OFF THE RECORD

Secret Underground Cave In Vietnam, A ‘Hidden Portal’ To A Whole New World

How was the New World Discovered?

In former times, local man Ho Khanh used to spend weeks traveling through the jungles of the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, searching for food and timber to earn a modest income.

In 1990 while Ho Khanh was hunting, he stumbled across an opening in a limestone cliff and moved forward to investigate.

As he went further, he approached and noticed clouds puffing out from the entrance, and could hear magical sounds of a river from somewhere inside the cave.

When he could feel a strong wind also blowing out from the cave, he decided to quit on his inspection. When he returned home few days later from his trip, he completely forgot the exact location and decided to forget about it.

At the same time two members of the British Cave Research Association (BCRA), Howard and Deb Limbert, were basing themselves in Phong Nha to conduct exploratory cave expeditions in the area. While chatting with Ho Khanh one day, he told them exactly what he saw in that cave. The experts were highly intrigued and urged him to try to rediscover this magical place. After many failed attempts to find the mystical cave, they began to think this cave will remain a mystery forever. But all is not over…

In 2008 while out on another food gathering trip, Ho Khanh found the mysterious opening again, and he didn’t make the same mistake twice. He took note of the path on how to get there. In 2009 he led Howard, Deb and a team of professionals back to the cave for the first expedition to enter what would later become known as Hang Son Doong, or ‘Mountain River Cave’. The cave has only been open to the public since 2013.

Less people have seen the inside of Hang Son Doong than have stood on the summit of Mount Everest!

Imagine trekking straight into the depths of the world’s largest cave on an expedition unlike any other.

A cave so massive that a 747 could fly through its largest cavern. A space so mesmerising that it forces you to question whether you are still on this planet at all. Foreign landscapes found nowhere else, enormous stalagmites rising from the ground and statuesque stalactites hanging from the ceiling like an alien species. Jungles emerge from inside the cave itself, a scene so surreal that you have to see it to believe it! Misty clouds envelop the whole scene, a result of the cave’s own localised weather system. Passages adorned with ancient fossils offer evidence of the millions of years that have passed on this Earth.

As you approach the jungle just outside the entrance, the rush of cool wind that cascades out brings to life everything inside of you. Hazy, cold and exhilarating, it is apparent that there’s something magical waiting just beyond the opening to the cave. Check the tours on Oxalis because you just have to put this magical place in your Bucket List, but not before you see the real magic of the place bellow. It will make you sign up for a tour!

An incredible Australian photographer, John Spies, 59, spent nearly a week living inside Hang Son Doong cave in Vietnam, capturing breathtaking photos of the world’s biggest cave — a 600-foot-deep natural wonder, Barcroft Media reports.

“The cave is a humbling and belittling experience,” says John Spies. “It is amazing to be [five miles] inside the cave and have daylight illuminate the cave formations. The dimensions of the cave are incredible. … To camp for five nights in the biggest cave in the world is not something most of us get to do in our lifetime.”

“The entrance is quite small and mist from the cave, caused by the cooler air inside meeting the hot air outside, rises into the surrounding forest,” Spies said. “The cave is harder to get into than the Batcave. To enter it, visitors must scale a 260-foot wall, using a harness and rope. They must then cross massive boulder piles and pass under chunks of limestone the size of small houses.”

Views like this are unlikely to be seen elsewhere, with the left chamber looking like it’s made of gold!

Image source: John Spies / Barcroft Media

he cave offers tourists the perfect getaway, with this area looking more like a beach than a cave.

Image source: John Spies / Barcroft Mediaa

The cave holds its own, magnificent story!

Image source: John Spies / Barcroft Media

John Spies has some ‘down’ time…or should that be ‘up’ as he continues to explore the many facets of the cave.

Image source: John Spies / Barcroft Media

Explorers marvel at the beauty of the cave that has been officially recorded as the biggest in the world.

Image source: John Spies / Barcroft Media

The Hang Son Doong translates into the mountain river cave, and it’s clear to see why.

Image source: John Spies / Barcroft Media

Some of the world’s rarest rocks are found in the Vietnam cave, the formations of which are simply stunning!

Image source: John Spies / Barcroft Media

The cave holds its own rainforest, supple and fresh greenery serves to keep explorers fresh.

Image source: John Spies / Barcroft Media

John Spies transported himself into another world as he explored the inner workings of the biggest cave in the world.

Image source: John Spies / Barcroft Media

The enormity of the cave is displayed perfectly here, as it also shows off a tranquil side to the imposing attraction.

Image source: John Spies / Barcroft Media

The colours displayed when the sun shines through are stunning showing off the complexities of the rockwork.

Image source: John Spies / Barcroft Media

Stunning view!

Image source: John Spies / Barcroft Media

Hand like rock.

Image source: John Spies / Barcroft Media

Join this expedition and become one of the lucky few who have had the life changing experience of exploring the world’s largest cave!

Image source: John Spies / Barcroft Media

Make sure to visit John Spies 500px to see the stunning images in High Quality!

Profile Image source: Alesha Bradford

Sources used: OxalisNY Post, Daily MailJohn Spies, 

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