Hang Son Doong is a cave in Vietnam, located near the Laos–Vietnam border, that is currently the biggest known cave in the world. Inside is a vast green forest and a large, fast-flowing underground river. The biggest chamber of Hang Son Doong is more than 5 kilometres long, 200 metres high and 150 metres wide. The cave’s enormous dimensions has allowed stalagmites to grow up to 70 meters tall, the tallest known stalagmites in the world. Cave pearls found inside the cave were the size of baseballs, an abnormally large size. Despite its enormity the cave was only discovered in 1991 by a local man, but the local jungle men were afraid to explore because of the whistling sound the underground river made. It was not until 2009, when a group of British scientists from the British Cave Research Association conducted a survey, that the existence of the cave was made known to the public. Later, a team of explorers from National Geographic came up with some of the most stunning pictures of this previously unseen natural wonder.
A few years ago, photographing a cave as large as Hang Son Doong would have meant rappelling down a rope. Aerial pictures would be impossible without a helicopter. Now with cheaper alternatives like drones and GoPro easily available, all it takes is a sense of adventure.
Photographer Ryan Deboodt recently took a GoPro HERO4 and strapped it onto a drone – the DJI Phantom 2 – and flew it above and into the cave. The result is a stunning 6-minute video which you can see below.
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