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"Most beautiful" cave discovered in Phong Nha-Ke Bang

VNECONOMY updated: 20/07/2005

British 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.

Source: Vietnam Agency

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