During an interview with DTiNews, Howard Limbert, one of the British cavers who discovered Son Doong Cave at Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, said the cave’s beauty cannot be verbally described.
A big opening gate of cave
Having discovered caves at Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, for over 20 years, what are your comments about the cave systems there, especially the world’s largest cave Son Doong?
Being a world caver with dozens of years discovering cave systems in Vietnam, as well as several other countries in the world, I acknowledge that Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park boasts a great biodiversity system with diversified flora and fauna species as well as cave systems. The site has been endorsed as an imposing cave system with mammoth and magnificent stalactites that have lured millions of visitors over the past few years.
Son Doong, where six visitors have just successfully made their discovery tour, is the most beautiful and splendid cave in the world so far. It deserves the title of the world’s largest cave.
Deer Cave in Malaysia’s Sarawak set a world record before the discovery of Son Doong Cave. What is Son Doong Cave in Vietnam outstanding for?
Son Doong Cave at the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park is quite different from the Deer Cave in Sarawak in terms of size and beauty. Son Doong is the world’s largest cave at 150 metres wide, 200 metres high and 7.3 kilometres long, which is about double the Deer Cave’s size. Son Doong boasts an enchanting beauty along with a diversified flora composition.
I’ve discovered and conquered several caves in Vietnam and several other countries in the world, but Son Doong at Phong Nha – Ke Bang, boasts the most fascinating beauty. It has brought me many of my happiest memories in my cave-discovery career.
First six visitors have completed their discovering tour at Son Doong Cave
What do you think about the current tour price of USD3,000 per person for touring Son Doong?
I do think that the price is high, not only for a Vietnamese citizen but for anyone, anywhere. However, it’s worth discovering the world’s largest cave to ferret out its enchanting beauty. The price is actually reasonable as it covers the costs for transportation, accommodation and food as well as tourism insurance for a three-day-- three-night tour.
In your opinion, what should the tourism sector in general and Quang Binh provincial government in particular, do in order to have the most effective development plan for Son Doong Cave?
Son Doong has great potential for tourism and development as well as for scientific research into its floral composition, but I do think that in order to realise the potential there, relevant authorities should work out a reasonable and workable investment mechanism.
Due attention should be paid to intensive investment, instead of just extensive plans, in order to preserve and uphold the unique values of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, especially Son Doong Cave.
Relevant authorities should make a greater effort to devise new policies and programmes to attract more visitors to Son Doong in the future