Son Doong Cave – the world’s largest – and its neighbor, which are located in a UNESCO-recognized park in Vietnam, wowed millions of American viewers as the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) aired live a signature program featuring the two caves’ resplendence on Wednesday.
ABC broadcast the show accentuating the astounding magnificence of Son Doong and En (Swallow) Caves on “Good Morning America,” a much-loved program watched by an average of six million subscribers every day.
The caves are secluded in the core area of the UNESCO-recognized Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, located in the north-central province of Quang Binh.
En Cave is around two kilometers from Son Doong.
It was the first time that ABC had reported live from inside the grottos, its crew members told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters, who joined them while filming last week.
The high-profile show aired live at 6:00 am East Coast time on Wednesday, or 6:00 pm the same day in Vietnamese time.
Viewers in Vietnam or those elsewhere who could not watch the show live can still enjoy its re-broadcast on ABC’s website, at abc.go.com.
The two-hour show featured wondrous drone camera shots of the two grottos, as well as fairytale-like landscapes outside the caves.
Another of its highlights was the crew’s activities including cooking, erecting tents, enjoying meals and building camp fires inside the two caves.
The American Broadcasting Company's crew members are pictured during their early May 2015 filming trip in the UNESCO-recognized Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, located in the north-central Vietnamese province of Quang Binh. Photo: American Broadcasting Company
The program also incorporated gorgeous videos of the UNESCO-recognized Ha Long Bay in the northern province of Quang Ninh; the Son River, which snakes its way through Quang Binh; and other idyllic rural charms of the country.
“This feature, which is a wondrous work with breathtaking shots, will be our entry in a national contest later this year,” Maria Stefanopoulos, production manager at ABC News, Good Morning America, told Tuoi Tre reporters.
She is the creator of the show on the two gorgeous Vietnamese caves.
“We selected En Cave, as it is remarkably more imposing and spectacular than Marble Cathedral Cave in Chile, [which was on our list of venues for filming for the show],” Stefanopoulos told the Tuoi Tre reporters at the filming site.
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam appeared in a live interview in En Cave with Ginger Renee Colonomos, or Ginger Zee, one of the hosts of “Good Morning America” and “ABC World News Tonight.”
Ginger Zee hosted yesterday’s show on the Vietnamese caves.
“An American friend told me most Americans know Vietnam from the Vietnam War, but it’s a long-gone past. Today’s Vietnam is a gorgeous country with stunning landscapes, hospitable people and a dynamically thriving economy,” Deputy Prime Minister Dam said during the interview.
“Apart from Ha Long Bay and Son Doong Cave, Vietnam still has many more scenic spots and surprises in store for you all. Why not come to Vietnam to explore our scenic spots yourselves?” the official said.
“Let’s visit Vietnam and say ‘Good Morning Vietnam!’ or ‘Good Morning America from Vietnam!’ We welcome you all,” he stressed.
While ABC was broadcasting its show on Son Doong and En Caves live, Ginger Zee continually posted the photos that she and the crew took at the filming location on different social networks.
She called the trip a "once in a lifetime expedition,” which was also her most painstaking and perilous journey.
The show’s trailer, launched a few days before the air date, has drawn over 1,700 views.
Ginger Zee, the show's host, posted photos of the filming trip on one of her sites and called the trip a "once in a lifetime expedition."
Now in its 40th year, “Good Morning America” has been watched by generations of viewers who wake up to the show's award-winning combination of breaking news, hard-hitting interviews, exclusive investigations, and financial reporting, according to the broadcaster’s website.
Still images from the show's trailer
The “pearl” of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Son Doong Cave, which has a large, fast-flowing underground river inside, was found by a local resident named Ho Khanh in 1991.
It became public after a group of British scientists from the British Cave Research Association, led by Howard and Deb Limbert, conducted a survey in Phong Nha-Ke Bang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in April 2009.
According to the Limberts, Son Doong Cave is five times larger than Phong Nha Cave, previously considered the biggest cave in Vietnam.
The biggest chamber of Son Doong is more than five kilometers long, 200 meters high and 150 meters wide.
With such large dimensions, Son Doong overtook Deer Cave in Malaysia as the world's largest cave.
Hundreds of thrill seekers, mostly foreigners, are currently in line for an adventure expedition, which costs between US$3,000-6,000 each person, to the awe-inspiring cave.