Demand skyrockets as only 500 people permitted to visit world’s largest cave in Vietnam

A ray of sunlight splashes into a cavern in the Son Doong caves. Pic: Ryan Deboodt/National Geographic

SON DOONG – the world’s largest cave spanning 200 meters high, 150 meters wide, and five kilometers long – has been the talk of adventure seekers from the world over.

The cave has its own fast-flowing subterranean river, jungle and climate, all of which give way to incredible sights.

To preserve the natural formations of the cave, tours are limited and authorized only by a single operator, Oxalis Adventure Tours.

However, bookings are open for 2017 tours, and limited to 500 people for the entire year. The five-day trips must only be booked through Oxalis, and each your group has a maximum cap of 10.

Each tour trek will also require a team of 25 porters and cooks, a guide, two cave experts, and two park rangers.

However, only those who are very fit are let in, as the trip involves a trek of 50 kilometers in a jungle or mountain, elevation of up to 400 meters between roads and valleys, 40 river crossings, 10-kilometer caving including rope climbing, as well as an 80-meter descent with ropes and harnesses.

The cost of the tour is US$3,000 per person, and the travel period is between January to August. Oxalis often sells out their limited tours well before they start; this year’s tours were sold out by August 2015.

San Doong is still largely undiscovered because of its limited tours, but those who have conquered the cave have had nothing but superlatives to describe their experiences.

The first person who trekked the cave was the crown prince of Abu Dhabi Emirate, a man who has had his share of adventurous treks to his name. Upon finishing the trek, the prince said that he had truly “reached the limits of nature” and that it was the most meaningful of all his world tours.

Other past visitors have emerged from the cave with stunning snapshots that capture the cave’s eerie green glow, the mystery of the sun rays that shine upon the cave formations, the alien-like stalactites and stalagmites, and a damp, dark chamber that open up to two million years’ worth of rock formations.

SEE ALSO: The world’s largest cave in Vietnam is an incredible feat of nature