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DESTINATIONS Son Doong Cave Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Vietnam’s colossal cave

Located in central Vietnam’s rugged Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Hang Son Doong might be the world’s largest subterranean cavern.

Hollow earth

Hollow earth
Located in central Vietnam’s rugged Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Hang Son Doong might be the world’s largest subterranean cavern. Expedition members enter through Hang En, a mile-long portal that tunnels into the lost world, hidden beneath a ring of mountains. The cave was carved out by the Rao Thuong River, which dwindles to a series of ponds during the dry months of April, May and October. At 2.5 miles long and 300ft wide, much of Hang Son Doong’s colossal caverns are still being explored. (Carsten Peter/National Geographic Stock)

Shafts of light

Shafts of light
A photographer captures the image of a giant doline, or sinkhole, that measures at least 300ft across in Hang Son Doong. The cave’s sinkholes were created when building-sized blocks of limestone fell from the ceiling and crashed onto the cave floor. (Carsten Peter/National Geographic Stock)

Possibly the world’s largest cavern

Possibly the world’s largest cavern
Hang Son Doong is 300ft wide and nearly 800ft tall -- room enough for an entire New York City block of 40-storey buildings. There are longer caves (the Mammoth Cave system in the United States) and deeper caves (Krubera-Voronja, the “crow’s cave”, in the western Caucasus Mountains of Georgia), but none compare to the overall size of this enormous subterranean passage. (Carsten Peter/National Geographic Stock)

Garden of earthly delights

Garden of earthly delights
A second skylight in Hang Son Doong, caused by a roof collapse long ago, reveals a jungle of hundred-foot-tall trees, lianas and burning nettles. An explorer climbs to the surface, while hikers struggle through the dense vegetation below. (Carsten Peter/National Geographic Stock)

Towers of stone

Towers of stone
A giant cave column swagged in flowstone towers over explorers swimming through the depths of Hang Ken, one of 20 new caves discovered in 2010. This cave, along with Hang Son Doong, is part of a network of more than 150 caves, many still not surveyed, in the Annamite Mountains near the Laos border. (Carsten Peter/National Geographic Stock)
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Source BBC

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