Sơn Đoòng Cave featured on 17 countries’ Google homepage

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The Sơn Đoòng Cave doodle on Google recreates the scene of a giant sinkhole, with sunlight illuminating the beautiful natural shade of the cave. — Photo courtesy of Google

HÀ NỘI — On April 14, 2009, Sơn Đoòng Cave was officially recognised as the world’s largest natural cave by the British Cave Research Association (BCRA) expedition team.

After a careful survey, the team completed the entire cave and determined it had a length of 9 kilometres and a volume of 38.5 million cubic metres.

Now, 13 years after that historic expedition, Google has decided to celebrate the occasion by featuring a doodle of Sơn Đoòng Cave on their homepage for 17 different countries and territories, including Việt Nam, on Thursday (April 14, 2022).

Thanks to Google, the cave has been seen in the UK, Singapore, Thailand, Mexico, Sweden, Greece, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, the Virgin Islands, Moldova, and Romania.

The celebration is part of a project that aims to attract international tourists and support Việt Nam’s tourism recovery after the pandemic implemented by the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism and the Quảng Bình Provincial Department of Tourism with Oxalis Adventure – the official Sơn Đoòng tour operator.

According to Nguyễn Lê Phúc, deputy director-general of the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism, the event plays a vital role in recovering the Việt Nam’s tourism industry after the country was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is the pride of Quảng Bình and Việt Nam’s tourism,” Phúc said.

“As the world’s largest cave, surely the grandeur, unique terrain and beautiful scenery of Sơn Đoòng will give visitors an impressive and overwhelming experience.

“Việt Nam has officially reopened to international tourism with very favourable medical entry requirements, as we have restored the visa and immigration policy as before the pandemic.

“All are ready! We welcome travellers from all over the world to come and experience our country.”

Officially surveyed on April 14, 2009, Sơn Đoòng Cave is certified by Guinness World Records as the largest cave in the world. Photo courtesy of Oxalis Adventure

Originally discovered in 1991 by a Vietnamese man called Hồ Khanh, Sơn Đoòng Cave is located in the Phong Nha–Kẻ Bàng National Park, Quảng Bình, and was recognised as a world natural heritage by UNESCO.

According to Oxalis Adventure, with over 9km with sections reaching up to 200m tall and 150m wide, the cave has enough space for an entire New York city block complete with 40-story skyscrapers.

“Sơn Đoòng Cave is so large that it even encompasses its own river and weather system inside. Two giant dolines allow sunlight to penetrate into them forming the lush tropical jungle and a unique ecosystem and some large stalagmites are more than 70m high, and many other secrets yet to be discovered,” Oxalis Adventure wrote on their website.

Before Sơn Đoòng Cave, Hội An, Khuê Văn Các of the Temple of Literature and the terrace fields in north-western Việt Nam also appeared on Google Doodle.

According to Wikipedia, a Google Doodle is a special, temporary alteration of the logo on Google’s homepages intended to commemorate holidays, events, achievements, and notable figures of particular countries.

Visitors who are interested in Sơn Đoòng Cave but have not yet had the opportunity to visit can explore the place through Wonders of Vietnam — an online exhibition on Google Arts & Culture launched at the beginning of 2021. — VNS

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