|A group of ambassadors will discover Sơn Đoòng during seven days. Photo quangbinh.gov.vn|
The journey will continue until May 17. The ambassadors of Australia, Sweden, Italy and the United Kingdom, as well as the Czech Republic and Argentina are participating in the expedition.
US Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski, Ambassador Phạm Sanh Châu (head of the Foreign Ministry’s Culture and UNESCO Department) and Vietnamese model-actress Dương Trương Thiên Lý, who represented Việt Nam in the Miss World 2008 pageant in South Africa, are also part of the tour.
Quảng Bình had the honour of receiving the delegates who would help Vietnam promote Quảng Bình and Vietnam tourism to the world, Hồ An Phong, director of the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said.
“The trip is a good chance to show foreigners what Vietnam is really like,” he said.
The provincial leaders also expect the ambassadors to promote investment in Quảng Bình Province.
Ahead of the seven-day excursion to explore the world’s largest cave, the members had to undergo a health checkup and brush up on their adventure travel skills, according to Nguyễn Châu Á, CEO of Oxalis Ltd., the operator of Sơn Đoòng exploration tours.
The tour Sơn Đoòng Cave is similar to those designed for other tourists. Since the beginning of this year, 216 trekkers have visited the site, including 95 Americans and 33 Vietnamese people.
Sơn Đoòng Cave is part of the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park in Bố Trạch District, Quảng Bình Province. The cave was discovered in 1991, but only became internationally recognised in 2009 as the world’s largest natural cave after a group of scientists from the British Cave Research Association conducted a survey in the area.
The cave is 200m high, 150m wide, and some 9km in depth. There are two sinkholes along the ceiling of the cave, which allow sunlight to enter and have resulted in the growth of an entire rainforest inside the cave. The Sơn Đoòng Cave also houses unique plant species, waterfalls and an entire river.