Son Doong Cave on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program

This is the first time a place in Vietnam ha been broadcast live to the American audience. After two months of preparation, the ABC crew of 12 members, with the support of more than 100 people, worked in the cave of Son Doong for the live broadcast of two hours. The biggest difficulty of the crew was to move 150 suitcases of equipment, including seven aerial cameras and ten generators from London and the US to Quang Binh to the caves. They needed the assistance of 150 strong local men to do this. Here, the crew was divided into four groups: the group of cameramen, the aerial camera group, the lighting and the satellite technical group. Well-known reporter s,Ginger Renee Colonomo who hosts "Good Morning America" and "ABC World News Tonight" was the host of the broadcast. Maria Stepfanopoulos, in charge of producing "Good Morning America", said that this was the first time ABC had broadcast live from a cave. She also said the crew had one of th emost wonderful experiences of their life. Bringing the stunning images of this natural wonder to the audience is important because most Americas and the world do not know about this cave. At 6am (US time), "Good Morning America" aired. In the first scenes, Son Doong cave was discovered gradually after the footsteps of presenter Ginger Zee. Moving deeply into Son Doong, many fossils were revealed. Inside the cave there are tropical forests, white sand grounds and a mysterious system of plants. In the cave 200 meters high, the scene was magnificent with images of a paradise that stunned viewers. En Cave looked like a paradise on Earth, with systems of magnificent stalactites, the home to thousands of swallows. Inside the world's biggest cave and hidden deep in the jungle, the crew discovered the spectacle and overwhelmed scene: The sun shone down on the ground through the broken cave ceiling of hundred meters high. The cave is large enough for two Boeing 747s and high enough to accommodate an 80-storey building. The cave has an underground river and limestone mountains dating back 2 million years. Ginger Renee Colonomos said that this was the most dangerous and remote site that she had ever visited. The crew had to walk for several days, through jungles, to reach the cave. They used aerial cameras to capture the images of places where cameras could not reach. During the process, the crew faced many difficulties and were warmly assisted by the Vietnamese. Golden opportunity for Vietnam tourism Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam appeared on the show as a special guest. In the interview with Ginger Zee, the Deputy PM referred to the nation’s socio-economic strategy, sustainable tourism development and tourism’s contributions to economic growth and local people’s incomes. Expressing his gratitude to ABC News for choosing Viet Nam for its "Good Morning America" TV show, the Deputy PM presented the attractiveness of the nation’s culture, … [Read more...]

Son Doong Cave attractive to visittors

The Saigon Times Daily quoted Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Ky as saying that only four tours with limited numbers of travellers are allowed to enter the cave. Bookings for the adventure this year have been closed. According to the portal of Quang Binh Province, the province only licenses seven-day and five-day tours to Son Doong Cave with each having a maximum of eight participants. The allowable tours to Son Doong Cave next year have been almost fully booked although departure schedules have not been announced by organisers. Travellers can make bookings for next year based on the “first come, first served” basis. Ky said tour organisers are finding ways to manage trips of fewer days to Son Doong Cave but still ensure that participants will be able to admire all the scenic sites of the majestic cave. A seven-day tour to Son Doong Cave, inclusive of a one-day course, costs 3,000 USD a passenger. As Son Doong has been discovered recently, the local government of Quang Binh Province only allows Oxalis Adventure Tours to implement a pilot scheme of organising tours of the cave from March last year. The period for such tours this year is from February to August. In September when the wet season begins in the region and the tours of Son Doong Cave are suspended, the provincial authorities and Oxalis will discuss next year’s exploring season for Son Doong so as to meet the growing demand of travellers, especially foreign adventurers. After that, departures and itineraries for the trips to the cave will be publicized. Ky said the province has plans to allow more travel firms to arrange tours to Son Doong if they meet the requirements regarding safety for tourists, environmental protection and having specialists in cave and mountain climbing. Son Doong was discovered by the United Kingdom’s Royal Geographical Society in 2009 and is considered the world’s biggest cave. The cave is about 200 metres wide and over 150 metres high. With the opening of Son Doong Cave in 2013, Quang Binh was instantly catapulted onto the bucket lists of travellers around the world. Recently, the New York Times named Quang Binh as one of the most attractive destinations in Asia and eighth out of the world’s 52 top tourist destinations for 2014. … [Read more...]

The mysteries of forests in Quang Binh

We all felt secure when we were led by Nham, who has spent half of his life in the forest and seems to know every inch of the forest in Minh Hoa where there are some magnificent caves that few people know about. During our trip, we had to climb over many rocks and go through deep valleys under the canopy of a primitive forest. The forest was wet with dew and the rotten leaves made moss grow on rough rocky blocks. It was so dangerous that if one took a false step they could hit their face on the sharp rugged rocks or fall into the mountain creeks. Our first destination was a rather flat sand bank near an unnamed stream. According to Nham, all large and small streams in Minh Hoa forest run from the inside of the mountains where there are wonderful caves. To get to the first cave, we must cross a stream using life buoys made from inflated inner tubes. Entering the cave, we were surprised by a wonderful “palace” with charming stalactite curtains hanging down from the cave’s ceiling. Inside, the cave looks like an artificial stage with glamorous stalagmites which are in the shape of dancing animals. There are three giant stalagmite pillars arranged into a three-gate entrance of a pagoda. Leaving the first cave, we spent more than three hours climbing the mountains to reach the second cave. Here, the stalactites and stalagmites have a shiny brass colour and give sounds like bells when beating. The ground in the cave was covered by pebbles of the size of chicken-eggs. When the light hits them just right, the pebbles sparkle and seem transparent. Dinh Hong Nham said: “During my trips to the forest, I discovered five caves at the riverhead and most of these caves connect with each other. In these caves, there are some stretches that are submerged by underground water, causing difficulty in traveling.” Phong Nha Grottoes are considered a splendid castle that is appreciated by the tourism sector. The system of caves in Minh Hoa forest is like a sleeping beauty who is waiting to be awakened. Talking about these caves, Dinh Minh Chat, Chairman of Minh Hoa District People’s Committee said: “Minh Hoa District is a buffer zone of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park so that it has many beautiful caves. Recently, the district has conducted surveys to make plans to protect and call for investment in building trans-forest tracking tours to discover the beauty of the new system of caves. … [Read more...]

Trekkers start exploring charms of Tu Lan system cave

Discovered in 2009, Tu Lan now consists of eight caves, and still counting more, either wet, dry, small or big-scale, lying 70km northwest of the town of Phong Nha, near Vietnam’s border with Laos. It spreads through four valleys covered with pristine forests and unnamed rivers. There are many magnificent stalagmites and stalactites inside the caves, together with splendid waterfalls and underground rivers making Tu Lan a unique spot for both sightseeing for adventure. Trekkers will be accompanied by English-speaking tour guides and local jungle men who will take them to untouched caves, then cross shallow rivers and trek 5km through dense jungle rich with butterflies and birdlife. A highlight during the tour is the time spent at a campsite, listening to the sounds of waterfall and night critters, and hearing some interesting stories about the local ethnic people. As safety is absolutely paramount on all trips, they will be equipped with helmets, life jackets, headlights, hammocks, sleeping bags, trekking boots, among others. Nature has bestowed a diversity of natural landscapes on Quang Binh with plains, mountains, lakes and caves. It is well-known for various natural attractions, especially the ‘Kingdom of Caves’, a complex of over 300 caves, found in the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, which was recognised as a World Natural Heritage Site by the UNESCO last year. Most recently, the New York Times named Quang Binh as one of the most attractive destinations in Asia and eighth out of the world’s 52 top tourist destinations for 2014. … [Read more...]

More and more visitors wait for Son Doong exploration trips

Only 164 people visited the natural masterpiece, Son Doong cave, located in the heart of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO-recognised nature heritage site, in the first half of this year. Managers said the figure is still modest in comparison with visitors’ demand, however it generated a revenue of nearly 10 billion VND (nearly 470,000 USD) for central Quang Binh Province, the host locality of the cave. Many people who have booked the tour, which is sold online only, said they are still waiting for their turn to explore the cave, which is described as the largest in the world. Nguyen Van Ky, vice director of the Quang Binh Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism, revealed that only four trips, each having eight people, were organised a month as the tour is still on a trial basis. The province plans to review the tour’s efficiency, including its cost, in August this year in a bid to make the optimal plans for future exploratory activities. During the trial period, each seven-day-and-six-night tour costs a visitor 3,000 USD. Recently, the cave welcomed Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Quang Binh opened Son Doong Cave in 2013, instantly catapulting it onto the bucket lists of travellers around the world. The cave's entrance was first discovered by a local man in 1991, and was further explored by a group of cavers from the British Cave Research Association in 2009. This was the third cave to be discovered in the central province – an expansive karst area buried deep in the jungle. The cave is said to have been created two to five million years ago with river water eroding the limestone underneath the mountain. It is also described as having enough space to house 40-storey skyscrapers and 100-feet-tall trees. Son Doong has a length of at least 6.5 kilometres and is estimated to be 200 metres in width and at least 150 metres in height, while its very largest chamber is an incredible 250 metres in height, enough space to accommodate 40-storey skyscrapers. Cave tourism has recently turned Quang Binh into a hot spot for visitors from around the world. … [Read more...]

Son Doong on international newspapers

“Son Doong Cave in Quang Binh province of  Vietnam – which is so big it contains a jungle and a river – is now open for public tours. But don't expect it to become crowded: just 224 tourists will be permitted to visit this year,” wrote The Guardian on January 14. “It's so big you could fit a 40-storey skyscraper inside, but Son Doong cave remained undiscovered until a local man found it in 1991. Even then, no one explored beyond its vast entrance until British cavers visited in 2009,” it wrote. Meanwhile, FoxNews website wrote: "The Son Doong is over 5.5 miles long and could fit a 40-story skyscraper within its walls. It contains giant stalactites, waterfalls and a jungle that is known as the Garden of Edam with native animals like flying foxes, monkeys and hornbills thriving inside the cavern’s lush landscape.” News.com.au praised: “Nestled in the wild and remote jungles of the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, the Son Doong cave is so big that even the narrower chambers would be able to fit a 40-storey CBD block. In other parts, giant stalagmites climb a staggering 80 meters into the sky and the cave contains some of the world's most dazzling examples of cave pearls.” Son Doong cave is located in Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province with a length of 8.8 km, a width of 150m and a depth of 200m. The cave is so great but no one knew about it until 2009, when UK explorers discovered all the beauty inside the cave. Earlier in 1991, a local man discovered it but he did not directly go inside because he found the entrance two deep and steep. Now, for the first time in history, the cave will be open to the public. A tour company called Oxalis is running trial tours of the cave and accepting sign-ups for real six-day tours to take place next year. The tours cost $3,000 and include a week of travel inside the cave. Only 220 tourists will be able to visit the cave in 2014. However, the tours to 2016 have been fully booked. … [Read more...]

The beauty of Phong Nha Cave

Phong Nha is the most exemplary cave, in terms of aesthetic value and beauty, in Phong Nha - Ke Bang. After almost 20 years of tourism development in Phong Nha, tourists now have the opportunity to experience all seven outstanding features of Phong Nha Cave, as listed by the British Royal Cave Explorers’ Society. These include: Cave with a high and wide door Cave with the most beautiful sand and reefs Cave with the most beautiful underground river Cave with the most magnificent system of stalactites Cave with dry, high and wide chambers Cave with a beautiful, deep and wide lake The longest wet cave. With a length of 7,729m, Phong Nha is one of the world's longest water caves. In particular, this is the sole cave with an underground river in Vietnam that is opened for tourists. … [Read more...]

Puong Cave in Bac Kan Province

Puong Cave formed by the Nang River that flows under the limestone among the vertical cliffs of Lung Nham Limestone Mountain is where tourists should visit to trace vestiges of time and riddles of nature. The cave is over 30 meters high and 300 meters long. Located in Ba Be National Park, about five kilometers from the town of Ba Be District, Bac Kan Province, the cave is attractive thanks to its primitive surroundings. The cave is the residence of many nocturnal creatures and there are 18 species of bats numbering in the thousands living there. Entering into the cave, tourists will certainly be amazed by ethereal lights, colorful stalactites and giant rocks in strange shapes. Tourists can take a boat cruise to visit the cave. … [Read more...]

New massive cave discovered in Quang Binh

The group of locals, who was on a trip to do wood work from the province's Phuc Trach Commune, said the cave's entrance is covered by forest trees in the territory of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. The newly discovered cave is said to be 3km east of Thien Duong (Paradise) Cave and 300m above sea level. According to initial accounts, the new cave is said to be on the same grand scale as Paradise, is very long and has an inner stream. The discovery comes as Quang Binh has been catapulted onto world travel lists as one of the most coveted destinations for cave explorers. The province has four caves with tours running daily, Son Doong, Tu Lan, Paradise and Phong Nha. The Son Doong, which was discovered in 2009, is said to be the world's largest cave, according to the British Cave Research Association. Nguyen Chau A, who works closely with British cave explorers to run sustainable tours through Son Doong and the Tu Lan caves, said there are still more caves in the area that have not yet been discovered. In a recent trip to Tu Lan Cave, a British caver told Viet Nam News that she believed there are a lot of caves around the site. Local authorities expect cave-related tourism to bolster the local economy and reduce illegal forest logging. … [Read more...]

Abu Dhabi prince explores Son Doong Cave

Abu Dhabi prince Hamad bin Hamdan Al Nahyan has taken part in an adventure tour which explored Son Doong, said to be one of the world's most attractive caves. He was accompanied by two assistants and a friend in a six-day program-me to explore the entire cave from February 6 to 14. According to Oxalis Adventure Tour, the exclusive organizer of tours to Son Doong Cave, the prince loves adventure and himself runs a prestigious magazine on tourism in the United Arab Emirates. "The prince was amazed by the gorgeous beauty of the cave and reminded us about conserving the cave for the next generation," said Nguyen Chau A, Oxalis's director. He said the prince promised to publicist the cave in his country and also bring his family to visit it. Son Doong, which is ranked eighth in New York Times' list of the world's top 52 places to go in 2014, is said to be the largest cave in the world. … [Read more...]