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Overview

Son Doong Cave is located in the heart of the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province of Central Vietnam. Explored in 2009-2010 by the British Cave Research Association, Son Doong Cave has only been open to the public since 2013.
All research and tourist expeditions have thus far have been organized and led by local adventure tour company Oxalis, in partnership with British Cave Research Association and with the permission of the government of Vietnam.

Discovery

From an early age, local man Ho Khanh used to spend weeks on end trekking and maneuvering his way through the jungles of the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, searching for food and timber to earn a modest income.
In 1990 while out on a hunting mission, Ho Khanh stumbled across an opening in a limestone cliff and moved forward to investigate. As he approached he noticed clouds billowing out of the entrance, and could hear the sounds of a river raging from somewhere inside the cave. See more

When he could feel a strong wind also blowing out from the cave, he decided to move on without further inspection. By the time he had returned to his home a few days later, he had forgotten its exact location and thought no more of it.At the same time two members of the British Cave Research Association (BCRA), Howard and Deb Limbert, were basing themselves in Phong Nha to conduct exploratory cave expeditions in the area. While chatting with Ho Khanh one day, he mentioned to the caving experts that he had found a cave with clouds and a river inside. Howard and Deb were intrigued and urged Ho Khanh to try and rediscover the cave. After many failed attempts, they began to think this elusive cavern might remain lost in the jungle forever more.
In 2008 while out on another food gathering trip, Ho Khanh found the mysterious opening again and studiously took note of the path on how to get there. In 2009 he led Howard, Deb and a team of professionals back to the cave for the first expedition to enter what would later become known as Hang Son Doong, or ‘Mountain River Cave’.
Ho Khanh is still an integral part of every Son Doong Expedition

Geology & size

The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam contains the oldest karst system in Asia, between 400-450 million years old. Hang Son Doong itself is relatively young, with the analysis of sediment dating it to be only 3 million years old.
Formed on the edge of a fault zone, Hang Son Doong has been carved out by the mighty Rao Thuong River as it erodes away the limestone, forming the enormous tunnel beneath the Annamite Mountains. Giant sinkholes, known as dolines, have collapsed sometime up to 300’000 years ago, creating massive openings to the outside world. Cave pearls the size of baseballs have been formed by water dropping from the ceiling.See more

The first expedition had been halted by an 80m high calcite barrier, which was jokingly dubbed the ‘Great Wall Of Vietnam’. It wasn’t until their second expedition in 2010, when the Great Wall was finally climbed and the end of the passage was found, that Hang Son Doong was determined to be the largest cave in the world.
At over 5km long, with sections reaching up to 200m tall and 150m wide, Hang Son Doong is large enough to house an entire New York City block, complete with 40 story skyscrapers. With a total measured volume of 38.5 million cubic metres, this comfortably surpasses Deer Cave in Malaysia, which was considered to be the previous record holder. Stalagmites up to 80m high have also been surveyed, the tallest ever encountered.
Cave experts are doing researches about the connection of Son Doong Cave & Hang Thung Cave, the final result will soon be updated. Find more information about the Diving Expedition inside Son Doong Cave

Ban Doong Village

To get to Hang Son Doong, your journey will have you go through Ban Doong - a small village of the Bru Van Kieu people with about 40 inhabitants living deep inside the Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park. The life of the people here is still very difficult due to the terrain and the remote location as well, far away from civilization. Currently, the only way to get to Ban Doong is to walk through the forest. Besides, due to being located in the core zone of the National Park, the cultivation and exploitation of economic crops are not allowed.See more

The opening of the Hang Son Doong and Hang En sightseeing routes has made way for many opportunities for sustainable development of Ban Doong; the people living here can earn additional income from the protection of the natural assets and general eco-system of the area. With a hospitable nature, the warmth of the Ban Doong people has left many visitors with wonderful impressions and has become an unforgettable highlight of the Son Doong Expedition and the Hang En Cave Adventure. Ban Doong is the perfect example of preserving the cultural and spiritual values of ethnic minorities, as their cultural features have remained intact for decades.

Tourist Activities

Son Doong Cave Expedition 4 Days

Son Doong Cave is operated exclusively by Oxalis Adventure Tours. Oxalis is the first adventure tour company in Phong Nha and part of the initial efforts to explore Son Doong Cave through their support of the British Cave Research Association.

Son Doong Cave is the largest cave on Earth, with its own eco-system and is embellished with gigantic formations. The Son Doong Expedition is truly the adventure of a lifetimeSee more

Which tour operators can I choose to go to Son Doong tour?

Due to environmental and safety and conservation of Son Doong Cave, the Government of Quang Binh Province, Vietnam, has granted permission to only one tour company, Oxalis Adventure Tours to bring tourists to Son Doong Cave. Oxalis are the first adventure tour company in Phong Nha and part of the initial efforts to explore Son Doong Cave through their support of the British Cave Research Association.

Only 1000 tourist to be allowed to visit the cave a year from January to end of August each year, each tour Oxalis will bring 10 tourists to explore Son Doong Cave and there are 30 staffs including cave safet expert, guide, safety assistants, chefs, and porters carrying about 600kg equipments in and out of the cave during 4 days and 3 night camping in the cave.

Oxalis takes its position in the adventure tourism sector and Vietnam tourism very seriously and strives to create the safest adventures possible for its staff and guests. Oxalis operates on an international level of quality employing one of the top caving groups in the World to oversee all caving operations.

Booking must be made before arrival in Phong Nha to ensure your place on the limited departures available. Oxalis use a simple booking system calendar similar to when searching for a flight. Available dates will be displayed in your preferred week or month.

Why Son Doong Cave tour is USD$3,000 per person?

Son Doong Cave is currently the world’s largest cave and it is environmental sensitive therefore the Government of Quang Binh province issued a regulation that allows only 1000 tourists can visit the cave each year, each tour normally 10 tourists. In order to manage the cave sustainably, only one operator to be appointed to run tours to Son Doong and Oxalis Adventure was appointed as the only operator since 2013. Oxalis Adventure has been collaborating with the British Cave and Research Association in maintaining safety and conservation. Below are the reasons why Son Doong Expedition cost US$3000:
1. In this $3,000 tour price, 10 percent of tax is already included, $660 is the environmental service fee that will be transferred to the management of the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park.
2. The fees also go to the 22 porters, five safety assistants, one international tour guide, a cave expert, two cooks and a forest ranger who accompany every 10 people who take a tour.
3. Other expenses include transportation, hotel, food and drinks, management and administration during the tour. (Not including international and domestic airfares).

Son Doong