When Ho Khanh spotted a trail of mist, the illegal logger was lost.
He had trekked for 20 kilometres through the thick jungle of the Phong Nha-Kebang National Park in Quang Binh province and was searching for shelter from impending rain when the mysterious mist caught his eyes.
“I kept following it until I saw an enormous entrance of a cave. It was scary.”
Yet, curiosity soon replaced fear. The logger braved the deep, intimidating darkness and stepped through the large opening into the unknown space. As he went deeper, Ho Khanh picked up the sound of a river and felt a strong wind blowing out of the dark.
“The cave just got bigger and bigger,” he recalled. “But since I didn’t have enough lighting with me, I left.”
When he turned back, 28 years ago, the logger had no idea he had just stumbled upon Son Doong, the largest cave in the world. All he knew then was hardship and grinding poverty that drove him and other villagers into the forest to harvest timber and poach wild animals.
Read more from source: Inside Vietnam’s ‘cave kingdom’, adventure tourism sustains nature, local livelihoods