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 historical site.
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
The over 200,000 ha of parkland includes beautiful
limestone formations, grottoes and caves, and boasts
lush forestland covering 95 percent of the park
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 Bang area.
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 national parks.
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
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
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.