Son Doong Cave among dream destinations in 2019: Lonely Planet

Son Doong Cave among dream destinations in 2019: Lonely Planet

The world’s largest known cave, Son Doong, in Quang Binh province, has been named as one of the dream destinations of 2019 in an article by Lonely Planet.

Son Doong, the largest cave in the world, is ranked third in the list, after the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru and the cultural, music, art festival ‘Burning Man’ in Nevada.

Son Doong Cave. (Photo: Ryan Deboodt)

Lonely Planet wrote: “To make sure you don’t miss out on making your travel dreams come true in 2019”.

The article described that the incredible depths of the world’s largest cave lures in travellers who want a true adventure. But the arduous journey into this subterranean site makes booking a trek essential. The major tour operator that takes travellers inside, Oxalis Adventure Tours, says on its website that less than 300 spaces remain for 2019 tours.

In 2019, Quang Binh Provincial Department of Tourism coordinated some units to work with major media companies in the world to implement some reality television programmes in Son Doong Cave and Phong Nha – Ke Bang.

Son Doong Cave. (Photo: Ryan Deboodt)

Son Doong Cave has been recognised as the largest of its kind in the world by three international organisations, including Guinness ( based in the UK), the Association World Record (based in Hong Kong) and WorldKings (based in the U.S. and India).

The Vietnam Record Association, VietKings, said Son Doong Cave is the first and only place in the world to hold titles granted by three international world record organisations at the same time.

The cave is located in the heart of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province. Son Doong was discovered by a local in 1991. It was first explored in 2009 by the British Cave Research Association and has been open to the public since 2013.

The 1,645m-long cave system, which extends through a mountain, was named one of the most captivating caves on earth by National Geographic.

Geologists say the cave formed two to five million years ago. It is roughly 6,5km long, 200m high and 150m wide, exceeding the former world record of Deer Cave in Gunung Muli National Park in Malaysia.

Quang Binh authorities have permitted Oxalis to operate the most expensive tour in Vietnam to explore the world’s largest cave Son Doong.

Son Doong cave tour is not a pleasure trip or vacation, it is an exploration trip being  full of obstacles and challenges, hence it requires participants to have physical and mental abilities, goals, and determination, stressed the Oxalis’s director.

Once inside hikers are expected to abseil, climb, crawl and swim through underground rivers to arrive at the end of the cave. It’s an adventure like no other.

Despite the physical demands guests are perfectly cared for, two caving experts, three local guides, two chefs, two park rangers and 20 porters join every expedition.

Son Doong cave tour in 2018 was full with 873 local and international visitors, including 290 adventurers from the U.S. and 154 holidaymakers from Vietnam.

This has brought the total number of visitors to the world’s largest cave to 2,900 since tours were first available in 2013.

Currently, 40 out of 400 small and large caves in Quang Binh province are open to public. However, local authority has limited the number of visitors to several caves such as Son Doong and En for further protection./.

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