It would seem, on Earth already there is practically no place left where yet the leg of the person didn't go. But even in our times scientists and travelers continually find all new natural miracles which strike with the mysteriousness and greatness. One of the latest considerable discoveries is a cave of Shondong (Vietnam).


Giant Dimensions History of discovery Local flora and fauna Interesting stone formations Excursions to the cave Nearby places of interest Location Do you want to try on yourself a role of the brave pathfinder and one of the first to see the natural beauty hidden from human eyes at a depth of one hundred meters? So, you need to go to an excursion to Shondong is the biggest cave on the planet.


The Vietnamese cave of Shondong impresses first of all with the sizes. According to the latest data, its total volume reaches 38,5 mln m ³. In her the 40-storey building can be located with ease! This cave consists from more than 150 halls. Some of them reach 150 m in width and 200 m in height. Today it was succeeded to study only the small site 6500 m long. But already now scientists recognize that Shondong is the biggest cave in the world, the real natural sight of Vietnam.

History of discovery

Perhaps, the ancient tribes knew about the existence of this cave, but for the last several centuries people have bypassed this place by the side. They were frightened by a mysterious roar which reached from an earth subsoil — a roar of the underground river. Shondong is translated as "the cave of a mountain river". The cave was opened in 1991. The local farmer walked on the Phong Nga- Ke Bang park. His territory at that time has been already well studied. At some point he has heard strange noise from under the earth, and has decided to find out his origin. He has found a cave, but as descent was quite abrupt and dangerous, he hasn't decided to climb inside and to investigate it. The general public has learned about existence of this unique place only in 2009 — after researchers from the British speleological association have made the first expedition to a subsoil of Shondong. It should be noted that that time scientists didn't manage to study in detail underground labyrinths of a cave as they have come across a 60-meter calcite wall (later she was given the name of the Great Vietnamese wall), which has prevented them to continue a way.


Shondong draws attention not only the huge sizes, but also a unique ecosystem. According to the estimates of scientists, age of a cave is 2-5 million years. It was formed as a result of washing away of calcareous breeds by underground waters. And all these years its inner world was isolated from the external environment and developed according to the scenario. Here the microclimate was formed. In spite of the fact that in this area hot and dry weather, in a cave always cool and damp prevails. Tourists quite often manage to see the unique natural phenomenon is the real underground clouds which float quite low over the head and take off through enormous natural "windows" in the arch. It is all about frequent changes of air temperature (warm air masses constantly come to a cave from the outside) and high humidity. The important role in formation of a local ecosystem was played by the underground river. It waters feed dense groves which were formed where there is an access to sunlight. Don't miss an opportunity to examine them: in this jungle it is possible to see rare species of plants and animal, for example, flying foxes. In the period of rains (at this time access to a cave is closed) the river floods some of halls, forming underground reservoirs of delightful beauty.


At visit of a cave it is worth finding time not only to walks on the jungle, but also survey of local "architecture". The set of treasures — ancient fossils, mysterious natural drawings, huge stalactites and stalagmites of the most bizzare shapes is stored in her dark halls. In Shondong the highest stalagmite in the world has been found. It is called the Hand of a dog and reaches height of 70 m. One of the most popular places in a cave is the Garden of Cactuses. Here huge stalagmites which in a form remind cactuses grow. One more highlight of Shondong is a scattering of rare stone pearls. Under the influence of water of a wall of a cave are exfoliate, and between layers of limestone huge pearls are formed. Unlike sea, they don't shine, but nevertheless are of huge value for scientists.

Excursions to the cave

Tourists are allowed to visit Shondong only as a part of organized groups. There are only about 500 travelers for a year in this cave. The national park of Phong Nga- Ke Bang is an object of the world heritage of UNESCO and is carefully protected by the government. Of course, everyone wants to see such beauty. But this excursion — heartrending experience; it will suit only people in good physical shape. And that who has serious problems with health, children, people of advanced age to refrain from similar travel. To see the cave, it will take several hours to make its way through thick thickets inhabited by wild animals, and even to wade a deep river. And it is possible to go down inside only on a rope (about 80 m) so skills of rock-climbing will be necessary. But, when to your eyes this amazing underground world will open, you will forget about all difficulties of the road. Many tourists prefer to stop in a cave for several days. Survey of halls also takes away many forces and time: because of the increased humidity it is very slippery here. In the territory it is authorized to pitch tents and to light fires, but it is necessary to forget about other benefits of a civilization for a while. Of course, such camping trip — pleasure not from cheap. In respectable agencies, prices start from a few hundred dollars. For this money you will not only receive insurance and help convey heavy equipment, but also will provide the Russian-speaking guide who will conduct a professional tour. You shouldn't save and employ bright local businessmen who offer services of the guide in very attractive prices: they don't give any security guarantees and if some sort of emergency happens, you'll have to deal with this yourself.


As already mentioned, Shondong is located in the Phong Nga- Ke Bang National Park. If time allows, it is worth spending at least a day to inspect the rest of the territory - to watch wild animals (many species are listed in the Red Book), visit the world-famous caves and grottoes (there are more than 300 of them), conquer local mountain peaks, go rafting, or just take a walk along the ecotours. You can stop in the village of Phong Nga, which is located nearby. Here you can rent accommodation at fairly affordable prices.


Phong Nga- Ke Bang National Park is located in the province of Kuangbin, 40 km from its administrative center Donghui.