- Puerto Princesa, Philippines
Known as Puerto Princesa Underground River or St. Paul Underground River, the natural wonder is located on the northern side of the island. Its popularity grew most when, in 2011, it was called one of the New 7 Wonders of Natures on a global poll, along with Jeju Island in South Korea, Halong Bay in Vietnam, Iguacu Falls in Argentina, Amazon Rainforest and River, Komodo Island in Indonesia and Table Mountain of South Africa.
The second floor of the underground river was discovered in 2010 and the small waterfalls inside the cave became very popular shortly after this. The length of the underground river is of over 8 kilometers, flowing directly into the South China Sea.
As it is the world’s longest underground river, its reputation and fame doesn’t only come from this fact.
The stalactites and stalagmites give it even more personality. But it’s not only the tourists who are interested in this particular area, but the scientists as well, as it encompasses a truly large variety of ecosystems and biodiversity.
And although the number of visitors per day is restricted due to the sensitivity of the place and the efforts to preserve it the way it is, its fame makes it one of the most reached holiday destinations in the entire world.
- Callao Cave Chapel, Philippines
While every of the seven chambers the cave hosts has natural crevices, allowing the light to create a naturally sunbathed climate, each of them can constitute a separate point of attraction for the tourists.
Particularly in the deeper chambers of the cave there are stalactites and stalagmites as well, being made of distinct formations and amazingly shaped elements. The natural cathedral in the first chamber was transformed into a chapel by the local people, being decorated with specific local motifs.
As all the formations have been named after either religiously, culturally or naturally significant actors and constituents, the atmosphere created in the main room to be visited – the chapel – is both wild, natural and sacred, dramatic under the natural light which, especially during the sunny days or at the sunset seems to watch over the entire place.
Although the cave is very popular and represents the biggest local attraction, you shouldn’t visit it unless you’re in a good shape or you feel like walking, since the over two hundred stairs are on of the most important attractions as well. And if you’re not in a good shape but decide to visit the place and you feel exhausted after the trip, a boat ride with a wooden ark on the Mororan River very close to Callao Cave, while the picturesque landscape depicts around you. The rocky cliffs and the rich vegetation, combined with the crystal clear water above you should make the whole scene and ideal place for swimming.
- Sơn Đoòng Cave, Vietnam
Mountain River Cave is, in translation from Vietnamese, the name that the world’s biggest cave yet found has. Located in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, the place has a rapidly – flowing river inside.
With the biggest chamber measuring over 5 kilometers long, the cave is, according to the scientists, over five times bigger than the previously thought of as being the largest one in Vietnam.
So large the formation is, that the end is yet to be found. Being located in the depths of the Vietnamese local jungle, there is no wonder why finding it by the scientists took so long, although it served as a shelter for the locals against the Americans, during the war.
The place is believed to could have held a block of 40-storey skyscrapers. After its main entrance was rediscovered by the British cavers in 2009, the place became, once again, very popular.
It is believed to have been created two to five million years ago, by the river water eroding the limestone underneath the mountain.
As it looks, it seems that a part of the rainforest has ‘moved’ inside the cave, creating a brand new natural landscape underground, filled with vegetation and sunlight, but more savage and bizarre than the entire Vietnamese jungle.