Phong Nha-Ke Bang
national park, world heritage
Nam's Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park has been recognised as a world
natural heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) at its 27th general assembly session being
held in Paris from June 30-July 5.
At the session, delegates from over 160 member countries of UNESCO
World Heritage Convention agreed to include Phong Nha-Ke Bang park and
30 others worldwide to the list of world heritage sites.
Phong Nha-Ke Bang park is
now the fifth UNESCO recognised site in Viet Nam after Ha Long Bay, the
imperial city of Hue, the ancient quarter of Hoi An and the My Son
Phong Nha-Ke Bang national
park, located to the north of the majestic Truong Son range in central
Quang Binh province, is one of the world's two largest limestone regions.
over 200,000 ha of parkland includes beautiful limestone formations,
grottoes and caves, and boasts lush forestland covering 95 percent of the
The area is considered a
paradise for researchers and explorers of grottoes and caves, and
Vietnamese and British scientists have so far surveyed 20 with a total
length of 70km. Of them, 17 are in the Phong Nha area and three in the Ke
The Phong Nha cave itself
which lends its name to the whole system is probably the most beautiful of
all, containing many fascinating rock formations, enchanting visitors with
evocative names such as Lion, Fairy Caves, Royal Court and Buddha.
Besides the grotto and cave
systems, Phong Nha has the longest underground rivers, the largest caverns
and passageways, the widest and prettiest sand banks, and the most
astonishing rock formations in the world.
According to initial
statistics, the primitive tropical forest in Phong Nha-Ke Bang houses 140
families, 427 branches, and 751 species of high-rated plants, of which 36
species are endangered and listed in the Viet Nam Red Book. The forest is
also home to 32 sets, 98 families, 256 races and 381 species of four land
backboned animals. Sixty-six animal species are listed in the Viet Nam Red
Book and 23 other species in the World Red Book. In general, Phong Nha-Ke
Bang's animals are more diverse than in other natural reserves and
Nha-Ke Bang also boasts dozens of mountain peaks of over 1,000 metres
still unexplored by men and seen as ideal sites for activities like
climbing and exploration. Worthy of note are Peak Co Rilata with the
height of 1,128 m and Peak Co Preu, 1,213 m. Lying between these peaks are
valleys which promise tourists exciting eco-tours.
In addition to the diversity
in the ecosystem, Phong Nha-Ke Bang is home to archeological and
historical relics, such as an ancient hieroglyphic script of the Cham
ethnic minority, King Ham Nghi's base built for the resistance war against
French colonialists in the late 19th century, and the Xuan Son ferry
station, Ho Chi Minh Trail and Road 20 used during the US resistance war.
Central Quang Binh province
has poured heavy investment into upgrading the Phong Nha-Ke Bang visitor
site to turn it into the country's major tourist destination.