Cable Car Project Approved for World’s Largest Cave
Son Doong Cave located in north central Vietnam in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, is considered the world’s largest cave. The cave was discovered in 1991 by Ho Khanh, a local explorer, but only became well-known after a group of scientists from the British Cave Research Association, led by Howard and Deb Limbert, explored it in 2009. A local resort developer, Sun Group based in Da Nang City has received the green light to build a US $212 million cable car system in the cave.
Sun Group has been asked to survey the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and install the system. The company is planning a four section route of 10.6 kilometers that would serve as a resort complex. The route will start in the Tien Son Cave and go through various openings of Sun Doong, which has at least 150 individual caves, a dense subterranean jungle, and several underground rivers. It will have seven stations on the way. Sounds like one of the wonders of the world. The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003. According to the Limberts, the cave is five times larger than the Phong Nha cave, previously considered the biggest in Vietnam.
The adventure tours to the cave were suspended to allow the cave’s environment to recover and now the government plans to officially reopen Son Doong Cave to the public next January. While tours were open, a total of 243 adventure travellers from 34 countries explored the cave on six-day trips costing US$ 3,000 per person. Howard Limbert is against the idea of a cable car system saying “The damage to the Son Doong cave would be irreversible, and the cable cars would rob the cave of its pristine charms and the adventure thrills it has to offer.”