The honor was conferred by the Asia Book of Records last Saturday at the opening ceremony of the Quang Binh Cave Festival at the UNESCO-recognized Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh Province.
The India-based Asia Book of Records, affiliated to the World Record University, is a record organization that registers human achievement and natural events for individuals and institutions in Asian countries.
Thien Duong Cave is surrounded by primeval forests situated 60 kilometers to the northwest of Dong Hoi, the capital of Quang Binh.
Discovered by a local man in 2005, the cave was later fully explored in 2010 by researchers from the British Cave Research Association. The team called it the most beautiful cave in the world for its stalactite structures. They also said it is the longest dry cave in Asia, stretching 31.4 kilometers (19.5 miles).
Opened to tourists in 2011, Thien Duong Cave is one of 300 different caves and grottos in the world-famous national park. The Phong Nha-Ke Bang park won UNESCO recognition in 2003 for its unique limestone structures and the oldest karst formation in Asia, dating back to some 400 million years. Only some of the caves in the park are accessible to the public, including Thien Duong.
Colossal caves, most of them protected, in the national park, have given Quang Binh, one of Vietnam’s poorest provinces, an opportunity to improve people’s livelihoods through its rapidly growing tourism industry. Last year Quang Binh received 3.9 million tourists, up 18 percent from the previous year.
The “kingdom of caves” is also home to Son Doong cave, which has hogged the international spotlight since it opened to tourists in 2013, four years after members of the British Cave Research Association finished their exploration and declared it the world’s largest.
Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post newspaper recently listed the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park as one of top 10 wild places to visit in Southeast Asia.
Trekking inside the majestic Thien Duong (Paradise) Cave
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