Unique features of spectacular Son Doong Cave

Source: Pano feed

Fantastic images from inside Son Doong, the world’s largest cave, in central Vietnam, were captured during a project for National Geographic Magazine.


It is meant to show exclusive 360-degree images of Son Doong on the online edition of NatGeo.

The capturing of images ended in late January, and the photographers estimate it will take about a month to process them before sending them to NatGeo.

The Son Doong 360 project is led by Swedish journalist Martin Edström, 27, who graduated from Stockholm Unviersity in 2010 and is now working as a photographer for UNDP and the Kontinent Agency of Sweden.

Entering Son Doong

On the evening of January 26, Edström and his crew members entered Son Doong after spending the previous night in En Cave.

Standing outside the mouth of Son Doong Cave, you have the feeling of standing near the mouth of a dragon when it is breathing. Its breath is the thin cloud flying out from the mouth.

Members of the exploration team used mountain climbing kits to climb down an 80m-tall cliff to enter the cave.

The team members were ‘welcomed’ by large rocks blocking the entrance. The only way to go deep into the cave is to climb over them. The sound of the Rao Thuong River pouring into the cave was deafening.

The river zigzags through the cave, forcing the explorers to cross it several times.

The images were all captured to be featured in the 360 degree images of NatGeo.

High-power lamps lit up different corners in the cave. The landscape is so fantastic that the team members uttered ‘oh’, ‘ah’ many times.

Water dropping down from the ceiling of the cave over millions of years has created a raft of white stalagmite – a type of rock formation rising from the floor of the cave.

It takes hundreds of thousands of years to create each centimeter of stalagmite.

Next to that sits banks of sandy ‘mushrooms’ that are similar to the ones in En Cave. The mushrooms are the result of the erosion of rock by water dropping down over a long time period.

The mushrooms are fragile and photographers had to stand a meter away from them.

Big columns of stalagmite and stalactite, which are rock formation attached to the ceiling of a cave, are seen inside Son Doong. The most spectacular column is called ‘The Hands of Dog’ thanks to its shape.

Porters play chess to entertain themselves at night inside Son Doong Cave (Photo: Tuoi Tre)

Deeper into the cave stands ‘the Great Wall of Vietnam’ and the ‘Watch out for dinosaurs’.

The ‘Watch out for dinosaurs’ is a green hill. Different kinds of plants grow on the hill inside the cave because it receives both sunlight from the cave’s mouth and water.

The hill looks similar to what was described in ‘The Lost World,’ written by Conan Doyle in 1912. Jonathan Sims, a member of the British Royal Cave Research Association, joined the first exploration trip to Son Doong and named it after he spotted the formation.

‘The Great Wall of Vietnam’ is the last section inside Son Doong Cave, which you can only approach by boat. The boat inside the cave was actually two car wheels bound to each other by four bamboo sticks.

The wall is 60m tall and decorated with many stalactites, plus the blue river water below.

During the expiditon a question emerged: how would the team members process their waste after spending two nights inside the cave?

Toilets were built near large rocks inside the cave, far from the source of water and the camping sites.

The ‘walls’ of the toilets are canvas. Inside the toilet is a bucket placed under a metal frame.

Each user laid a layer of dry rice husk in the bucket to deodorize the smell and process the waste.

The five-day trip to record 360 degree images of Son Doong ended on January 29.

The team’s achievements include 500 gigabytes of data, including 177 gigabytes of 360 degree images, 100 gigabytes of normal images, 156 gigabytes of video, and the remaining gigabytes of sounds.

A member of the exploration team led by Edström revealed that Hollywood is planning to film King Kong 2 in Phong Nha – Ke Bang national park, with planned investment capital of US$400 million.

If this comes true, Son Doong Cave will become better known around the world.

Đăng ký: VietNam News