Photos: Vietnam Cave project
One new cave, Hoa Huong, thought to be 5 million years old.
The British Cave Research Association (BCRA) has discovered 57 new caves in 14 areas in Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park in central Quang Binh province.
The total length of the cave systems is 20.127 km and most are untouched by humankind.
Tien 2 Cave stretches 2.519 km, Bom Cave 1.5 km, Dinh 1 Cave 1.43 km, Ruc Ma Rinh 2 Cave 1.36 km and Cay Sanh Cave 850 meters.
Tien 2 Cave
Tien 2 Cave
Hoa Huong Cave, named after a local couple who helped BCRA discover it, is 2.876 km in length and about 5 million years old, making it the oldest among Quang Binh’s many caves. Before now the oldest discovered cave was about 2-3 million years old.
Hoa Huong Cave
Hoa Huong Cave
Local sinkholes also impressed the BCRA, including Leo Moc Cave (133 meters in depth), Bang Cave (121 meters), Hoa Huong Cave (121 meters), Vuc Chuot Cave (111 meters), Lui Cave (96 meters), and Noi Dong Cave (93 meters).
Sinkholes in the caves
“The caves discovered by the BCRA are unique and beautiful, with thorough research needed to determine which caves are suitable for tourism and which require conservation and scientific research,” said Mr. Nguyen Chau A, Founder and Director of OneStep Viet, one of the leading providers of corporate social responsibility programs in Southeast Asia, including for Oxalis, which conducts tours to most of Quang Binh’s caves.
Quang Binh province is fortunate to be endowed with such majestic limestone mountains and magnificent cave systems, according to Mr. Chau A. “It has huge potential to develop many types of tourism in the area,” he told VET.
Using its experience in conducting such tours as Son Doong Cave - Va Cave - En Cave, around Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, and the Tu Lan Cave systems, which is 70 km from Phong Nha - Ke Bang, Oxalis is studying the possibility of opening tours to Tien 1 and Tien 2 Caves, linked with tours to Tu Lan Cave.
Adventure tours and cave tours have attracted huge numbers of international tourism and Quang Binh province is planning to become a “Kingdom of Adventure Tourism” in Asia in the near future, Mr. Chau A said. “Serious conservation and professional services are key factors in success,” he added.
Not all tourists to Quang Binh province are keen on just cave tours and seek other activities such as kayaking, cycling, sightseeing, or taking farming trips.
In 2015 Quang Binh province welcomed almost 3 million tourists, of which nearly 100,000 were foreigners. This year the province targets welcoming 3.3 million tourist arrivals, including over 100,000 foreigners.
To attract more tourists, many accommodation providers have agreed with the province’s suggestion and cut their prices by 20 to 40 per cent and some restaurants have done likewise, by 10 to 20 per cent.
Quang Binh province will host many programs in July, such as an International Beer Festival, an International Swimming Race, and a culinary festival.