Situated in the depths of the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, Hang Son Doong is one of Vietnam’s greatest natural wonders. Discovered in 1991 and known as the world’s largest cave by volume, the sheer size of Hang Son Doong will leave you speechless.
Inside Son Doong the Largest Cave in the World
Hang Son Doong is an absolute behemoth of a cave, full of soaring 70-meter stalagmites. Reaching heights of up to 660 feet (200m) and wide enough for a Boeing 747 to seamlessly fly through it without any damage to its wings, visitors to Son Doong will feel minuscule in comparison.
Son Doong is a microcosm, housing not only an eclectic range of flora and fauna but also its own weather system and cloud patterns. Home to several species of monkeys, birds, and bats, ancient fossils can be found embedded within the cave’s grooves and crypts, making it feel even more like a lost world.
Reaching Son Doong
The principal reason why the Hang Son Doong remained undiscovered for so long is that it is situated within a dense wilderness. Visiting it requires a substantial hike through the rainforest, past the village of Ban Doong, as well as several water crossings to reach the cave’s massive opening.
Simply getting to Son Doong is a huge achievement and is not for the faint of heart. Tourists must have a baseline level of physical fitness and mental fortitude to reach the grotto’s entrance, but the effort is definitely worth it. Once you step inside the cave, you will be transported to a prehistoric landscape that is completely devoid of any human influence.
Undisturbed lakes will flow at your feet while exotic-looking plants reveal themselves from heights you didn’t think were possible. Voices will echo and gasps from awe-inspired tourists will reverberate through the caverns as you take in its otherworldly beauty.
How to Visit
Oxalis is the only company that is permitted to run tours inside Hang Son Doong and while the tour of the cave is incredible, immersive, and once-in-a-lifetime, it will come at a hefty cost of $3,000. However, visitors will be provided with food, water, and mountaineering equipment, with the expedition lasting for several days.
The immense popularity of the tour means there is a substantial backlog of visitors waiting for their turn to explore. If you’re prepared to spend the money, then you’ll also have to possess considerable patience as it’s not uncommon to remain on a waiting list for years at a time.
If you’re unphased about the long waiting time, just remember that the wait is definitely worth it. In the thirty years since its discovery, Son Doong Cave has had fewer visitors than the summit of Mount Everest, meaning that its tourists will be part of an elite group.
A hidden treasure in Quang Binh Province, reaching this Hang Son Doong is no easy task, but the reward of exploring its grandiose caverns will make the trek worth it. While in the area, make sure to explore the rest of Vietnam’s Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park while on your journey.
Address: Xuân Trạch, Bố Trạch District, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam
Season: February – August
Length/Depth: 5.592 mi | 492′ 0″
Permit: Required | Expensive