Often described as dark and frightening in storybooks, caves can be some of the most splendid natural sights to behold. Here are those that have proven to be riveting in their natural wonder.
Son Doong Cave, Vietnam
One of the biggest known caves in the world; it sits right in the heart of Southeast Asia, in the Quang Binh Province of Vietnam. Son Doong Cave boasts enormous chambers that can comfortably fit a Boeing 747 aeroplane or an entire New York City block full of 40-story buildings. Discovered in 1991, its majestic chambers extend so far that explorers have called Son Doong an ‘infinite cave’.
Glow-worm Caves, New Zealand
Under the green hills of Waitomo lies a maze of caves, sinkholes and underground rivers. It’s here that you’ll find caves with magnificent stalactites and stalagmites and their entire surface illuminated by a galaxy of glow-worms. The easiest way to explore them is with a walking or boat tour. If you’re into adventure, try the unique experience of black water rafting in which you crawl, swim and float through the caves on a rubber tube.
Skocjan Caves, Slovenia
The eastern European country of Slovenia is home to a natural marvel that is said to rival the likes of Mount Everest, the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef. The Skocjan Caves were formed from different kinds of limestone, thereby emitting a green outer space-like colour. Said to be most beautiful in winter, when the air is clean, the colourful mix of collapse dolines and a 2.6-km long underground river canyon have led to recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Vatnajokull Glacier Cave, Iceland
One of the loveliest countries in the world, Iceland has some of the most beautiful natural wonders, one of them being Vatnajokull Glacier Cave.
The largest glacier in Europe, the cave was formed due to melting glacial ice water. A trip inside a gigantic ice sculpture can be dangerous because glaciers are constantly breaking and changing. Those who like courting risk, can explore its breath-taking beauty by going on a guided hiking tour. For the more cautious, simple walking tours are available, too.
Tham Lod Cave, Thailand
Located in the northern region of Thailand is the magnificent Tham Lod Cave, one of the country’s most impressive and easily accessible caves. Its size (1.5km long) and magnificent limestone stalactite formations, make it a must-visit site. The spectacular main chamber runs to a height of 50 metres, from floor to ceiling. For those who enjoy a bit of an adrenalin rush – the cave is also home to bats, swifts and a recently discovered, coffin-cave that’s hidden within the main one. That aside, the still and clear waters of the cave also make for a great boat ride where you can see down to the floor with a light.