Guides & Tips

Son Doong Cave: Vietnam’s Remarkable Geological Treasure

Mai Anh
3 min. to read

Tucked away in the heart of Vietnam, Son Doong Cave stands as a remarkable geological treasure. Its immense chambers and stunning formations beckon adventurers from around the globe. Let’s embark on a journey to uncover the mysteries of this extraordinary natural wonder. Let’s explore with Sun Getaways Travel!

Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. Best Time to Visit Son Doong Cave

3. How to Get to Son Doong Cave

4. Unique Natural Wonders in Son Doong Cave

5. Who is Suitable for a Son Doong Cave Tour?

6. Preparation Tips Before Visiting Son Doong

1. Introduction

Located: Son Doong Cave is located within the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province.

Let’s explore Quang Binh >>> Unraveling the Adventures of Central

In 1991, a local resident named Ho Khanh stumbled upon the Son Doong Cave, but it wasn’t until 2009 that its immense size and beauty were unveiled to the world. In April of that year, a team of British cavers embarked on an expedition to explore this magnificent cave, located within the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province. Equipped with GPS devices, they ventured 2km into the cave, encountering remarkable formations such as The Great Wall of Vietnam, a colossal stalagmite.

Over the course of nearly 10 days, the expedition team meticulously explored Son Doong Cave, discovering a fossil corridor and numerous calcite chambers adorned with exquisite calcite carbonate pearls formed by water drips. They also came across an underground river originating from the Vietnam/Laos border area. Following their expedition, Son Doong Cave was declared the largest natural cave in the world.

Son Doong Cave the largest natural cave in the world

Today, Son Doong Cave stands as one of Vietnam’s most magnificent natural wonders, drawing visitors from across the globe eager to marvel at its splendor. Only guided excursions are permitted within the cave to guarantee that guests are safe and have a good time. 

2. Best Time to Visit Son Doong Cave

The cave is accessible for tours from February to August; however, each month presents its own advantages and drawbacks:

  • From February to April, the dry season prevails, resulting in reduced rainfall and increased sunshine. This period is ideal for hiking and cave exploration, but it also means lower water levels in the river and the cave’s internal lake. Consequently, kayaking or swimming activities, which are highlights of the tour, may be hindered by insufficient water levels.
  • From May to August, the rainy season sets in, leading to higher water levels and lush greenery. This facilitates kayaking and swimming within the cave, yet it also brings about more clouds and fog. Consequently, visibility may be compromised, and the breathtaking sunbeams that filter through the cave openings might not be as visible.

3. How to Get to Son Doong Cave

3.1. How to get to Quang Binh from Hanoi

Hanoi boasts excellent transportation links to Quang Binh province, the gateway to Son Doong Cave. Below are various transportation options, along with their respective schedules, availability, fares, and contact details:

Option 1: Train

Vietnam Railways operates trains from Hanoi to Quang Binh’s Dong Hoi Railway Station. Multiple trains run daily, with travel times spanning from 10 to 12 hours. Prices vary according to seat class and train type:

  • Hard seat: 250,000 – 350,000 VND ($11 – $15)
  • Soft seat: 350,000 – 550,000 VND ($15 – $24)
  • Hard sleeper (6 berths per cabin): 450,000 – 750,000 VND ($19 – $32)
  • Soft sleeper (4 berths per cabin): 600,000 – 1,150,000 VND ($26 – $50)

Hanoi to Quang Binh train

Tickets can be purchased online via Vietnam Railways’ official website, at the Hanoi Railway Station, or through a travel agency.

  • Address of Hanoi Railway Station: 120 Lê Duẩn, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
  • Phone number of Hanoi Railway Station: +84 24 3942 3697

Option 2: Bus

Multiple bus companies offer sleeper buses from Hanoi to Dong Hoi, Quang Binh, with the journey lasting approximately 10 hours. Fares typically range from 200,000 to 400,000 VND ($9 – $17), varying based on the bus company and seat type. Tickets are available for purchase online, at the bus station, or through travel agencies.

The journey lasting approximately 10 hours

Option 3: Flight

The most expedient means of traveling from Hanoi to Quang Binh is by air, arriving at Dong Hoi Airport (VDH). The flight typically lasts approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

One-way airfares vary between 800,000 and 2,500,000 VND ($35 – $110), contingent upon the airline and booking timeframe.

Flight tickets can be acquired online through the airlines’ official websites or online booking platforms.

3.2. How to get to Son Doong Cave from Quang Binh

To embark on cave exploration, it’s essential to have a professional guide accompany you. It’s advisable to book a tour in advance with a reputable travel agency such as Sun Getaways Travel to guarantee a secure and comfortable journey. Our experienced tour operators ensure safety and enjoyment throughout your excursion.

Only guided excursions are permitted within the cave

As this will be an extensive journey involving ascending and descending hills, it’s recommended to bring an ample supply of water, food, and other essentials. Before reaching Son Doong Cave’s primary chamber, you’ll need to traverse through several rooms and tunnels.

4. Unique Natural Wonders in Son Doong Cave

Explore the remarkable system of wonders within the Son Doong Cave complex on this map:

Son Dong Cave’s map

Hope and Vision cave branch

From the entrance of the Hand of Dog corridor, you can observe the light from sinkhole 1 at a distance of 1.5km. This sinkhole, the largest cavity in Son Doong, is estimated by cave experts to accommodate a skyscraper exceeding 40 stories in height.

Hope and Vision cave branch

Moreover, Son Doong Cave is spacious enough to accommodate a Boeing 747 aircraft. Additionally, this region boasts the world’s tallest stalactite column, standing at over 80 meters in height.

Fossil passage

The fossil passage lies below the Ho Sut 1 campsite, approximately 40 meters deep, adjacent to the underground river. Here, visitors can marvel at limestone formations adorned with fossils of snails, shells, fish skeletons, and corals dating back hundreds of millions of years.

Fossil passage

In this area, visitors have the opportunity to take a revitalizing dip in an underground lake. The water temperature of the lake ranges between 16 and 17 degrees Celsius. For an enhanced experience, visitors are encouraged to wear life jackets and utilize headlights while swimming.

The great wall of Vietnam

During explorers’s expedition, they encountered a colossal calcite flowstone obstructing all exits, prompting them to retreat as they lacked proper climbing gear. Upon exiting the cave, they proclaimed it the largest natural cave globally, based on their measurements. One notable feature they encountered was a towering stalagmite dubbed The Great Wall of Vietnam, owing to its remarkable size.

The great wall of Vietnam

Passchendaele passage

The muddy passage beneath the Vietnam wall, stretching over 600 meters in length, presented a challenging obstacle during the cave expedition. Due to receding water levels in the lake, the passage became muddy and reached hip-deep, requiring significant effort from the expedition members to traverse it. In homage to a film depicting a World War I battle, the passage was named Passchendaele.

During certain months or periods of frequent rainfall, the shallow stream at the entrance of Passchendaele fills with water, forming a stunning jade-green lake extending 600 meters. Visitors have the opportunity to explore the lake by using rafts and boats, adding to the allure of the experience.

Underground river

Son Doong Cave boasts an underground river created by the convergence of water from En Cave and Khe Ry Cave, the latter being the lengthiest underground river cave sourced from the Vietnam/Laos border region.

In instances of elevated water levels, emergency bridges are on standby for navigation. En route, you’ll come across diminutive waterfalls producing resonant echoes, occasionally accompanied by mist enveloping the cave. The underground river vanishes approximately 4.5 kilometers from the cave mouth near Doline 1.

Doline 1

The cavernous expanse of Son Doong features a significant aperture to the external environment resulting from the collapsed ceiling, termed Doline 1 or skylight. Stretching approximately 450 meters from its apex to its base, it signifies the juncture where the subterranean river ceases to flow.

On bright days, particularly between 11 am and 1 pm, substantial beams of sunlight penetrate through this aperture. This occurrence typically repeats annually from January to March.

Doline 2

Situated approximately 1 kilometer away from Doline 1, Doline 2 houses an ancient forest thriving within a cave nestled beneath limestone mountains, with depths reaching 200 meters. Upon exiting Doline 1, a narrow trail leading to the forest becomes immediately visible.

Doline 2 boasts a broad aperture at its summit, allowing ample sunlight to filter through. This favorable lighting creates optimal conditions for the growth of diverse flora, including ferns, begonias, and towering trees lining the pathway. Expect a trek of about 30 minutes to traverse the forest and arrive at Doline 2.

Cave Pearls

Cave pearls are created within caves through the deposition of calcite carbonate carried by water droplets. These pearls exhibit a diverse array of sizes and shapes, ranging from small as peas to as large as baseballs. Within Son Doong Cave, these pearls form organically within gour pools and exhibit breathtaking beauty when illuminated by headlamps, particularly accentuated on rainy days when water flows over them.

5. Who is Suitable for a Son Doong Cave Tour?

Participants should be adequately prepared and physically fit to engage in the activities, which encompass swimming, climbing, and walking. Individuals with respiratory concerns should reconsider participation due to the humid conditions and physical demands that may pose health risks. Tour operators discourage the inclusion of children under 12 years old due to safety concerns associated with the activities.

Visitors should be prepared to endure potential discomfort and adapt to unforeseen weather changes, as the tour includes overnight stays in the wilderness.

6. Preparation Tips Before Visiting Son Doong

If you’re gearing up for a Son Doong Cave Tour, it’s vital to be well-prepared and equipped with the necessary items. Here’s a rundown of essential things to pack for your expedition:

  • Long trousers & long-sleeved-shirt to avoid poison ivies and mosquitoes
  • Swim wear
  • Long socks
  • Small backpack
  • Dry bag (optional)
  • Hiking shoes (optional)
  • Hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent

Vietnam’s expansive coastline

Quang Binh is also a filming location for Kong Skull Island: Vietnam’s Epic Movie Spots

Whether you’re an experienced adventurer or a curious traveler, Son Doong will leave an indelible mark on your soul, reminding you of the incredible beauty and power of the natural world. So if you’re ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, pack your bags and prepare to be amazed with Sun Getaways Travel.

If you want to dive more into quality Vietnam package tour to Quang Binh or others, you can check out it below:

Tour Information Offer

    See related Posted

    Guides & Tips

    Trekking Through Vietnam: 5 Epic Hikes for Adventure Enthusiasts

    Mai Anh
    3 min. to read

    Exploring Vietnam’s hiking trails remains a niche segment within the tourist industry. In contrast…

    Guides & Tips

    Effortless Exploration: 5 Best Ways to Get Around Vietnam

    Mai Anh
    3 min. to read

    Vietnam presents travelers with a varied array of transportation choices. Accessing Vietnam is hassle-free,…

    Guides & Tips

    Planning Your Vietnam Adventure: Finding the Ideal Time to Go

    Mai Anh
    3 min. to read

    “As the climate varies so much from north to south, there will always be…

    Guides & Tips

    Vietnam Sleeper Buses: Costs, Advice, and Tips

    Mai Anh
    3 min. to read

    Embarking on a journey through Vietnam on sleeper buses offers a unique and adventurous…

    Guides & Tips

    Money in Vietnam: Values, Exchange Rates, Significance

    Mai Anh
    3 min. to read

    Vietnam exclusively uses its national currency, the Vietnamese Dong (abbreviated as VND), and does…