About to venture inside the largest cave on Earth

In March of 2018 I traveled to North Central Vietnam to trek to and photograph inside two of the world's largest caves, Hang Én, and the biggest of them all, Hang Son Ðoòng.

First discovered in 1991 by a local Vietnamese man who was foraging in the jungle for wood and sought shelter from a storm, he lost his bearings and was unable to find the cave again until 2008. It was not until explorers from the British Cave Research Association entered would they realize the immensity of what had been discovered.

The largest cave in the world by volume, it rises up to 200 metres (660 ft) high and is up to 150 metres (490 ft) wide. Its cross-section is believed to be twice that of the next largest passage, in Deer Cave, Malaysia.

The cave runs for approximately 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) and is punctuated by 2 large dolines, which are areas where the ceiling of the cave has collapsed. The dolines allow sunlight to enter sections of the cave which has resulted in the growth of trees as well as other vegetation. These cave forests coupled with the oxygen emitted, the heat and humidity of the ambient air and the cool temeperature of the internal river, combine to produce its own clouds

The cave was named 'Mountain Cave of Ðoòng' after a remote village in the jungle nearby. In Vietnamese, it would become Hang Son Ðoòng.

This and Hang Én, which is the third largest cave and must be passed through to reach the entrance of Hang Son Ðoòng, have beauty beyond words.

I have also photographed under the Vatnajokull and Breidamerkurjökull Glaciers in Iceland, which, like the caves of Vietnam, are otherworldly but in a completely different way as light bounces around through the transulecence of ice hundreds of feet thick.

My photographs attempted to capture some of this rarely seen beauty and present these remote treasures to the world.


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The Temple of Rock

Enter the Darkness

Hand of Dog


Another River to Cross

The Mouth of Hang Son Ðoòng


The Eye of Hang Son Ðoòng



In Awe

Ascent to the Garden of Edam
The Rockcicle
The Great Room

Rock of Ages

The Crystal Cave

Icy Wonder

Icy Wonder II
Under the Ice
Gaze in Wonder

Passage to the Blue World

The Frozen World
The Ice Tunnel
The Ice cave

The Alcove

The Frozen cave
Patterns in Ice

Click to Read Page 1 and then Page 2 of my adventure to Hang Son Doong and Hang En in March of 2018. This story was published in newspapers all across Canada

Page 1Page 2

Enter the Darkness

Watermarks do not appear in final prints. All images on this website are © Timm Chapman 2007-2018
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