Before reaching Hanoi, I spent two days exploring Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park which solidified my thoughts on believing that Vietnam is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been to.  The National Park is one of the worlds largest limestone regions traced to being over 400 million years old, making it the oldest in Asia.  When visiting caves one isn’t given all the stats and facts, you’re given a life vest and told to not bring your camera because you may get it wet.  I had to turn to Wikipedia to realize the significance and uniqueness of where I went, so here goes: 

Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng is home to the largest cave in the world and covers 300 different grottoes and caves.  Before Sơn Đoòng Cave was found, Phong Nha Cave was regarded by British Caving Association as the top cave in the world due to its top four records: the longest underground river, the highest and longest cave, broadest and most beautiful fine sand beaches inside the caves, and the most spectacular stalagmites and stalactites. In the survey conducted in April 2009, the British cave explorers discovered 20 new caves with total length of 56 km, including world’s largest cave Son Doong. According to the assessment of UNESCO, “The karst formation of Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park has evolved since the Palaeozoic (some 400 million years ago) and so is the oldest major karst area in Asia” and “Phong Nha displays an impressive amount of evidence of earth’s history. It is a site of very great importance for increasing our understanding of the geologic, geomorphic and geo-chronological history of the region.

Now that a google search agrees with Vietnam and these caves being amazing, here are some photos of two different caves I visited.  One called Paradise cave which had an extensive footpath and lighting set up and another where we used our tour guide’s waterproof GoPro.  Paradise cave was a nice walk.  The real icing on the cake was the second cave although I cannot recall the name of this second cave but it cost $15 to rent kayaks to go into the cave.  Then we went crawling in waist deep mud!  One of the most ridiculous, hilarious and once in a lifetime experiences I have ever had.

Outside the Park with the Group

 

Me in Paradise Cave

 

So many beautiful steps to take to get further into Paradise cave

Group shot before we got into our Kayaks

 

Group shot outside the Muddy cave, still clean

Rinsing off the Mud and kayaking back

Kayaking Back, look at this water!