Son Doong Cave - the greatest new place in the 21st century
Located in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park (Quang Binh Province), Son Doong Cave (Son Trach Commune, Bo Trach District) was first found in 1991 by Ho Khanh, a local man. In 2009, the cave was explored and published by a group of scientists from British Cave Research Association.
Son Doong Cave was formed 2-5 million years ago, when the river flowed through the limestone mountain area and was buried. The water eroded limestone and created an underground tunnel. In soft limestone areas, the collapse of tunnel ceiling formed large holes which became giant domes afterward. The cave is about 200m high, 200m wide and at least 8.5km long. With these tremendous dimensions, Son Doong Cave is considered as the world’s largest cave.
Exploring the cave, visitors were surprised with spectacular scenery of numerous stalactites and stalagmites, of which some giant stalagmites are more than 70m high. Deep inside the cave exists a grandiose tropical jungle called “Garden of Eden” by the explorers. The jungle is home to a diversified system of fauna and flora. Besides, the cave possesses a 2.5km subterranean river with layers of shells agglomerated in the river bed. Not far from the “Garden of Eden” lies an enormous “pearl collection” consisting of tens of thousands of small stone pieces in dry ponds, contributing to magnificent beauty of the cave.
After the publication, Son Doong Cave has quickly drawn the attention of international mass media. In 2011, the BBC (U.K) voted Son Doong as one of the most beautiful caves in the world. Son Dong Cave also ranked 8th in the list of 52 places to go in 2014 by the New York Times. In particular, in May 2015, ABC TV Channel broadcasted live the program on Son Doong Cave lasting for 2 hours. The National Geographic also published a virtual tour to discover Son Doong Cave through 360° panoramic photos. Visitors around the world have the opportunity to explore beauty of the cave through a computer, tablet or smart phone.
Besides Son Doong Cave, the list of 25 great new places to see in the 21st century also includes: Cern Laboratory (Switzerland); Spaceport America (U.S); Mountain Trekking (East Africa); Alma Telescope (Chile); Mendenhall Ice Caves (U.S); Ferrari World (U.E.A); Cayman Trench (Caribbean Sea); Museum of Islamic Art (Qatar); Noma Restaurant (Denmark); Havana (Cuba); Leicester Church (England); Haifa (Israel); Ross Island (New Zealand); Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple (India); John Muir Way (Scotland); Karakum Desert (Turkmenistan); Tianmen Mountain (China); Nariz del Diablo Rail (Ecuador); Ellis Island Hospital (U.S); SkyRise Miami (U.S); Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum (U.E.A); Garden Bridge (England); Kingdom Tower (Saudi Arabia); and Grand Egyptian Museum (Egypt).