The Quang Binh People’s Committee announced on Wednesday that the north-central province has approved the construction of a cable car system to Son Doong Cave- the world’s current largest- in UNESCO-recognized Phong Nha- Ke Bang National Park.
According to Truong An Ninh, spokesperson of the provincial People’s Committee, the province has permitted Sun Group - a local developer of tourism properties - to conduct surveys for the construction of a cable car system to Son Doong.
The 10.6km long cable car system, which will cost roughly US$211.8 million, will have four sections and begin at the entrance to Tien Son Grotto. The first section will run to Tra Ang Bridge on the west leg of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, while the second will span from Tra Ang Bridge to the rear entrance to Son Doong Grotto.
The third will run from the rear entrance of Son Doong Grotto to the mouth of the grotto’s second pit.
The last section will extend from the mouth to the floor of Son Doong Grotto’s second pit. According to an exclusive Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper source, the project is part of Sun Group’s Tourism, Service and Resort Complex in Phong Nha- Ke Bang park.
The company has submitted preliminary reports on its cable car system surveys to the provincial People’s Committee.
In June, provincial authorities rebutted rumors that it had allowed Sun Group to build a cable car system and a pagoda in and around Son Doong cave amid public and expert concerns over the possible damage to the UNESCO World Heritage site surrounding it.
Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003.
The Son Doong Grotto was discovered in 1991 by Ho Khanh, a local, but only became well-known after a group of scientists from the British Cave Research Association, led by Howard and Deb Limbert, explored it in 2009.
According to the Limberts, this cave is five times larger than Phong Nha cave, previously considered the biggest in Vietnam.
The largest chamber of Son Doong is more than five kilometers long, 200 meters high, and 150 meters wide.