We ended our motorcycle trip through central Vietnam by coming in the ‘back door’ of Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, our jumping off point for an overnight trek/cave exploration adventure (yes, Mark agreed to go in caves!). ‘Kong: Skull Island’ was partially filmed here… Shauna looked for him, but only found this creature (video).
The park was created to protect one of the world’s two largest karst regions with 300 caves and grottoes. Karst topology generally refers to a landscape shaped by the dissolution of layers of soluble bedrock, in this case, limestone. Karsts are found all over the world, but this area is not only big, it is the oldest major karst area in Asia (formed about 400 million years ago).
The Sơn Đoòng Cave, which was discovered inPhong Nha-Kẻ Bàng in the 2009 survey by British and Vietnamese explorers, is considered the largest cave in the world. Even before this discovery, Phong Nha held several world cave records, including the longest underground river as well as the largest combined caverns and passageways.
While we didn’t go to Son Doong Cave (it’s a 5-day trip), we had a blast on our 2 day-1 night Tu Lan cave excursion with tour company, Oxalis.