Back in 1991, a Vietnamese farmer stumbled across the mouth of a previously unexplored cave in Phon Nha-Ke Bang National Park. Frightened, however, by the sound of the roaring waters inside, he decided to leave it unexplored. Locals named the cave Son Doong, but left it alone.
Fast forward to 2009, when a group of British scientists, led by Howard Limbert, located the cave again and decided to explore its mysteries. What they found was a self-contained world of its own, complete with its own microclimate. At over three miles long and nearly 500 feet wide, it's the largest cave on the planet.
The cave has its own unique flora and fauna, various lakes and natural formations, and even its own system of clouds.
Getting into the cave requires descending roughly 260 feet using a rope.
There's a river with a relatively fast current cutting through the cave.
It's even got its own emerald lakes and beaches...
... As well as the usual cave stuff like fossils and stalactites.
The cave features some truly record-breaking stalagmites - nearly 230 feet tall!
The thick, surrounding jungle has also led to a variety of animals calling the cave home.
Due to differences between surface temperatures, the cave even forms its own clouds.
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