February 28, 2021 19:34 | About us
Language: Tiếng Việt | ພາ​ສາ​ລາວ | ខ្មែរ | русский | 中文

Son Doong & Ban Gioc makes debut in Asia's most outstanding natural wonders top

February 09, 2021 | 12:39

Vietnam's Son Doong cave and Ban Gioc waterfall recently appear in the National Geographic Bucket List of 7 Stunning Natural Wonders in Asia.

son doong continues to be honored the worlds most majestic cave by insider Son Doong continues to be honored the world’s most majestic cave by Insider
exclusive tours to son doong cave reopened in vietnam Exclusive tours to Son Doong Cave reopened in Vietnam
12 new incredible caves discovered in quang binh 12 new incredible caves discovered in Quang Binh
2630 capture
Photo: Bao Giao Thong

Son Doong Cave, Vietnam

Located within Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Hang Son Doong is one of the world’s largest, with its main cavern big enough to house a Boeing 747 plane. A wide, fast river that tunneled through the Earth over time formed Hang Son Doong, whose name translates from Vietnamese to “mountain river cave.” Ho Khanh, who took refuge within it during a storm, discovered Son Doong in 1991. Lost again until 2009, the cave is now open to tourism. Proposed developments, including a cable car, have raised concerns with environmentalists. For now, only Oxalis Tours is licensed to guide tourists through Hang Son Doong.

The British Cave Research Association (BCRA) has ranked Son Doong as one of "The world largest cave", while U.S. news site Insider has named Son Doong among “20 record-breaking natural wonders.”

Getting There: Oxalis offers multiday expeditions for $3,000 (U.S.). An alternative for those in the area is Thien Duong Cave (Paradise Cave) in the same national park. Buses run to Phong Na from Dong Hoi and from Hanoi.

2631 capture1
Photo: Bao Giao Thong

Ban Gioc Waterfall, Vietnam

Much like Niagara Falls, straddling the United States and Canada, Ban Gioc-Detian Falls sits on a border in Asia: that between Vietnam and China. Surrounded by karst rocks and green forest, the twin waterfalls tumble down in tiers to the Quay Son River below.

While the waters’ vertical drop is slight, the width of the cascades makes for an impressive sight. Swimming is prohibited, but you can take small bamboo rafts to the very edge of the falls. During the hot rainy season from May to September, the Quay Son swells, widening the water flow considerably.

2632 capture2
Photo: Bao Giao Thong

Gokyo Lake, Nepal

A stunning alternative to the popular Everest Base Camp trek is summiting Gokyo Ri (17,576 feet) via the turquoise waters of the Gokyo Lakes. Fed by enormous Ngozumpa Glacier, the six lakes fan out over more than six miles of land and make up the highest freshwater lake system in the world.

The summit of Gokyo Ri affords vistas of towering Himalayan giants such as Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, and Gyachung Kang, weather permitting. Stellar Everest views are part of what makes this trek appealing—a view that comes without taxing the limited infrastructure at Everest Base Camp itself.

Getting There: Book a Gokyo Lakes trek with a tour company in Kathmandu, via a short flight to Lukla.

2635 capture3
Photo: Bao Giao Thong

Chocolate Hills, Philippines

In the rainy season these conical hills are more green than chocolate, but once the rains stop the Chocolate Hills turn brown. Consisting of about 1,776 mounds jutting up from the island of Bohol, the hills are a national geological monument of the Philippines.

Geologists theorize that karst rocks eroded in unison and formed the hills, leaving behind a landscape now covered in flora. Several local legends offer more colorful explanations. Among them: Two giants went to battle, hurling stones and sand back and forth until they were too tired to fight. Left in their wake? The perfectly formed Chocolate Hills.

2637 capture4
Photo: Bao Giao Thong

Mount Kelimutu, Indonesia

While remote, Mount Kelimutu’s lunar landscape and shimmering waters make it a worthwhile trek. Located on the island of Flores, Kelimutu’s claim to fame is its three summit crater lakes, each with a different-hued pool.

Geologists have studied the crater overtime for its chameleon-like properties. Each lake has shifted from one color to another over the years as it comes into contact with mineral-rich underwater fumaroles. The surprise element of a Kelimutu visit is that you rarely know what colors will greet you when you summit the volcano.

Getting There: Mount Kelimutu is located on Flores; Ende is the closest city. A flight from western Flores (Labuhanbajo) to Ende is the easiest option. Bus travelers can get closer to the mountain by taking a bus to the smaller town of Moni.

2638 capture5
Photo: Bao Giao Thong

Zhangye Danxia Landform, China

The term “Danxia landform” describes not only the mountains of the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park near Zhangye, China but also several other areas in China. Each was created over millions of years when the movement of tectonic plates and the weathering of sandstone created these magnificent vistas.

The striation within the Danxia rocks results from the crumpling of limestone as the rocks compressed together over time. In 2010, UNESCO recognized six landforms as the China Danxia. The Zhangye Danxia landform is the biggest, covering more than 3,200 square feet. Several viewing platforms offer scenic glimpses of the surrounding rainbow rocks.

Getting There: Zhangye, in China’s Gansu Province, is the nearest city. A taxi can be arranged from Zhangye to the park. Day tours are also possible via Zhangye.

2639 capture6
Photo: Bao Giao Thong

Jigoku Valley, Japan

Located on the island of Hokkaido, Jigoku Valley is part of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park near the town of Noboribetsu. The region is famous for its healing onsen thermal hot springs, experienced via spas at the city’s hotels or outdoor mineral pools.

A more sulfurous option is Hell Valley, the 24-acre geothermal crater left in the wake of Mount Kuttara’s eruption thousands of years ago. The city has set up boardwalks around the valley, allowing people to meander through the many steam caves and geysers. Don’t miss the Oyunuma Brook natural footbath, a healing spring within the park.

Getting There: Trains service the Noboribetsu station in town, a quick bus ride away from the hot springs area.

the beauty of son doong in rainy season The beauty of Son Doong in rainy season

Travel blogger Ma Coc Tu recorded the beauty of Son Doong cave after the flood season, during his first expedition trip to Son Doong in ...

five expensive travel experiences in vietnam Five expensive travel experiences in Vietnam

Vietnam, with breath-taking natural beauty and friendly people, always captivates many tourists. Besides budget tourism experiences, Vietnam offers travelers with following costly ones.

top vietnamese destinations praised by international media Top Vietnamese destinations praised by international media

As a top safe country post-COVID-19, a series of locations in Vietnam such as Cat Cat village, Ha Long Bay, Ha Giang, Ninh Binh has ...

Valerie Mai