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Shondong Cave in Vietnam

500 km from Hanoi in Vietnam is one of the unique natural caves, considered to be the longest in the world. Shondong Cave was discovered in 1991 and immediately became an object of intense tourist attention. It is located on the territory of Fongnya Kebang National Park and is considered its main symbol. Around the opening of the cave, the sights inside and the features of its structure are a variety of legends, which only adds to its popularity.

The largest cave in the world

From the time the entrance was found to the beginning of its study almost 18 years have passed. A local resident, seeing a dark break in the rock, would not go in, frightened by the incomprehensible roar and thunderous thumps. The official opening took place only in 2009, at the same time it was announced that the size of the Chondong cave in Vietnam – the largest in the world today. It is about 5 km long, 200 km high and 150 m wide. So the roar that frightened a local resident was the voice of a mighty underground stream. The name translates as “mountain river cave”.

The Biggest Cave in the World - Shondong

It is an amazing natural formation that resembles a lost underground city. Due to the large gaps in the vault, the sun peeks in, there is enough moisture, so on some sites grow a real jungle of 3-meter trees. The accumulation of condensation forms clouds, in the depths of the underground cavity live extensive colonies of bats, in the branches of the trees can be found the nests of rare birds.

The amazing natural object did not aspire to world fame. Not only that, after the story of the man who found the entrance, no one wanted to explore the cave. A specially organized expedition for an entire year could not find its entrance, it was blocked by an impressive calcite wall. The first studies have allowed to enter the discovery into the Guinness Book of Records. Shondong, the largest cave in the world, has displaced Olenya, located in Malaysia, from the leader’s position and so far holds the title confidently.

Shongdong is a cave in central Vietnam

The beauty and uniqueness of the cave is made up of many components, to get there with tours until a few can, but rave reviews about them have already gained worldwide fame.

The interior area consists of 150 halls, some of which have collapsed ceilings, opening the way to sunlight. In one of the halls is a 70-meter stalagmite, famous rock formations of the Dog’s Hand and the Garden of Cacti. Under the influence of natural phenomena, the rocks inside the halls took bizarre shapes, and human imagination completed the transformation.

Cave in Vietnam - Shondong

On natural ledges grow unprecedented grasses and shrubs, which over millions of years under the influence of a special microclimate turned into true endemics. Snakes, foxes, and monkeys were seen among the inhabitants. Amazing natural steps, underground lakes, rising up layered walls, glistening under the light of lanterns, create irreal landscapes, complemented by pillars of light from the openings in the vaults.

The Shondong Cave in central Vietnam is still almost unexplored, there are still many discoveries to be made, so tourist access to it is limited.

Shondong Cave Tours

The largest cave in the world - Vietnam

In the future it is planned to equip some halls for more convenience of visitors. In the meantime, we have to immerse ourselves in a real unexplored world.

In order to get to the Shondong Cave in Vietnam, travelers have to descend 80 meters using rope and climbing equipment.

You can’t just join the group, you have to sign up in advance. The queue stretches for about a year. The cost of the descent, overnight stay in a tent and ascent to the surface costs $3,000. The broken silhouettes of bizarre rocks emerge from the pitch darkness against the sparse reflections of light. On the walls you can see the patterns created by the water currents that flood most of the underground halls from September to mid-March.

Vietnamese Cave - Shondong

In the Shondong Cave, even time feels very different, first freezing in place and then racing away. Photos of particularly bizarre rocks and stalactites were published in the pages of the National Geographic, generating a new wave of interest in this wonder of the world.

Where is how to get to Shondong Cave?

Territorially it belongs to the Phongnya Kebang National Park, located almost on the border between Laos and Vietnam in Quang Binh Province. It is forbidden to travel through the park in the direction of the cave, so tourists have to walk a day to the small village of Ban Dong.

Residents are completely cut off from civilization, their number does not exceed 40 people. As they did centuries ago, they live by subsistence farming. With the opening of Shondong Cave, their lives are likely to change, but as long as there are restrictions on the number of visitors, their way of life is not threatened.

Shondong Cave on the map (interactive)

Shondong Cave is rarely marked on local maps; those who go here rely on guides and descriptions they have received. Conservationists oppose drastic changes that could damage the microclimate of the underground formation and its inhabitants. For the time being, all ideas of turning it into a tourist attraction are frozen. Allowed to visit in small groups of 8 people, accompanied by a guide and cave explorers.

The number of tourists a year does not exceed 500 people. It is believed that such an intervention will not disturb the fragile ecological balance.

The program includes:

  • descent;
  • lunch;
  • walk the halls;
  • Forcing an underground river;
  • overnight stay;
  • returning to the village.

Shondong Cave - how to get there

Further study of the treasures of the underworld, a description of the flora and fauna species found, a geological analysis of the rocks, and a detailed map are planned.

In addition to the hard-to-reach cave in the park, there are a number of interesting objects. These include viewing platforms, eco-trails, excursions to Thien Duong Cave, where tourists are taken by boat or electric cars. A walk through it costs $6 and includes a guide.

Shondong Cave on the map, how to get there

The largest cave in the world still holds many secrets that have yet to be unraveled by scientists, but so far few enthusiasts and research expeditions have access to it.

Video overview of Shondong Cave

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