|The shimmering and magical stalactites in Sơn Nữ Cave stun explorers.|
A newly discovered cave with magical stalactites in the central province of Quảng Bình, Sơn Nữ Cave, has attracted the attention of tourists, and shows vast potential for local tourism development.
However, the provincial and district authorities have warned that unorganised climbing and direct contact with the stalactites will affect their development by causing abrasion of their surface, and impacting the cave's natural beauty.
The warning was issued after a series of photos and videos of the cave were widely shared on the media, the internet and social networks. In the photos and videos, a group of people climbed and stood among the stalactites to take pictures, risking damaging the natural formations in the cave.
|Quảng Bình's local authorities warn that climbing, stepping on or directly contacting stalactites will affect the natural beauty of Sơn Nữ Cave. — Photo vov.vn|
According to Phạm Trung Đông, chairman of the People's Committee of Quảng Ninh District, the locality will inspect and take relevant measures against any violations, to boost management and conservation.
The district has also banned activities that affect the stalactites in the cave, to preserve it for tourism and ensure its pristine natural beauty.
All these actions were made following a request from the People's Committee of Quảng Bình Province to preside over and coordinate with relevant departments and branches to control and prevent the cave from human impact.
"So far, the cave has not yet been opened for tourism. The district has asked the commune to collect all information about the cave and remind people not to do anything that might be detrimental to the nature landscape in the future. Since a group of people discovered this cave, no others have entered it," said Đông.
Located near such ecotourism destinations as Chà Rào and Chà Cùng streams and belonging to Đìu Đo Village in Quảng Ninh District's Trường Sơn Commune, the cave is approximately 1.8km long, with a width ranging from 20m to 50m, and an average height of about 35m.
To reach Sơn Nữ Cave in the middle of the Trường Sơn mountain range, explorers face challenges on the way, including wading streams, and climbing over slippery rocks and "rocky spikes" formed millions of years ago.
"The discovery of Sơn Nữ Cave with its wild beauty in the middle of Trường Sơn mountain range shows that nature is quite favourable for the area and opens up opportunities to help the local residents, mostly of Bru-Vân Kiều ethnic minorities, develop the economy through tourism in the future," Trần Quốc Tuấn, secretary of the Quảng Ninh District Party Committee, said.
"Currently, the locals are mobilised to join hands to protect the pristine beauty of the cave, and it is hoped that there will be more surveys and assessments on potentials to call for investments in tourism in the area," he said.
|A beautiful lake inside Sơn Nữ Cave might be formed over millions of years ago. —Photo toquoc.vn|
"Local residents in Trường Sơn Commune were behind the discovery, and called the area Sơn Nữ (Mountain Girl) Cave," Hoàng Trọng Đức, chairman of the Trường Sơn Commune People's Committee, said.
It features an underground stream originating from the Việt Nam-Laos border. In summer, the water level inside the cave is not significant, allowing residents to paddle through. To reach the cave's entrance to exit, one needs to embark on a nearly 2km journey along a meandering stream.
According to Đức, the commune authorities and agencies have conducted an on-site survey to assess the overall cave structure, aiming to develop adventure tourism in the area in the near future.
Quảng Bình is often dubbed the "Kingdom of Caves" in Việt Nam. It is also the home of Sơn Đoòng Cave, accredited as the world’s largest and most beautiful natural cave by the World Records Union and the World Records Association.
|The boat journey from its entrance to exit takes a little over an hour. To reach the cave's entrance, one needs to embark on a nearly 2km journey along a meandering stream. — Photo toquoc.vn|
Earlier, in April this year, the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park’s Management Board announced 22 new caves with unique features had been discovered in Quảng Bình by the British Cave Research Association (BCRA).
The caves have a total length of 11.7km. Of the newly discovered, 20 were found in Lâm Hóa Commune of Tuyên Hóa District, as well as in Hóa Phúc and Hóa Sơn communes of Hóa Sơn District, while the rest are inside Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park.
The search for the new caves involved explorers from the UK, Australia and New Zealand who had worked for three weeks with the support of tour guides and a number of locals.
To exploit the caves for tourism and exploration activities, the BCRA recommended Quảng Bình to conduct further research to evaluate their geomorphology and their safety.
Among a total of 500 caves having been discovered in Quảng Bình, over 40 have been opened to tourists. Sơn Đoòng is the world's largest cave, while Én and Pigmy come in at second and fourth. VNS