great adventure then Phong Nha Ke Bang is perfect for your next journey.
Now let’s see more photos of Phong Nha Ke Bang caves systems to see the reason why the many tours has been fully booked this year.