"Deer Cave - Garden of Eden" by Gido via Flickr Creative Commons

The Himalayas and other mountain ranges in Asia and the Pacific hold thousands of vast cave systems, many of them that are extremely isolated and have yet to be explored. From the lush tropical jungles to the arid Tibetan plateau these exotic crevasses still have much to reveal such as uncategorized plant and animal species to some of the oldest traces of human civilization. While most of the caves in Australia and Tasmania are well documented, those in places such as Borneo and Laos are seeing their first visitors.

  1. Gunung Mulu National Park, Malaysia Borneo is home of the largest cave system in Southeast Asia, which continues to lure international caving expeditions. More than 186 miles of cave passages have been mapped and explored, including the World’s largest cave chamber, the Sarawak Chamber.
  2. Bohol, Philippines The province of Visayas is home to the village of Bohol, where numerous cave complexes exist, many of them unexplored. More than 1,400 caves have been found on the island are home to WWII hideouts, underground waterways, rare plant and wildlife, and much more.
  3. Phong Nha, Vietnam These river caves northwest of Dong Hoi contain the world’s largest underground river, as well as a dozen or so large chambers.
  4. Gua Temperung, Malaysia Located in Gopeng, Perak this vast limestone and marble cave system is loaded with stunning displays of stalagmites, stalactites, domes, tunnels, and varying water levels.
  5. Meghalaya, India This northeastern Indian state has loads of limestone deposits and rainfall, a perfect combination for creating Karst. Now the secret is out and is attracting cavers by the bus load that come to map easily accessible virgin caves, many of which are the longest and deepest in Southeast Asia.
  6. Kangaroo Island, Australia There are more than 105 of both landlocked and wave eroded cave systems exist on this small island. The largest concentration of caves sits near the Kelly Hill Conservation Park.
  7. Ngarua Caves, New Zealand Ngarua Caves are are open to the public and feature deposits of moa bones. Takaka Hill where the cave complex is located was the site of much of the filming for the Lord of the Rings movies.
  8. Harwood Hole, New Zealand Once the deepest explored cave in New Zealand, Harwood Hole drops 600 feet and is the country’s deepest vertical shaft. The overall depth reaches 1,171 feet and is one of several large cave systems on New Zealand’s South Island.
  9. Naracoorte Caves National Park, Australia This world heritage site is one of Australia’s major cave complexes and a large tourist draw. The park includes the fossil-rich Victoria Cave.
  10. Tham Phu Kham, Laos Vang Vieng’s major tourist attraction is these limestone caverns that are fronted by a reclining Buddha.

Click here for an Introduction to Caving Vacations