Toi (Dark) Cave in the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, which is now partly open to tourists, will be fully opened next month since experts have finished exploring its nearly 5.3-kilometer length, news website VnExpress reported Tuesday.
Le Thanh Loi, director of the park’s tourism center, was quoted as saying that explorers found ancient limestone, stalactites and fossils possibly millions of years old.
The cave is as high as 80 meters with various terrains suitable for trekking, swimming and even climbing, according to Nguyen Van Tho, a member of the exploration team.
First discovered in 1990, Toi Cave had about 400 meters from its entrance opened to tourists nearly four years ago. It is currently part of a route connected with the Chay River and can be reached by a 400-meter zip-line from a wildlife observation deck.
In a service area nearby, tourists can explore with lights, swim in a pond where the water temperature is less than 20 degrees Celsius or take a mud bath.
Phong Nha-Ke Bang won UNESCO heritage recognition in 2003 thanks to its 300 different caves and grottos with unique limestone structures and the oldest karst formation in Asia, dating back some 400 million years.
But only some of the caves are accessible to the public, like the world’s largest cave Son Doong and Paradise, described as the world’s most beautiful cave and Asia’s longest dry cave by a British Cave Research Association team that explored it.
Official figures from the tourism center showed that more than 15,000 tourists visited the park during the Vietnamese New Year (Tet) holidays from February 19 to 23, up more than 10 percent from last year.
The center hopes to attract 490,000 visitors, including over 50,000 foreigners, to the park this year.