Inside Son Doong Cave, Earth’s Largest Cave, In 20 Awe-Inspiring Images

Published September 2, 2017
Updated September 28, 2018

Step inside the enormous, otherworldly tunnels of Vietnam's Son Doong Cave, the largest cave on Earth.

Son Doong Cave Photographs
Inside Son Doong Cave
Majestic View
Sand Dune
Inside Son Doong Cave, Earth’s Largest Cave, In 20 Awe-Inspiring Images
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Human eyes have only recently surveyed the inside of Earth’s largest cave. Not surprisingly, more people have stood at the very top of Mount Everest than inside this elusive wonder of the world.

Vietnam’s giant Son Doong Cave is only one of hundreds of limestone caves in Phong Nha Ke-Bang National Park. First formally explored in 2010, Son Doong Cave opened for limited public tours in just 2013.

Son Doong Cave has its own localized weather system and ecosystem, one that actually supports life within parts of its vast expanse. With sunlight beaming in from collapsed areas in the top of some chambers, the enchanting appeal of this record-breaking cave — it measures in at a colossal 3.1 miles long, 660 feet high, and 490 feet wide — is plain to see.

Despite its size, its entrance is not conspicuous at all. In fact, the hidden opening to Son Doong Cave was accidentally discovered in 1991 by a local man named Ho Khanh. He (wisely) didn’t venture alone into the entrance, an ominous looking drop off in the rock face. Khanh also wasn’t able to locate the cave’s secret jungle opening again for 18 years. But in 2009, he amazingly stumbled back across it and alerted the British Caving Research Association stationed in Phong Nha.

When the BCRA excitedly explored Son Doong Cave in 2010, what they found shook the world beyond belief: The main cavern alone was large enough to contain a whole New York City block. But that, however, was only the beginning.

The inside of many other caves and grottoes of Vietnam’s protected Phong Nha Ke-Bang Park remain unseen and undiscovered. Maybe the next largest cave in the world is still out there waiting.

See inside Son Doong Cave in the photos above.

Next after seeing Son Doong Cave, explore 21 more of the most beautiful caves around the world.

Erin Kelly
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Kelly, Erin. "Inside Son Doong Cave, Earth’s Largest Cave, In 20 Awe-Inspiring Images.", September 2, 2017, Accessed May 21, 2024.