Hidden deep within the lush jungles of Vietnam lies the magnificent Son Doong Cave, a natural masterpiece that has captured the imagination of explorers and scientists alike. This in-depth Son Doong Cave map will guide you through the breathtaking landscapes and fascinating formations sculpted over millennia in this mesmerizing must-visit.
1. Where is Son Doong Cave?
Son Doong Cave is nestled within Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Quang Binh, Vietnam. It is officially certified as the world's largest and most stunning natural cave by both the World Record Association and the World Records Union.
Son Doong Cave has gained popularity among adventurers and explorers from all over the world, drawing them in to witness the unparalleled beauty and grandeur that lies within. As you venture through its passages, you will find yourself in awe of its sheer size and untouched splendor.
The name "Son Doong Cave" translates to "Mountain River Cave", which perfectly describes its unique features. It is so vast that you will have a hard time navigating its wonders without a Son Doong Cave map.
2. How big is Son Doong Cave?
Son Doong Cave is a geological marvel that stretches nearly 9 kilometers in length and boasts an astounding volume of 38.5 million cubic meters. Surpassing the previous record holder, Deer Cave, by an incredible five times, Son Doong Cave stands as an unparalleled masterpiece of nature's prowess. The cave is large enough to house an entire city block of 40 towering skyscrapers in New York. Even a Boeing 747 could comfortably fit inside its passages.
What truly sets Son Doong apart and captivates the world's attention is the remarkable hidden world that lies within its depths. As visitors venture through this subterranean realm, they are greeted by the sight of colossal stalactites towering over 80 meters high, creating an ethereal atmosphere. Son Doong also harbors an underground river, an enigmatic feature that continues to elude exploration, leaving its secrets shrouded in intrigue even to this day.
The cave's unique ecosystem supports a diverse array of flora and fauna, offering a glimpse into a world unseen by most. Over 200 plant species thrive in Son Doong Cave, including algae, moss, vines, shrubs, and trees. Biologists found 7 new eyeless and transparent animal species of fish, woodlice, millipedes, spiders, and scorpions. Birds, flying foxes, rats, snakes, squirrels, and monkeys were also discovered here.
>>> Besides Son Doong Cave, there are many other intriguing Vietnam caves to explore!
3. Son Doong Cave map and structure at a glance
The cave is divided into three sections, each boasting its own remarkable characteristics. The first part, from the cave entrance to Doline 1, has an underground river. The presence of sediments here indicates regular flooding during the rainy season, adding to the cave's ever-changing environment.
The second and third sections, known as fossil passages and the Passchendaele, have no rivers, allowing extensive calcite formations to flourish. The Passchendaele occasionally carries a small stream and, during heavy rainfall, may form a lake, leading to the formation of an immense calcite wall called the Great Wall of Vietnam.
Two dolines have formed within the central section of the cave. The first is likely due to the collapse of thin limestone layers that were unable to support the roof of such a high passage. The second doline rose from the junction of two fault lines, creating a weakness that resulted in a dramatic collapse.
Despite exploration efforts, much of Son Doong Cave's underground network remains uncharted, leaving numerous vast caverns and chambers awaiting discovery.
4. Highlights on the Son Doong Cave map
4.1. The Hand of Dog
The Hand of Dog, a towering stalagmite of approximately 60 meters tall, is a captivating feature located between the Hope & Vision passage and Doline 1 in Son Doong Cave. Its impressive size is a result of water droplets carrying calcium minerals flowing down the cave's nearly 100-meter-high roof for countless years. This iconic stalagmite offers a unique viewpoint for visitors and makes for stunning photographs. At the base of the Hand of Dog, a campsite known as the Level Playing Fields offers mesmerizing views of Doline 1. Surrounded by mist, camping here will make you feel like you are on the clouds.
4.2. Watch Out for Dinosaurs
"Watch Out for Dinosaurs" is a skylight in Doline 1, created by a collapsed cave ceiling, which allows the sun to illuminate the cave's interior. From 11 am to 1 pm, spectacular sunbeams pierce through and create a magical scene, especially in the period from January to March.
The peculiar name of this skylight stemmed from a remark of past explorers. As they traversed the jungle in Son Doong Cave to this area, they felt like they could find anything, even dinosaurs. Thus, the funny remark was said and eventually became the name of the skylight.
4.3. The underground river
Son Doong Cave houses a remarkable underground river called Rao Thuong. Originating from various jungle streams, it flows through En Cave and Khe Ry Cave, joining to become a mighty underground stream. This underground river cascades over waterfalls, some over 10 meters high, adding to the cave's allure. It continues to flow to Doline 1, where it falls down 40 meters before disappearing. Cave experts suspected that this underground river is connected with Thung Cave, which is located 600 meters away. For now, the underground river system in Son Doong Cave remains a mystery.
4.4. Garden of Edam
Doline 2, also known as the Garden of Edam, lies 1 kilometer away from Doline 1. This doline has a height of over 250 meters and a width of about 175 meters, receiving enough sunlight for a lush jungle to flourish underground.
The Garden of Edam boasts flora diversity, featuring tall trees with narrow trunks that stretch up to 40-50 meters to absorb sunlight. As you venture deeper, the limited sunlight allows mosses and ferns to grow.
Doline 2 is also home to various animal species, including flying squirrels, snakes, and occasionally monkeys. Additionally, mysterious birds, possibly owls or eagle owls, grace the doline with their presence.
4.5. The Passchendaele
The Passchendaele is a passage that leads to the Great Wall of Vietnam in Son Doong Cave. When cave experts first discovered this passage, they had to traverse muddy paths. Thus, the name "Passchendaele" was given to the passage, inspired by a muddy battle of the same name in World War I.
This 400-meter-long passage can turn into a lake during the rainy season, when visitors can capture breathtaking photos of small boats paddling through this stunning underground landscape. Either passing through the muddy paths or boating through the lake will add to the excitement of the journey.
4.6. The Great Wall of Vietnam
In 2009, the British Vietnam Caving Expedition encountered a massive calcite wall in Son Doong Cave, which they named "The Great Wall of Vietnam". In 2010, the team returned with specialized equipment to climb the 90-meter-tall wall, leading to the exit of Son Doong Cave at the top. After scaling the wall and discovering the exit, they officially recognized Son Doong Cave as the world's largest cave.
In 2017, an 18-meter-high stainless steel ladder and safety ropes were set up to help visitors climb the wall. With safety assistants, visitors can conquer this challenge and reach the exit, where a steep descent, a rocky section, and a short forest path will lead them to Ho Chi Minh Road.
4.7. Cave pearls
Cave pearls are small speleothems found in limestone caves, Son Doong Cave included. They were formed over hundreds of years, when dripping water creates layers of calcite around grains of sand. Thousands of cave pearls in Son Doong come in various shapes and sizes, adding to the cave's beauty under the headlights. However, they have no monetary value and if taken outside the cave, will quickly deteriorate. For conservation purposes, these cave pearls are not allowed to be taken outside of Son Doong Cave.
After exploring Son Doong Cave and Quang Binh Province, it is highly recommended that you visit other stunning destinations, such as Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang, and Ha Long, during your Vietnam travel. These places all offer beautiful landscapes and exciting experiences.
For a luxurious stay in these destinations, consider indulging in the excellent hospitality of Vinpearl's hotels and resorts. With world-class amenities and services, Vinpearl ensures a memorable vacation for all.
Also, don't miss the chance to explore VinWonders, an entertainment system full of fantastic attractions for all ages.
Son Doong Cave is a natural wonder that beckons adventurers and travelers to see its unparalleled beauty and grandeur. With the help of this Son Doong Cave map, you can explore the largest cave in the world with convenience. If you seek an unforgettable journey into the heart of the earth, make sure to add Son Doong Cave, a testament to the splendor of our planet, to your bucket list.