Top 5 Caves Of Vietnam | The Best Caves In The World?

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Tiffany Hoang
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Last Updated: December 13, 2023

Vietnam‘s beautiful cave system is a remarkable natural wonder formed over millions of years. The caves of Vietnam are a significant geological formation with rich cultural and historical value. With their impressive size, unique geological features, and fascinating ecosystem, they have become a popular destination for adventurers and tourists worldwide. Let’s explore Vetnam’s caves in more detail!

History Of The Caves In Vietnam

caves of vietnam
©Lonely Planet

Vietnam is home to some of the most beautiful caves in the world. This place has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. Vietnam’s caves and limestone mountains are renowned for their stunning natural beauty, unique geological formations, and rich cultural significance.

The history of caves in Vietnam can be traced back to prehistoric times. At that time, early human civilizations used these natural formations for shelter, storage, and religious purposes. Archaeological excavations have uncovered human occupation in several of Vietnam’s caves dating back to the Stone Age, around 10,000-30,000 years ago.

Today, many caves in Vietnam are popular tourist attractions, drawing visitors worldwide to admire their natural beauty and learn about their cultural and historical significance. From the stunning stalactites and stalagmites of Phong Nha to the ancient Buddhist temples hidden within the caves of Marble Mountain, the caves of Vietnam are a testament to the country’s rich cultural and geological heritage.

Top 5 Famous Caves In Vietnam

1. Son Doong Cave

son doong cave
Son Doong Cave

Address: Quang Binh Province, Vietnam

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History Of Son Doong Cave

Discovered in 2009 by a team of British cavers, Son Doong cave, or “Hang Son Doong” is believed to be the world’s largest cave by volume. Its main cavern reaches over 5 kilometers long, 200 meters in height, and 150 meters in width.

Son Doong cave is in central Vietnam’s Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province. Hang En cave, the third largest cave in the world and the second largest cave in Vietnam, is also in Phong Nha-Ke Bang. To get to Son Doong cave and En cave, you’ll hike through the valley, traversing streams, and take in the stunning views when you visit Phong Nha caves.

son doong, caves of vietnam
A lake inside Son Doong Cave // Photo by Axalis Adventures

The Origin Of Son Doong Name

Son Doong cave is named after the local ethnic minority people, who had known about it for generations but never thoroughly explored it. The first tourist expedition to Son Doong cave was organized in 2013. Since then, Son Doong has become a popular destination for adventurous travelers seeking to explore one of the world’s most extraordinary natural wonders.

The Unique Features Of Son Doong Cave

The unique features of Son Doong cave include a fast-flowing underground river and towering limestone formations. Besides, there are vast chambers filled with stunning stalactites and stalagmites. The sheer size of the whole inside Son Doong cave creates its ecosystem, with unique plant and animal species that have adapted to the dark, damp environment.

A licensed guide must accompany visitors to Son Doong Cave. However, only a limited number of permits are issued yearly to minimize the impact on the delicate ecosystem. The Son Doong cave tours can be physically demanding and require visitors to navigate steep terrain and climb rope ladders. Still, the stunning scenery and unique experience of exploring one of the world’s largest and most beautiful caves make it well worth the effort.

Let’s discover Son Doong cave with Voogie.

Son Doong – THE LARGEST CAVE ON PLANET EARTH // Video by Voogie

2. Paradise Cave

Paradise Cave
Paradise Cave

Address: Km 16, Đường Hồ Chí Minh, Quảng Bình, Vietnam

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The Incredible Cave In The Cave System

Besides Son Doong cave, Paradise Cave, also known as Thien Duong Cave in Vietnamese, is one of the most mysterious caves in Vietnam. It is another popular destination for tourists. It is also located in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. It is a dry cave in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in central Vietnam, near the border with Laos. The cave was discovered in 2005 by a local man searching for timber and stumbled upon its entrance.

Inside The Famous Cave

It is known for its stunning natural formations, including stalactites and stalagmites that have been sculpted over millions of years. This beautiful cave is over 31 kilometers long, making it one of the longest dry caves in Asia. However, only the first kilometer of the dry cave is open to visitors, as the rest of the cave is still being studied by scientists and researchers.

Travel In Phong Nha-Ke Bang

Visitors to this mysterious cave can take a guided tour, which includes a walk through a forested valley to the cave’s entrance and a stroll along a wooden walkway through the cave’s stunning chambers. The walkway is well-lit, making it easy for visitors to admire the dark cave’s natural formations and take photos. At the end of the walkway, visitors can climb up a staircase to a viewing platform that offers a panoramic view of the cave’s magnificent chambers.

It is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Unlike other caves, its natural beauty has earned it a reputation as one of the most beautiful caves in Vietnam.

3. Phong Nha Cave

phong nha cave
Phong Nha Cave

Address: Quang Binh Province, 511860, Vietnam

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Phong Nha Cave is one of the most famous caves in Vietnam and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the largest natural caves in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in central Vietnam, near the border with Laos. The cave is over 7 kilometers long and contains a network of underground rivers and stunning natural formations.

History Of Phong Nha Cave

This cave in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang has a rich history, with evidence of human habitation dating back at least 4,000 years. The local Cham people believed that the cave was the gateway to the afterlife, and they built shrines and temples inside the massive cave, to honor their ancestors.

Cave Entrance

Visitors to Phong Nha cave in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang can take a boat ride along the Son River to the cave entrance, where they can explore the stunning chambers and admire the natural formations, including stalactites and stalagmites. The Phong Nha Cave is the world’s largest natural cave whose interior is well-lit, making it easy for visitors to see the intricate details of the natural formations.

“Fairy Palace” Of Phong Nha Cave

One of the most stunning features of Phong Nha Cave is the “Fairy Palace,” a vast chamber that is over 30 meters high and filled with towering limestone formations that resemble fairy tale castles. Another highlight of the Phong Nha cave system is the “Buddha’s Handprint,” a natural appearance on the cave wall that resembles the Buddha’s handprint.

Phong Nha Cave is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural history make it one of the most popular caves in Vietnam.

Don’t have days and weeks of free time to trek through the world’s biggest caves? Try our 1-day cave tour in Phong Nha!

4. Sung Sot Cave

Sung Sot Cave - Sung Sot Cave
Sung Sot Cave

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Sung Sot Cave, or Surprise Cave, is one of the most stunning and famous caves in Vietnam. It is located on Bo Hon Island in Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northeastern Vietnam. The cave was discovered in 1901 by a French explorer and is named after its surprising beauty and size.

Discover Sung Sot Cave

Sung Sot Cave, one of the beautiful Vietnam caves, is divided into two main chambers connected by a narrow passageway. The first chamber is known as the “Waiting Room”. It is filled with stunning natural formations, including stalactites and stalagmites formed over millions of years. The second chamber is known as the “Surprise Room”. It is even more spectacular, with towering limestone formations that resemble intricate sculptures.

Related Article: Top 10 Hidden Gem Halong Bay Caves | Explore More

The cave’s interior is well-lit, making it easy for visitors to see the intricate details of the natural formations. The cave entrance is well-maintained and easy to navigate. There are stairs and handrails to help visitors climb up and down.

Significantly, there’s a lot of folklore and myths around the shapes and patterns of the rocks, which can impress travelers.

Recommend cruises that visit Sung Sot Cave: 5-Hour Halong Bay Cruise 1 Day Package + Transfers & Set Menu Lunch

5. Luon Cave

luon cave halong bay - Luon Cave
Luon Cave

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While much smaller than Sung Sot, Luon Cave feels like a gateway to a secret world within Halong Bay. An arc-shaped grotto, which is just 60 meters long and four meters high, a bright cave can only be accessed by kayak or small boat.

It would be best to crouch when the waters are high to get through the low entrance. The cave looks eerie and relaxed, with clear blue water below and another narrow exit straight ahead. On the other side of the cavern, a peaceful lagoon is surrounded by limestone cliffs where tribes of monkeys complete the picture.

Recommend cruises that visit Luon Cave: Halong Daily Cruise – 8-Hour Halong Bay Discover + Luxury Buffet Lunch

halong bay day tours
Sailing on a Halong Bay cruise is an unforgettable experience, where the breathtaking scenery of towering limestone cliffs and crystal-clear waters leave you in awe.

Geological Features Of The Spectacular Caves In Vietnam

Vietnam’s spectacular caves feature unique geological formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, and other incredible rock formations. These formations are created over millions of years through the slow deposition of calcium carbonate from the dripping water. The beautiful caves also feature underground rivers and lakes, with some containing beaches and underground waterfalls.

Thien Canh Son Cave
Caves in Vietnam

A. Rock Formations

Caves are formed from different rock types, such as limestone, granite, and sandstone. As water flows through the rock, it can dissolve and erode, creating tunnels and openings. Over time, the dissolved minerals can form unique rock formations, such as columns, curtains, and domes.

B. Underground Rivers And Lakes

The beautiful caves in Vietnam can contain underground rivers and lakes formed by water seeping through the rock and collecting in underground pools. These bodies of water can be large or small and provide habitats for unique aquatic species.

C. Stalactites And Stalagmites

Stalactites and stalagmites are mineral deposits that form over thousands of years as water drips through the cave ceiling and onto the floor. Stalactites hang from the top and are shaped like icicles, while stalagmites grow upward from the cave floor. For that reason, they create stunning formations that can resemble natural sculptures.

Fauna And Flora

The beautiful caves in Vietnam are home to various unique species adapted to the darkness and lack of sunlight. These include rare fish species, spiders, bats, and several species of flora unique to the cave environment. Despite their importance, the beautiful caves in Vietnam are under threat from human activities, and there have been several conservation efforts to protect these unique ecosystems.

camping in Hang En
Hang En adventure camping is an unforgettable experience to explore the world’s third-largest cave and camp inside it.

Responsible Tourism And The Beautiful Caves Of Vietnam

Vietnam’s cave system is a unique and valuable resource with significant geological, cultural, and historical value. These natural wonders have attracted visitors worldwide and have become a valuable resource for the local economy. However, it is essential to recognize the importance of responsible tourism and conservation efforts to protect these fragile ecosystems and ensure their preservation for future generations.

If you’re looking for an adventure, exploring the beautiful caves in Vietnam is a great way to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and learn about the unique history and culture of the country.

Looking for recommendations for an off-the-beaten-track experience? We love this jungle trek tour to the Tra Ang Cave in Phong Nha Ke Bang!

See all our Vietnam tours!

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Tiffany Hoang
Brand Representative - Vietnam Is Awesome