Learning a new language or a skill may be a cool resolution to have for this New Year, but can it be as cool as exploring caves as a hobby? If you don’t venture into one or more of these deep, dark caves of Vietnam, you’ll never know! P.S. These aren’t for the faint-hearted. By Shubhanjana Das
1. Hang Son Doong:
With space tall enough to accommodate a 40-storey building and fly a Boeing 747 through it, the Hang Son Doong inhabits a whole other world in itself. The world’s biggest and longest cave is situated in the heart of the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in the Quang Binh province. The expedition is not an ordinary feat for it takes four days and three nights. The tourist entry is restricted to only 1000 a year, considering the importance to preserve the biodiversity of this place, which has its own weather system as well as entire forests hiding inside.
2. Phong Nha Ke Bang:
Looks like the Quang Binh province has more in store than just the Hang Son Doong cave. Phong Nha Ke Bang, often referred to as The Kingdom of Caves, is situated in the Ke Bang limestone area in Bo Trach District of the Quang Binh province. Eight meters in length, 83 meters in depth and 50 meters in height, the Phing Nha Ke Bang boasts of 300 caves. Once you enter these caves, you have to leave sunlight behind and welcome an alternate topography, which consists of stalagmites and stalactites. If you have difficulties believing that nature can wield such wonders, you are not alone in the amusement.
If just trekking and rock climbing aren’t enough, consider swimming through subterranean waters in the TuLan caves as you pass limestone formations, which without the help of an artificial source of light, are hardly visible. It comprises a complex of 20 caves and spans a total of a whopping 20 kilometers and has been the location for movies like Kong-Skull Island (2017). This expedition takes four days and three nights as well.
4. Dau Go Caves:
We are gonna tone the difficulty down a little for everyone out there who wishes to start out on this unique hobby. The Dau Go Caves in the Halong Bay area offers the perfect topographical settings and the expedition takes just a day. The cave is accessible only by boat and on entering, displays magnanimous stalactite and stalagmite formations along with a huge space of 5,000 square meters. You will be required to know the absolute basics of rock climbing to slay this expedition. If not, you can trust your adventurous skills and simply go for it!
5. Tam Coc Caves:
Literally translating to three caves, these are submerged in Ngo Dong Rivers, meaning that they don’t have any floors. It comprises the Hang Ca, Hang Giua and Hang Cuoi caves and the entire exploration of three of the caves takes approximately four hours. Here too you will be greeted by surprising formations of stalactites and stalagmites as well as monkeys (if you’re lucky). The cave roof is worth ogling at for the whole time you row the boat, slipping from one cave to the other amidst the music of nature.