New Caves Discovered in Phong Nha-Ke Bang and Its Vicinity in 2024

Every year, the British-Vietnam Caving Expedition Team embarks on a journey to the wilderness of Quang Binh, Vietnam, venturing deep into the underground world to explore the unknown. In 2024, the team set out on 3 different expeditions, two of which were to different areas in Quang Binh and one to Laos.

On April 14, at the conclusion of the exploration process, the British-Vietnam Caving Expedition Team returned with the full picture of the expedition, bringing home exciting findings sought by many. Several new caves were found in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and its vicinity, on top of over 404 known caves, truly making Quang Binh, Vietnam, a “Kingdom of Caves,” as hailed by cave enthusiasts far and wide.

This remarkable achievement is the result of unwavering exploration efforts by the British-Vietnam Caving Expedition Team, whose journey was strongly supported by Oxalis Adventure.

Find out more about this breakthrough expedition, the whereabouts of these caves, how they were discovered, and the significance of these underground wonders.

Where Are These Newfound Caves?

According to the British-Vietnam Caving Expedition Team and Oxalis’ members, the newly discovered caves are scattered across the vast and breathtaking landscapes of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and its neighboring areas in Quang Binh Province.

Within the core zone of Phong Nha-Ke Bang, situated in Thuong Trach, Bo Trach, 7 caves were unearthed, boasting a combined length of 1,377 meters.

Venturing further afield, the team uncovered 10 more caves in Lam Hoa, Tuyen Hoa, approximately 90 kilometers from Phong Nha-Ke Bang. These caves, spanning a total length of 1,294 meters, add to the region’s diverse subterranean wonders.

New caves were discovered in the core zone of Phong Nha-Ke Bang and in Bo Trach, Minh Hoa, and Tuyen Hoa districts. Source: Internet.

The distribution of these caves showcases the vast potential for exploration within Quang Binh’s expansive network of karst formations.

Apart from the new caves discovered in Quang Binh, Vietnam, 7 others were found in Laos on an earlier expedition from February 18 to 29.

How Were the Caves Discovered?

The details of the 3 expeditions conducted by the British-Vietnam Caving Expedition Team and Oxalis in 2024 are as follows:

The expedition members were split into 3 groups focusing 3 different areas:

  • Expedition in Thuong Trach, Bo Trach, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam.
  • Expedition in Lam Hoa, Tuyen Hoa, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam.
  • Expedition in Hin Nam No National Park, Khammouane Province, Laos.

Expedition in Thuong Trach, Bo Trach

This expedition centers on Thuong Trach Commune in Bo Trach District. From March 4 to 11, the team, comprising 6 cave experts—Tibor Dianovszki, Jackson Alan Ross, Lawson Rebecca, Spillane Adam Dominic, Caisley Elizabeth Frances, and Pham Hong Dai—embarked on their expedition into the core zone of Phong Nha-Ke Bang.

The team was accompanied by a National Park Ranger, a dedicated chef, and a team of 10 porters, ensuring the expedition was conducted safely.

The caving team members who went on the expedition to Thuong Trach, Bo Trach.

Their itinerary unfolded over 9 eventful days, each with challenges and discoveries. Commencing their journey from Phong Nha town, the team trekked to km44, collaborating with local authorities before trekking to the first campsite.

Subsequent days saw them traversing rugged terrain, navigating rivers, and delving into the depths of newfound caves.

The team traversed rugged terrain, navigating rivers and delving into the depths of newfound caves.

Their exploration led them to Hang Dat Cave and Ba Cop Cave, revealing intriguing geological formations and unique characteristics. Going deeper, the team conquered the formidable Doi Trieng Cave, descending over 150 meters into its depths, facing challenges that demanded precise equipment and technical expertise. Undeterred by setbacks, the team continued their quest, searching the landscape for discoveries, ultimately unveiling the majestic Vuc Hung Cave and the enchanting Trieng Cop Doi Cave.

Hang Dat Cave reveals intriguing geological formations.

The journey concluded as the team returned to civilization, trekking from En Valley to Phong Nha town.

The dimensions of the caves found in Thuong Trach, Bo Trach:

Cave

Location

lenght (m)

Depth (m)

Vuc Hung

Thuong Trach

430

83

Trieng Cop Doi

Thuong Trach

350

N/A

Doi Trieng

Thuong Trach

236

154

Ba Cop

Thuong Trach

150

15

Dat Cave

Thuong Trach

111

26

Da Sut

Thuong Trach

70

33

Con Roang

Thuong Trach

30

45

Expedition in Lam Hoa, Tuyen Hoa

From March 12 to 15, Tibor Dianovszki, Jackson Alan Ross, Lawson Rebecca, Caisley Elizabeth Frances, Palmer John Derek, and Pham Duc Dung (four of whom from the previous expedition), accompanied by 2 porters and a local guide, conducted another journey in Lam Hoa Commune, Tuyen Hoa District, and Trung Hoa Commune, Minh Hoa District.

Unlike previous explorations, this expedition focused on mostly dry caves with narrow passages and hidden entrances obscured by dense foliage. The team faced challenges navigating through tight cave branches, some blocked by underground rivers. Without diving equipment, they could only swim through accessible wet branches. Trudging through narrow passages proved arduous, hindering equipment transport.

In Trung Hoa, the team identified a potential water cave near Ruc Mon Cave, which was, however, obscured by vegetation, preventing further investigation.

Despite obstacles, this expedition shed light on previously unknown cave systems, revealing the complexities of underground landscapes in the region.

The dimensions of the caves found in Lam Hoa, Tuyen Hoa:

Cave

Location

Length (m)

Depth (m)

Ong Dau

Lam Hoa

572

10

Goat Valley Downstream

Lam Hoa

176

7

Gravel Cave

Lam Hoa

130

12

Cay Buoi Cave

Lam Hoa

126

8

Chin Cave

Lam Hoa

K10 Concrete Army

Lam Hoa

122

10

Chuoi Cave

Lam Hoa

90

10

Graffiti Cave

Lam Hoa

68

30

Goat Valley Next To Downstream 

Lam Hoa

10

3

Goat Valley Upstream

Lam Hoa

N/A

N/A

The dimensions of the caves found in Laos:

Cave

Location

Length (m)

Depth (m)

Dong Khe Vang

Lang Uy

2090

174

Dong Khe Xoong

Lang Uy

1411

162

Wind Cave

West of Nong Ma

568

24

Dark Cave

North of Nong Ma

308

9

Tham Pa Lang 1-Hang Dan

North of Nong Ma

1124

14

Tham Pa Lang 2

North of Nong Ma

553

12

Tham Pa Lang 3

Northeast of Nong Ma 

154

86

What is the Significance of This Discovery?

Although research, accessibility, location identification, and a preliminary description of these new caves have been among the primary goals up to this point, there are many potential implications. The caves’ identification, which adds to the cave map in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, could be the discovery’s most tremendous significance.

The discovery holds promise for biodiversity conservation. These underground ecosystems could harbor unique species, some of which may be endemic or yet to be discovered, contributing to our understanding of regional biodiversity.

Furthermore, the newfound caves in Phong Nha-Ke Bang and its surrounding areas offer opportunities for conservation initiatives, as their protection becomes paramount to safeguarding fragile subterranean ecosystems and their inhabitants.

The newfound caves offer opportunities for conservation initiatives.

Lastly, the expedition could serve as an evaluation of the potential of promoting tourism within these newly discovered caves. If this potential materializes, not only will tourism in this region grow even more, but understanding of the value of cave conservation will rise as well.

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