by Ivan Petricevic
Image credit: John Spies
This cave is probably
beyond anything you've ever come across!
It's mesmerizing, it's
mysterious, it's beautiful and magical.
Discovered - or better said rediscovered - in 1990 by a man
traveling through the jungles of the
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park,
Ho Khanh was searching the area for timber and food in order to
make money in order to survive.
Little did he know that his search for food and timber would take
him to uncover a magical, otherworldly place.
Ho Khanh explored the place as best as he could but eventually went
back home. A few days later, when he thought about returning to the
mystery cave to explore it, he couldn't remember the exact location
where he had found the entrance.
Eventually, Khanh forgot
Eventually, members of the British Cave Research Association
(BCRA), Howard and Deb Limbert were exploring Phong
Nha, conducting exploratory missions in the area.
One day they spoke to Khanh who mentioned the mesmerizing cave he
had come across.
The British Cave explores were fascinated by what Khanh had told
them and urged him to try and rediscover it once again.
Many failed attempts went by as they searched for the cave entrance,
and just when they thought they would never rediscover it, in 2008
Ho Khanh found its 'otherworldly portal,' a supermassive cave hidden
for centuries far from mankind's reach.
Eventually, Khanh led the British cave explorers to the cave in 2009
as they performed the first-ever expedition to enter what would
later become known as the
Hang Son Doong cave, or the
'Mountain River Cave'.
The cave is massive. It's humongous.
It's so big that many
claim a Boeing 747 could easily fly through its largest cavern.
Image Credit: John Spies
The interior of the cave is unlike anything you've ever seen.
landscapes are most likely exclusive to the cave, as many who have
entered it have said that they've never seen anything like it
anywhere else in the world.
The cave is one massive ecosystem, so big that it's as if you've
entered the 'inner world'.
In fact, it's so mesmerizing that entire jungles emerge from inside
the cave, a landscape so magical that you cannot appreciate its true
beauty until you are actually there.
John Spies, who spent a week
living inside the cave describes it in an interview with
"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."
But images best describe
the cave so here are a couple of surreal pictures from inside the