Vietnam's well-kept secret: Southeast Asia’s largest volcanic caves

By Huynh Huong    March 26, 2019 | 10:34 am PT
The Central Highlands province of Dak Nong is seeking to make its volcanic caves a UNESCO global geopark.
Vietnams well-kept secret: Southeast Asia’s largest volcanic caves

The Krong No volcanic cave system in Dak Nong has been studied by scientists since 2007. The Vietnam Geological Museum and Japan Volcanic Cave Association said it is the largest such system in Southeast Asia.

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Cave C7, a 1,066.5-meter-long tube cave, is the longest and largest volcanic lava cave in Southeast Asia. C3 and A1 are the second (594.4 m) and fifth (456.7 m) longest in Southeast Asia.

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In September 2018 scientists published traces of prehistoric humans found in the volcanic cave system. Earlier scientists had only found such traces in volcanic caves in South Korea. Thus, it was an important scientific finding.

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The caves here are not officially open to tourism yet. Visitors who want to explore the caves must ask locals to lead them.

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Without locals to show the way inside, it is easy to get lost because the cave system here is large and the roads into the cave are difficult to follow, a tourist said.

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Most of the caves here are tubular, and some intersect with each other. Inside the cave only ferns grow, but outside the vegetation is quite diverse. Many caves require people to descend through its mouth instead of walking in, so they must use ropes to get down.

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The volcanic cave system in Dak Nong is still quite untouched with only researchers and a few others visiting it. Dak Nong has applied to UNESCO to recognize the system as a global geopark.

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Provincial authorities said designation as a global geopark would help conserve the cultural and geological heritages and protect the landscape. The authorities also hope to develop a model of community tourism in which people are active in preserving natural values.

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Besides the volcanic cave system, the Krong No area also has many other famous tourist attractions such as the Dray Sap, Trinh Nu and Gia Long waterfalls and Ban Don eco-tourism area.

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