What does the inside of the largest cave in the world look like?

Son Doong offers an unparalleled underworld experience and one can go on a 4-day expedition to the largest cave in the world.

Sơn Đoòng Cave in Vietnam is one of the largest caves in the world – if not the largest depending on the metric used. Vietnam is a beautiful country with so much to see and do. Vietnam is renowned for its culture, nature, gastronomy and world-class beaches. Two of Vietnam’s famous beach destinations are Phu Quoc and Da Nang.

Although not the largest, Mammoth Cave in the United States is the longest known cave system in the world and is open to the public. It has been named a World Heritage Site since 1981 as well as an International Biosphere Reserve since 1990. There are many other notable caves all over the United States that one can explore.


The vastness of Son Doong Cave

Son Doong Cave is located near the Laos-Vietnam border and has a fast-flowing underground river and the largest cross section of any cave in the world. Its cross-section is so large that it is believed to be about twice the size of the world’s next largest passage. It is also believed to be the largest cave in the world by volume – and it has been named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest since 2013.

  • Name: Hang Sơn Đoòng can be translated as “Cave of the mountain river” or “Cave of the mountains being Đoòng [village]”
  • Age: It is thought to be between 2 and 5 million years old


It is unique for both huge sinkholes (cave roof collapses) and subterranean rainforests and is home to the “Great Wall of Vietnam”, a massive calcite barrier 90m high.

  • Underground river: The Rao Thuong River dug the cave
  • Volume: 38.5 million cubic meters
  • Guinness Book of World Records: Listed as the largest cave in the world in the 2013 edition

Related: Visiting the Stunning Mayan Ritual Caves of the Mayan Peninsula

Discovery of the largest cave in the world

The cave was only relatively recently discovered and was first explored in 2009 and has only been open to the public since 2013. It is located in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park – an area that is home to some of the other larger caves. in the world.


  • Seen the first time: 1990
  • First discovery: 2009

Its discovery began in 1990 when Mr. Ho Khanh accidentally discovered the entrance to the cave – he was looking for food and wood to earn a modest income. But then he forgot about it. Years later he met the British Cave Research Association and told them what he had seen many years before. They asked him to rediscover it and he found it in 2008.

According to Oxalis Adventure, Ho Khanh is always an integral part of every Son Doong expedition.

But it wasn’t until 2009 that British Cave Research Association (BCRA) member Mr Peter MacNab became the first person to enter and explore the cave. The following year, they announced that Hang Son Doong was the largest cave in the world with a volume of 38.5 million m3.


Today, the Oxalis Adventure tour group continues to work with the British Cave Research Association.

Related: These Kentucky Mammoth Cave Tours Are Worth It, Ranked By Difficulty

Sơn Đoòng Cave Tour – 4 Days Expedition

The only option to visit Son Doong Cave is a four-day expedition with Oxalis Adventure. It is classified as difficult – adventure level 6, so one has a good level of fitness and previous trekking experience.

On this expedition, one can expect multiple river crossings (surface and underground crossings), extensive rocky terrain and multiple technical sections. You will have to be prepared not to see the sun during this period and to live in perpetual darkness – there are 3 nights of underground camping.


  • Duration: 4 day expedition
  • Duration of the trek: 17 kilometers (10 miles) of hiking over very rocky terrain
  • Caving length: 8 kilometers (5 miles) of caving with rope climbing, scrambling, a 90 meter ascent of the Vietnam Wall
  • Camping: 3 nights of underground camping

Due to its environmental sensitivity, Vietnamese authorities limit tourists to just 1,000 per year. Each tour is normally made up of 10 tourists. Only one tour operator (Oxalis Adventure) is authorized to organize expeditions in the cave and this since the opening of the cave in 2013.

  • Limit: A limit of only 1,000 tourists per year
  • Tour group: Normally 10 tourists
  • Cost: $3,000

The shipping cost is $3,000. This includes a 10% tax and an environmental service charge of $660.

Also included are 22 porters for the group, five security assistants, an international tour guide, a cave expert, two cooks and a ranger.

Oxalis Adventure also offers a range of other tours to other Vietnamese caves as well as many other area attractions with a full range of packages.

If you can’t visit this gigantic cave, you can always take a virtual tour with National Geographic’s online tool.

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