Hang Son Doong – The World’s Largest Cave

by Mike Still
Hang Son Doong – The World’s Largest Cave

Hang Son Doong is the world’s largest cave.  It was first explored in 2008 and opened to tours through Oxalis in 2014.  I was one of the lucky first to get on these tours and explored the cave in July & August of 2014.  It was a life-changing experience where I met a tribe living in the jungle before camping in some of the most beautiful places on Earth.  Enjoy these daily recounts full of vivid photographs and an exciting narrative!

Day 1: Through the Jungle to Hang En

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Day 2: Phong Nha Jungles & Hang Son Doong Decent
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Day 3: Watch out for Dinosaurs

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Day 3: The Garden of Edam

 

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Day 4: The Great Wall of Vietnam

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Day 4: The Most Glorious Bath Ever Taken

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Unfortunately my 3rd spare battery got dunked and I was forced to simply enjoy the splendor inside these caves after Day 4.  The narrative may one day see the light of day but until then I hope you enjoy these articles!

 

Son Doong is one of the best hikes in the world.  Check out these other great hikes that all over Asia.  Have you been to Son Doong or are you planning on going?  Leave a comment below with questions or your favorite part of the cave!

48 comments

But what if you have to poop? | Live, Travel, Teach July 10, 2015 - 10:05 am

[…] told my (4th grade Korean ESL) students about Son Doong and how I’ll be spending a week in the world’s largest […]

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Mary - A Mary Road September 11, 2016 - 7:37 pm

Wow, the cave looked so different! Are these photos from 2014? I visited this cave, and it’s getting easier to go through inside. Lucky you for experiencing it in this exciting way! 🙂

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mike.j.still@gmail.com September 12, 2016 - 4:16 pm

The photos are all from August 2014. As far as I know the only way to get into Hang Son Doong is with Oxalis tours and they are usually booked WELL in advance. I was definitely lucky and had been following the cave since it was discovered in 2009 and was one of the first people to sign up.

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Tracing Vietnam - Backpacking in Vietnam - A Mary Road September 12, 2016 - 3:49 pm

[…] Phong Nha is also famous Hang Son Doong, the world’s largest cave! Check out my blogging buddy’s week-long adventure trekking through the Jungle and camping in the caves. […]

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Courtney September 28, 2016 - 2:39 pm

Wow – your photos are incredible, though I’m sure they don’t do the actual cave justice. Looks a bit scary though – I’d expect creepy monsters to be lurking in the shadows! Lol.

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mike.j.still@gmail.com September 30, 2016 - 12:47 pm

Nothing can do this cave justice except experiencing it firsthand. The only scary critters were some spiders and a few snakes but we kept our distance from them.

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Rosalind September 28, 2016 - 5:08 pm

Beautiful pictures of an awe inspiring place. Almost like a Journey to the Centre of the Earth. An adventure you will never forget.

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Gareth September 28, 2016 - 5:54 pm

Wow, these shots are truly incredible. The lighting looks so atmospheric and the first shot really does do a great job in portraying the vastness of the cave. Unfortunate to hear about your spare battery but nevertheless, a great job capturing a spectacular setting

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mike.j.still@gmail.com September 30, 2016 - 12:44 pm

The atmosphere inside is so unique. At a few points we were even rained on inside the cave because it has its own weather patterns!

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Olena Kagui September 29, 2016 - 9:24 am

Oh wow, there’s something so magical about caves. You’re so lucky to have been able to tour the largest one! Beautiful photos! and meeting a tribe living in the jungle sounds too good to be true! Thanks for sharing your inspirational adventures 🙂

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mike.j.still@gmail.com September 30, 2016 - 12:43 pm

Thanks Olena, It was absolutely amazing. Even though I was so excited to see the caves having tea with the tribe was one of the most memorable parts of the whole experience.

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Luca September 29, 2016 - 8:07 pm

It’s incredible how such a big group of caves have been discovered only in 2008!
Anyway, I ABSOLUTELY want to go there, I don’t care if it’s uncomfortable, hot, cold or whatever, I want to go there!

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mike.j.still@gmail.com September 30, 2016 - 12:42 pm

If you can handle trekking you’ll love it. Its such a magical place. Gotta plan waaaay ahead though. Oxalis sells out a year or more in advance.

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maryrose September 30, 2016 - 12:10 pm

Now this is pretty amazing! It looks so majestic in the caves. Did you get to explore the whole thing? Can’t believe that the biggest cave in the world. Really cool!

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mike.j.still@gmail.com September 30, 2016 - 12:40 pm

Mary, we explored most of it. There are a few passages that we didn’t go in because there isn’t as much to see. Oxalis is the only company legally allowed to take people into the cave. We camped inside Son Doong for 3 nights and Hang En for 2 nights. Without a doubt the most epic thing I’ve ever done

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Sudipto De October 1, 2016 - 3:31 pm

The Garden of Edam looks like a place right out of the dreams. What would be a good time to visit?

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mike.j.still@gmail.com October 4, 2016 - 12:46 pm

Anytime you can book a tour with Oxalis is a good time. They sell out WAY in advance. At one point the representative told me they were booked 3 years ahead.

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Indrani October 2, 2016 - 1:13 pm

Incredible journey through the caves! The pictures are full of mystery.
I have visited smaller caves and can sound nothing like yours. So in a way this is inspiring to me.

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mike.j.still@gmail.com October 4, 2016 - 12:47 pm

Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos!

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WhereMonicaGoes October 2, 2016 - 3:07 pm

Whoa, the photos alone make me imagine how massive this cave would be. I did my fair share of spelunking before, but there were some moments when I would feel claustrophobic. You seem to enjoy your adventure in hang son doong. Maybe I would try and conquer some fears and experience something similar next time.

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Swapnil Shah October 2, 2016 - 5:35 pm

The cave looks similar to the one I had been in India – Belum caves. But these ones seem to be certainly huge. Lovely pics. Thanks for the article.

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mike.j.still@gmail.com October 4, 2016 - 12:47 pm

The Belum caves sound fun. I’m heading that way in March and hope I can stop by.

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Sia October 3, 2016 - 4:44 pm

I never asked myself which is the biggest cave in the world and it was really interesting to read this but even more interesting to look at the gorgeous mystical photos (I can’t help it I am more of a visual type of person). Curious to know that it was explored only in 2008 and open in 2014. So soon! Great for you being one of the first visitors, sounds like the perfect experience!

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Lindon Lee October 3, 2016 - 5:02 pm

Whoa! Looks magical! Your photos are great man! Will consider going there when I get the chance to travel in Vietnam. This place seems to be interesting in every ways.

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mike.j.still@gmail.com October 4, 2016 - 12:25 pm

Its a once in a lifetime trip and I highly recommend it!

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Vibhav B October 3, 2016 - 10:37 pm

This was one of the most awesomely / jaw-dropping posts that are out there!
Hang Son Doong seems to be an out of this world experience! Mother nature is so full of surprises!

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mike.j.still@gmail.com October 4, 2016 - 12:45 pm

Thanks Vihav! It definitely was an out of this world experience. Next up Mars?

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Jitaditya Narzary October 3, 2016 - 11:03 pm

wow what an amazing place… it s completely primal… reminded me of Jule’s Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth”

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mike.j.still@gmail.com October 4, 2016 - 12:26 pm

I was thinking of Jules Verne while trekking through the cave! Made me wish I brought that book but instead I had my journal.

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Vyjay October 4, 2016 - 1:39 pm

This experience must surely be out of the world. The pictures are so intriguing. Caves always evoke in me feelings of excitement and mysterious awe. The world’s largest cave must really be something.

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mike.j.still@gmail.com October 4, 2016 - 2:23 pm

Thanks for reading! It was out of this world indeed, a once in a lifetime experience… now if only I could go back 😉

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Bethanny Sudibyo October 4, 2016 - 2:04 pm

Oh my goodness, this cave is stunning. And I can’t imagine how big it must be if your tents looked as small as that. Must’ve been a super cool experience!

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EG III October 5, 2016 - 2:43 am

So awesome that you’ve had the opportunity to get there already. I was just talking about this place with a friend a few weeks back. Note to self, keep batteries in a waterproof case!

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Alberto C. October 6, 2016 - 5:12 am

Oh wow, this place is incredible! I love caves and adventure travelling in general, but I’ve never seen such a huge place, the interior is just massive!
Definitely something that will go straight to my bucket list, thanks for sharing!

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mike.j.still@gmail.com October 6, 2016 - 12:58 pm

Its unbelievably large and an incredible experience if you like adventures. Glad you found it and hope one day you can cross it off your bucket list!

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[…] kilometers long.  Its huge on the inside and has slight hints of the world’s largest cave, Hang Son Doong in Vietnam.  Its surprisingly COLD inside the cave so make sure you bring an extra […]

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[…] the most dramatic.  My trip to Vietnam was my first time traveling solo and I explored the World’s Largest Cave, Hang Son Doong.  I got my first taste of real Asian backpacking which has kept me on this continent for the last 3 […]

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[…] that I’m down to my final 3 months in South Korea.  The last 3 years have had plenty of ups and downs with countless adventures in between.  As my final weeks dwindle away I feel very much […]

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[…] Vietnam is also the home of the World’s largest cave. Read more about the Hang Son Doong cave by fellow blogger Mike Still on LiveTravelTeach. […]

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[…] Vietnam is also the home of the World’s largest cave. Read more about the Hang Son Doong cave by fellow blogger Mike Still on LiveTravelTeach. […]

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Agness of eTramping May 26, 2017 - 1:15 am

This cave is spectacular and I should definitely add it to my bucket list! Exploring it seems like lots of fun, Mike!

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One Month Travel Itinerary For Vietnam: North to South July 22, 2017 - 5:41 am

[…] Hotel. If you have time, cut the journey between Tam Coc and Hue in two and visit Hang Son Doong, the world’s largest cave along the […]

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Best Hikes in the World: Asia October 11, 2017 - 2:33 am

[…] been on countless hikes in dozens of countries around the world and my favorite one is still trekking through Vietnam’s Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park to Hang Son Doong, the world’s largest […]

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[…] 1. Explore the World’s largest Cave, Hang Son Doong […]

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Ban Gioc Waterfall - The Best of Northern Vietnam - Live, Travel, Teach January 28, 2018 - 1:53 pm

[…] We had a lot of fun posing for cool shots and it made me nostalgic for my trip through Hang Son Doong.  The cave is much larger than expected and will take an hour or more to walk through so plan […]

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[…] A “one bag” is a bag used by a “one bagger,” or someone who fits everything they take with them on a trip into one bag.  I first heard about one bagging on Reddit while planning my first one-bag trip to Vietnam. […]

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40 Best Hikes in Asia - Live, Travel, Teach February 14, 2018 - 8:32 pm

[…] ever had the pleasure of hiking in.  Hang Son Doong, meaning Mountain River Cave, is the world’s largest cave and situated deep in the jungles near Phong Nha, Vietnam.  It’s hard to get onto one of […]

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[…] 1. Explore the World’s largest Cave, Hang Son Doong […]

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