The British Cave Research Association, led by Howard Limbert, has returned to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Bo Trach District in the central province of Quang Binh on an expected two-month trip to seek new caves after they discovered Son Doong cave, the world’s biggest, in 2010.
Son Doong cave in the central province Quang Binh is believed the world's largest now as it almost doubles the size of the current record holder Deer Cave in Malaysia. Photo: Internet.
Howard told Saigon Tiep Thi Newspaper in an interview that his team has so far explored 10 percent of the area of Phong Nha Ke Bang’s limestone desert.
“Up to 90 percent of the area remains unexplored. Possibly, there are bigger caves than Son Doong. We believe there is a bigger cave located on the edge of a mountain chain along the Ho Chi Minh Highway,” the British explorer says.
Howard says Son Doong is a monumental achievement in cave exploration in Phong Nha Ke Bang national park in the 21st century, and the cave has been introduced to the rest of the world by the US magazine National Geographic. “Son Doong has drawn attention from cave-lovers across the globe. It’s a precious thing of Vietnam and the world, too,” he says.
Howard added that Son Doong cave also helps promote Phong Nha Ke Bang national park to the world.
“Many scientists, experts, and tourists love to go to Phong Nha Ke Bang Park. I think Son Doong will become a tourist destination in the future, not now. More research on ecological systems, geology, geomorphology, and hydrology, should be conducted before exploring tourism in the cave,” he points out.
He added that if Son Doong cave becomes a tourist attraction, the most important thing to do for local authorities is to build a suspension cable system to ensure safety for tourists and biological diversity around and inside the cave, because the ecological system is quite vulnerable.
- Located in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, which was recognized as a world natural heritage site by UNESCO in 2003, the cave, 200m high and 150m wide, is believed to be almost twice the size of the current record holder, Deer Cave in Sarawak, Malaysia.
-- Ho Khanh, a local man, first discovered Son Doong in 1991, but it was not until 2009 that it was made public when a group of British scientists from the British Cave Research Association (BCRA), led by Howard Limbert, conducted a survey in Phong Nha-Ke Bang. As an acknowledgement of Khanh’s contribution, Howard Limbert offered him the honor of naming the cave. Son Doong was born, and it became the world largest cave ever.
-- Son Doong has been filmed by world-renowned news agencies like NHK and BBC.