Caves in Vietnam
Vietnam is an incredible country, rich in cultural experiences and incredible history that makes it a massively popular location for tourists looking to explore, enrich, and broaden their horizons whilst travelling. One of the most popular areas of exploration for adventurous tourists visiting Vietnam is its extensive cave region, commonly known as ‘Cave Kingdom’ because of its incredible high density of caves, including two of the three largest known caves in the world. Whilst they are millions of years old, many of these caves weren’t discovered until the late 21st century (which the vast majority being discovered in the 1990s and beyond).
The caves of Vietnam are generally situated towards the north of the country, with the densest population of cave systems sitting within the Karst terrain. This is a part of the country with an incredibly large area, sitting at a truly impressive 50 000 - 60 000 km2: an area that accounts for nearly 15 percent of the full area of Vietnam. Within this regions sits three popular world heritage locations: these are Halong Bay , the National Park Phong Nha - Ke Bang and areas of Trang An. This is a less well-known but incredibly scenic location that also has a hugely dense cave population.
Recent research and investigation, conducted in 2000, discovered that there are around 200 significant cave systems within Vietnam. Of those caves around 90 per cent are considered to be short or medium sized in length (sitting at less than 100m in length) whilst the remaining 10 per cent are large in length, with most of these standing at significantly longer than 100m in length, and some of these comprising the biggest and longest cave systems in the world.
Their size, though, is generally not what attracts tourists and adventurers alike to visit Vietnam and explore its cave region. These caves are truly beautiful, and have a magical, ancient and mystical quality that is quite unlike anything else you can experience in any of the world’s other cave regions. Many of these caves contain incredible examples of nature, having their own unique eco systems that can encompass rain forests, lakes, and even underground beaches. Many others have built and evolved around archaeological ruins, rendering them interesting and significant because they demonstrate a unique and culturally important aspect of the nation’s history.The authorities in Vietnam take their role in protecting the history and ecology of their nation very seriously, and whilst caving is an incredibly popular tourist attraction, access to many of the country’s caves is limited, with access only available by permit (of which only several hundred are granted each year). This policy is intended to preserve the delicate eco system inside each of these valuable and beautiful caves, maintaining them for future generations.
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