The hand of dog stalagmite in Hang Son Doong Cave

The Hand of Dog is a giant stalagmite structure (the mushroom-like stalagmite) located between the areas that are known as Hope & Vision and Doline 1, about 2km from the entrance of Son Doong Cave and about 1 km from Doline 1 in Son Doong Cave. The reason for its incredible size - about 60m high - is because it was formed in an area of the cave where the roof is nearly 100m high and water droplets carrying calcium mineral (calcium carbonate) have flowed down at this point for hundreds of thousands of years. Before the Hand Of Dog formation is another huge stalagmite and the tallest stalagmite in the world at 80m. At a special viewpoint it is possible to see both huge stalagmites and take wonderful pictures.

Hand of Dog stalagmite in Hang Son Doong Cave.

The origin of Hand Of Dog

In the exploration to Son Doong Cave in 2009, members of the expedition were divided into groups of 2 people to conduct survey and measurement with laser light. Two experts Helen Brooke and Trevor Wailes were assigned to analyse the expansion of the cave and draw a map of this area. Because the cave passage was too large, experts had to segment and name each corridor for easy identification.

The highest stalagmite in Son Doong Cave is up to 80m.

While Helen Brooke with laser equipment was responsible for going ahead and measuring the parameters of the cave, Trevor Wailes recorded measurements and described surrounding areas to draw a map.

As she approached the area, Helen saw a rock jutting out like a child's hand, as in a television series she had just seen when she was a child. The shadow of the stone got clearer from the beams of light from the Sinkhole 1 that was more than 1km away. Helen decided to name this stalagmite the Hand of God. However, the distance between the 2 experts was quite far. Trevor misheard what Helen said, so he wrote Hand of Dog into the map instead. After the name Hand of Dog in Son Doong was recorded on the map, no one can change that name anymore.

This is an iconic stalagmite (not Hand of Dog stalactite) of Son Doong cave. Before approaching Hope & Vision, when looking towards Doline 1, visitors can see the silhouette of this iconic stalagmite looming up, with the light from the Doline behind, and the mist creating a majestic viewpoint in the largest cave in the world.

The silhouette of Hand of Dog stalagmite at Doline 1.

Camping in the clouds

The Hope & Vision passage in Son Doong Cave leads to the first campsite inside Son Doong. As you approach the base of the Hand of Dog stalagmite in Hang Son Doong Cave, you will see the first campsite, also known as ‘The Level Playing Fields’ nestled below the giant cave wall. From the campsite, we can see Doline 1, often hidden behind a layer of mist. The sound of the underground river can be heard but not seen from the campsite.

Clouds above the campsite near Hand of Dog stalagmite.

From the top of the chamber right next to the Hand of Dog you may see a layer of mist lying just below the campsite. Along with the sunlight coming in from outside the Doline, it makes people feel like the camp is on cloud nine.

This is a campsite that can pique your interest, from the steamy air, the sound of rushing water in the distance to the cooling temperature and a mystery layer of mist that comes and goes without any warning. You can feel the full spectrum of 4 seasons in just one night.

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