explorers have recently discovered a new cave in Phong
Nha-Ke Bang National Park in central Quang Binh province,
which they classified as the world's most beautiful,
magnificent cave, park officials said on July 18.
The cave, found in the core zone of the park, which
was recognised as a world heritage site by UNESCO in
July 2003, has a width of nearly 200m and a ceiling
height of around 100m, with some places measuring even
higher. The cave's total length has not yet been determined.
Home to uncountable stalactites bearing mysterious and
magnificent beauty, the cave was named "Paradise"
by the British explorers and the park.
Howt Bert, a member of the British explorers group of
the Royal Court and also a renowned speleologist, said
no cave in the world could compare with "Paradise"
in terms of its beauty.
The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is located to the
north of the Truong Son mountain range. Home to abundant
limestone formations, it is considered an ideal site
for researchers and explorers of grottoes and caves.
The park covers 85,000 hectares, including the oldest
limestone mountain range in Asia. It has a system of
nearly 300 caves, including Phong Nha cave, and dozens
of unexplored mountain peaks of more than 1,000 metres,
such as Co Rilata (1,128m) and Co Preu (1,213m).
Vietnamese and British scientists have so far surveyed
more than 20 grottoes and caves, of which 17 are in
Phong Nha with the remaining three in Ke Bang.
The Phong Nha cave that lends its name to the entire
system is probably the most beautiful with many fascinating
rock formations carrying evocative names such as The
Lion, the Fairy Caves, the Royal Court and Buddha.
Phong Nha also boasts long underground rivers, large
caverns and passageways, wide pristine sand banks and
astonishing rock formations.
The park's tropical forest is home to 36 of the more
than 750 rare plant species and 89 animal species listed
by the Viet Nam Red Book as endangered or protected.
The area is also home to archaeological relics, such
as the ancient hieroglyphic script of the Cham, and
historical sites such as King Ham Nghi's base built
for the war against French colonialists, and the Xuan
Son ferry station, the Ho Chi Minh Trail and Road 20
used during the American war.