Phong Nha Ke Bang Attractions
Phong Nha Ke Bang Attractions
The park was created to protect one of the world’s two largest karst regions with 300 caves and grottoes and also protects the ecosystem of limestone forest of the Annamite Range region in North Central Coast of Vietnam.
Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng is noted for its cave and grotto systems as it is composed of 300 caves and grottos. A 2009 survey brought the total discovered length of the cave system to about 126 km with many areas still not well explored. The Sơn Đoòng Cave, which was discovered in the 2009 survey by British and Vietnamese explorers, is considered the largest cave in the world. Even before this discovery, Phong Nha held several world cave records, including the longest underground river as well as the largest combined caverns and passageways.
The park derives it name from Phong Nha Cave, containing many fascinating rock formations, and Kẻ Bàng forest. The plateau on which the park is situated is probably one of the finest and most distinctive examples of a complex karst landform in Southeast Asia.This national park was listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 2003 for its geological values as defined in its criteria viii. In April 2009, the world’s largest cave, was re-discovered by a team of British cave explorers of the British Caving Association led by a local farmer named Ho Khanh
The Phong Nha Cave
This cave, from which the name to the whole system and the park is derived, is famous for its rock formations which have been given names such as the “Lion”, the “Fairy Caves”, the “Royal Court”, and the “Buddha”. This cave is 7729 m long, contains 14 grottos, with a 13,969 m-long underground river. The scientists have surveyed 44.5 km of grottos in this cave so far, but tourists can only penetrate to a distance of 1500 m.
Phong Nha Cave, like most of the caves in this area, has been continuously shaped by the Chay River. As one gets farther into the cave, the more illusory the stalactites and stalagmites look as they glitter when bright light is shone on them. The Son River flows into the mouth of the cave and keeps flowing underground, where it is referred to as the Nam Aki River, then this river emerges at a site 20 km to the south near Pu Pha Dam Mountain. The main Phong Nha cave includes 14 chambers, connected by an underwater river that runs for 1.5 km. Secondary corridors branch off in all directions. The Outer Cave and some of the Inner Caves have roofs that tower between 25 and 40 meters above the water level. From the 14th chamber there may be other corridors leading to similarly large chambers, but this area proves more dangerous for explorers because of the ongoing erosion of the limestone of the cavern. The Shallow Cave is located 800 meters from the cave mouth, where there is a spectacular landscape of sand and rock. Stalactites and stalagmites jut out like strange trees, exciting visitor’s imaginations.
Notable caves and grottoes in the Phong Nha Cave system include:
Dark Grotto (Hang Tối): located upstream of Son River running to the branch of Chay River on the left. This cave is 5,258 m long and with a height of 83 m. The entry is high and wide with heavy forest around the cave mouth
E Grotto (Hang E): a 736 m-long grotto accessible by the Hồ Chí Minh trail
Cha An Grotto (Hang Chà An): a 667 m-long grotto, with the width of 15 meters
Thung Grotto (Hang Thung): This grotto has an underground river of 3351 m, with the height in some part exceed 133 . This river receives water resources from Rao Thuong
En Grotto (Hang Én): a 1645 m long, 78.6 m high grotto
Khe Tien Grotto (Hang Khe Tiên): located south of Phong Nha, this grotto is 520 m long.
Khe Ry Grotto (Hang Khe Ry): located south of Phong Nha. The grotto is where the long Khe Ry stream (13.817 km or 8.585 miles) runs out
Khe Thi Grotto (Hang Khe Thi): a stream originating from the mountain, running underground the grotto
Vòm Cave systems
Vom Grotto (Hang Vòm): a 15.05 km long, 145 m high grotto with several underground rivers, pools. This grotto features several spectacular stalagmite and stalactites. In the recent exploring of British Cave Research Association, the scientists have found an abyss in Vom Grotto named Tang hole with the deep of over 255m.This hole is the deepest hole in Vietnam.
Dai Cao Grotto (Hang Đai Cao): this grotto is a connection of Vom Grotto. This grotto is 1645 m long, 28 m high..
Duot Grotto (Hang Duột): This is a connection of Dai Cao Grotto with the length of 3.927 km and height of 45 m. There are some fine sand fields inside.
Ca Grotto (Hang Cá): a 1,500 m long, 62 m high grotto.
Ho Grotto (Hang Hổ): A connection of Ca Grotto with the length of 1,616 m and the height of 46 m
Over Grotto (Hang Over): a 3,244 m long, 103 m high grotto, with the width from 30–50 m.
Pygmy Grotto (Hang Pygmy): This 845 m long grotto has several streams falling from mounts.
Ruc Caroong Grotto (Hang Rục Caroòng): This the habitat of Arem ethnic group. They live in the caves, grottos and on hunting, harvesting natural products.
Tiên Sơn Cave
Tiên Sơn cave is located in Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park. The cave was discovered by a local inhabitant by accident in 1935. It is located in Sơn Trach Commune in Bố Trạch. The entry mouth of Tiên Sơn is 1 km from Phong Nha cave, at an altitude of 200 m. This cave is 980 m in length. A 10 m deep hole is situated 400 m from the entry mouth, then a 500 m long underground cave, dangerous for tourists and open to professional expeditionists only. Like Phong Nha cave, this cave features spectacular stalactites and stalagmites shaped like several fairy-tales. Stalactite and stalagmite columns and walls here create strange sounds like that of gong and drum if they are knocked with the hand. According to British cave scientists, Tiên Sơn cave was created tens of million years ago when a water current holed this limestone mount in Kẻ Bàng. Following a series of landforms and movement of rocks, this mass was levered or lowered, blocking the current and creating what is now Tiên Sơn cave while the underground river redirected its current to Phong Nha cave. Although Phong Nha and Tiên Sơn caves are located next to each other, there are no linking grottos between them.
Thiên Đường Cave
Thiên Đường “Paradise” Cave is a newly found cave in this area. Prior to the discovery of Sơn Đoòng cave, it was regarded as the largest and longest cave in Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng. Some of the most beautiful and spectacular stalactites and stalagmites in the park are found within Thiên Đường. The cave was discovered by a local man in 2005. The first 5 km of this cave was explored by explorers from the British Cave Research Association in 2005; later they in 2010 the whole 31 km was explored and announced by the association.
At 31 km long, Thiên Đường cave is longer than Phong Nha cave, previously considered the longest cave in this national park. The height can reach to 100 m and 150 wide. The limestone formation is also more spectacular than that of Phong Nha Cave. The British cave explorers was impressed by the beauty of the rock formation inside the cave, they named it “Paradise Cave” (Thiên Đường in Vietnamese). Access road and tourist facilities was built by Truong Thinh Group, it was opened up to tourists on 3 September 2010 with a 1.1 km path to see the formations.
Sơn Đoòng Cave
Sơn Đoòng Cave (in Vietnamese: Hang Sơn Đoòng, meaning Mountain River Cave) is a relatively recently discovered cave in the national park. Found by a local man and explored and publicly announced by the British cave scientists of the British Cave Research Association, it is regarded as the largest cave in the world. The biggest chamber of Sơn Đoòng is over five kilometers in length, 200 meters high and 150 meters wide. With these tremendous dimensions, Sơn Đoòng overtakes Deer Cave of Malaysia to take the title of world’s largest cave. Because the fast flowing underground river in the cave deterred the explorers from going farther, they were only able to estimate the length of the cave using a flashlight.
The cave was found by a man named Hồ Khanh in 1991. The local jungle men were afraid of the cave for the whistling sound it makes from the underground river. However, not until 2009 was it made known to the public when a group of British scientists from the British Cave Research Association, led by Howard and Deb Limbert, conducted a survey in Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng from 10–14 April 2009.Their progress was stopped by a large calcite wall.
According to the Limberts, this cave is five times larger than the Phong Nha Cave, previously considered the biggest cave in Vietnam. The biggest chamber of Sơn Đoòng is over five kilometers in length, 200 meters high and 150 meters wide. With these dimensions, Sơn Đoòng overtook Deer Cave in Malaysia to take the title of the world’s largest cave.