With the advance technology we are experiencing today and a lot of escalating discovery of our planet earth, there are fewer places that remain unknown. Several people are really interested in exploring the forests, mountains, the seas and ancient places because for them it’s a different kind of adventure. They won’t mind if it offers the most challenging experience, they consider it fun and enjoying. In the case of one massive cave in Vietnam that is considered lost and prehistoric. It’s been hidden for millions of years deep under the forest until one farmer by the name of Ho Khanh found an opening in Phon Nha-ke Bag National Park in Quang Binh province near the border between Laos and Vietnam back in 1991. He was exploring then, walking along a stretch of lush the forest.
According to Mr. Khanh, he’s been passing there many times but didn’t paying any particular attention to his surroundings when suddenly the jungle floor opened up beneath him when an unexpected blast of water emerged from one of the entrances.
It was only by chance that Mr. Khanh discovered an entrance which remains hidden from man for millions of years and turns out to be the largest cave in the world. It is said to be five times larger than the largest known cave at the time.
Since then, the cave became known as H**g Son Doong, which is a term that the Vietnamese use to denote a “Mountain River Cave”.
It reached 18 years after the farmer’s initial discovery that a new group of scientists elected to explore the cave. The locals then are afraid to go near it because of the dauntingly steep drop. It is also believe that there are strange roaring sounds from its depths maybe because of the raging river far below.
It was April of 2009 when the members of the British Cave Research, led by Howard and Deb Limbert, penetrate into the mysterious jungle to investigate the darkness below. By that time the man who originally discovered the cave could no longer remembered exactly where it was. They try to establish its position from what he could recall. And when they found it, it seems to be the beginning of a breathtaking journey that no human being had ever set foot in.
The cave passage was thought to be 150 meters long and 200 feet high. The cavers uses ropes and harnesses to rappel down the 260-foot vertical drop before they finally reach the bottom. There was an investigation which shows that the surroundings of the cave were largely formed of limestone. Upon reaching the bottom, the team did not get far before they came up against a 200 foot wall of muddy calcite, which they called “The Great Wall of Vietnam” , that prevented any further progress.
The upset team of cavers went back in 2010, where they could finally traverse the enormous wall and continue their journey. What they found were an alien world the likes of which none of the experienced cavers have ever seen.
The cave was far larger than anyone had ever imagined. The largest cavern stretched for over 5 km, was 650 feet wide and had walls that soared upwards over 200m, high enough to comfortably fit a modern day skyscrapers.
The biggest surprise to be found was a huge forest growing undisturbed deep in the heart of the cavern.
And as shown in these amazing images taken by photographer Carsten Peter, 52 years old, there is even a jungle concealed deep inside the cave. Carsten from Munich, Germany, took the images in 2010 when he joined British and German cavers during further expeditions of the site.
The purpose of the expedition was to make a complete exploration of H**g Son Doong and create a photographic record and documentation of the cave. Cartsen said he spent up to two weeks at a time deep inside the caves, where he slept with just a sleeping bag and spent his time exploring and photographing the secret underground world.
He said: “We discovered new parts of the cave, it’s a huge area so to find them and access them is very difficult. ‘ Photographing caves of this size is a challenge; it needs a lot of preparation. “
“But it’s a great feeling to photograph a newly discovered cave, for me I see the cave for the first time when I see the photographs. I love to explore, I have been in some great caves in my lifetime, and this is one of the most magnificent.”
“I’ve been a photographer and explorer for the last 35 years and I’ve visited so many caves, I’ve lost count. ‘ However, this is by far one of unique and unusual caves I have ever seen. To see a cave so large it has a forest inside is superb – it was overwhelming.”
Video Credit: Vietnam travel