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Controversial US$212m cable car system proposed for world's largest cave

Plans for a US$212m cable car system to be installed in a UNESCO-recognised Vietnamese cave are being considered by the Quang Binh People’s Committee, though conservation concerns could prove to be a stumbling block.

The cave in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park – recognised as the biggest in the world – would feature a 10.6km (6.6m) long cable car system, broken up into four parts, starting at the entrance to the Tien Son Grotto.

The cable car would run from the Tien Son Grotto’s Tra Ang Bridge and would take visitors down into the Son Doong Cave, with a final section of the route extending from the mouth of the cave to the floor of its second pit.

Photo: Flickr.com/Thanh Tuan Pham

Resort developers Sun Group are behind the plans, with the company recently submitting preliminary reports on cable car system surveys to the provincial People’s Committee.

One thing that could scupper the plans are warnings from conservation experts, who have reportedly expressed concern over the potential damage the cable car system may do to the site. The People’s Committee has stated it is taking objections “into careful consideration” and is “gathering public and expert opinions before making a final decision.”

Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003. The grotto was first discovered in 1991, becoming well-known after a group of British scientists explored it in 2009. The cave is believed to be the biggest in the world, with its largest chamber more than 5km (3.1m) long, 200m (656ft) high and 150m (492ft) wide.

Plans for a US$212m cable car system to be installed in a UNESCO-recognised Vietnamese cave are being considered by the Quang Binh People’s Committee, though conservation concerns could prove to be a stumbling block. The cave in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park – recognised as the biggest in the world – would feature a 10.6km (6.6m) long cable car system, broken up into four parts, starting at the
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The cable car will descend into the Son Doong Cave, making the site more accessible to visitors / Flickr.com/Simon Dunne
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