Newly discovered wonders of the world
If you think we’ve uncovered all that Earth has to offer, think again. While humans began exploring our world long ago, the planet is so vast and ever-changing that we continue to uncover new wonders each year. And these past few years have been no exception. Whether undocumented, rediscovered or altogether unexplored, we introduce to you eight new mind-boggling wonders of the world that are worth a visit. 1. Son Doong Cave, Phong Nha, Vietnam Discovered in 1991 and first explored in 2009, the world’s largest cave is now open to public tours. The massive Son Doong cave measures over 5.5 miles long and 650 ft. wide and is believed to have formed 2 to 5 million years ago. It contains a jungle where scientists have discovered new animal species and a side-passage where paleontologists have uncovered 300-million-year-old fossils. The cave is home to waterfalls, sinkholes, cliffs and a river. If you’d like to be one of the lucky 224 visitors permitted to tour the cave in 2014, you can book through the host tour company,. For $3,000, the six-day tour includes camping gear and caving equipment, food and drink and transfers to and from the cave. 2. Asik-Asik Falls, Sitio Dulao, The Philippines Although locals have known about this hidden gem since its formation, the Asik-Asik Falls remained, for the most part, undetected until a contest-winning photo catapulted it into the limelight in 2012. What makes this majestic waterfall especially eye-catching is that the water does not spring from a body of water above, but rather from cracks in the cliff’s wall. It was formed in 2008 after a typhoon uprooted a large tree attached to the cliff, creating those cracks. Since the waterfall’s discovery, the government has worked to make it accessible to the public, but it’s still hard to reach. The ride from Midsayap to Barangay Upper Dado in Alamada takes three hours, and then it’s another hour from Upper Dado to the village of Sitio Dulao, from where you must trek by foot for another hour and a half to the falls. 3.El Castillo Cave, Puente Viesgo, Spain Decorated with the world’s oldest known cave paintings, El Castillo gives us an unprecedented look into the past. The cave paintings were discovered in the 1870s, but it wasn’t until 2012 that researchers determined one of the paintings — a red sphere — to be at least 40,800 years old. Red hand stencils, created by blowing or spitting paint onto the cave walls, accompany the sphere and date back almost as far. The cave artwork is so old that some scientists believe it could be the work of Neanderthals. If you’re interested in visiting the site, tours are available Wednesday through Sunday for about $4, but you must book in advance.