The Telegraph highlights the charms of Hang Son Doong cave in Vietnam
New breath-taking photographs of the largest cave in the world have been captured by Swiss photographer Urs Zihlmann, showing its natural beauty and its own weather system. The impressive Hang Son Doong cave in the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam has its own climate, jungle and river, and is so big it can fit a 40-floor skyscraper inside.
Urs Zihlmann, a photographer from Switzerland has captured new photographs of the world’s largest cave. The images of Hang Son Doong cave in Vietnam show its magnificent beauty and size, and even its very own weather system including clouds.
Located in the vast Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in central Vietnam, the cave measures 200 metres high, 150 metres wide, and 5 kilometres long. It’s so big that is has its own lush jungle, river, climate, and 70-metre-high stalagmites.
The 53-year-old photographer Urs Zihlmann took a five-day trip to the national park and had a guided tour of the huge tavern with 40 other photographers. He explained:
"As we approached the entrance, clouds were rising from the cave into the surrounding forest - we had to descend 80 metres down a steep wall, using harnesses and ropes. Standing on the slippery ground in a huge, dark chamber, you begin to realise how amazing it is.”
Hang Son Doong cave is relatively undiscovered and to reach it, visitors must trek for a half a day through the jungle, across deep, rushing rivers, and through the third largest cave just to reach its entrance. The vast size of the cave is staggering, and a 40-floor skyscraper can fit in inside it.
The cave was originally found by local Vietnamese farmer, Ho Khanh, in 1991, but was later discovered in 2009 by British cavers on an expedition led by Howard Limbert. Son Doong means "mountain river cave” in Vietnamese, and it is said to have formed more than 2.5 million years ago when a strong river eroded the weak limestone of the mountain, causing the ceiling to collapse.
Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park is located approximately 280 miles south of Hanoi in the Quang Binh province. The park was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, and it spans 85,754 hectares. Home to a series of caves, underground rivers, tropical forests, and the oldest karst mountains in Asia, the park is a haven for nature lovers and explorers. Its diverse wildlife includes tigers, elephants, and the saola antelope, more than 80 types of reptiles and amphibians, and over 300 species of bird.
Access to the national park is controlled by the Vietnamese and hikers are not permitted to enter without a guide for safety reasons. Guided tours of the Hang Son Doong cave are in demand and start from $3,000.
As Urs Zihlmann highlighted, and we have to agree, Vietnam is a fascinating country to visit which it's full of marvelous natural attractions.
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