By Amanda Stringfellow @amanda_l_s

STUNNING images show towering rocks, emerging plants and huge stretches of water inside one of the world’s greatest river caves

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Stunning: Tham Khoun Xe has over 15km of passages filled with awe-inspiring views and wide expanses of water

Tham Khoun Xe, commonly known as the Xe Bang Fai River Cave, in Laos, has over 15km of passages filled with awe-inspiring views and wide expanses of water.

John and his team submerged LED lights near the downstream entrance of the cave

The massive cave ranks with Hang Son Dong in Vietnam, the Sarawak Chamber in Malaysia and the Miao Room in the Gebihe Cave System in China, as one of the largest sustained river passages in the world.

The cave is formed by the Xe Bang Fai river, a major tributary of the Mekong and in the dry season can be traversed using inflatable kayaks

Photographer, John Spies, 59, captured scenes from the entrances of the huge underground river passages, intricate cave formations and views from a passage high above the water

Massive formations abound in a newly discovered fossil section of the cave, 50 meters above the river level

The cave is formed by the Xe Bang Fai River, a major tributary of the Mekong and in the dry season can be traversed in the dry season using inflatable kayaks.

A blue-tinted glow from outside illuminates the entrance chamber of the cave

It is believed the largest chamber measures 400m by 230m and reaches a height of 160m above the river level.

A team of four equipped with powerful LED lights and walkie-talkies managed to light-paint this enormous section for this long exposure shot

The phenomenal natural features include a 61-metre gour pool believed to be the longest in the world, and some of the largest hexagonal shaped cave pearls ever found.

Sunlight streams into the mist-filled fossil passage near the sink of the Xe Bang Fai River - this section supports a verdant garden of ferns and other low light plants

John, an Australian expat, was joined on the exhibition by his wife Suphaporn Singnakphum, David Pierce, from America and Stephen Brown, from Australia - all experienced cave explorers.

The photographer, who now lives in Indonesia, said: “During the dry season from November to April, the Xe Bang Fai river runs clear.

The upstream inflow entrance of Tham Khoun Xe has a verdant forest inside a huge collapsed doline

“It is this pristine river that not only formed the cave but also makes this cave so special.

“The through trip, negotiable in the dry season using inflatable kayaks, passes through seven kilometres of enormous river passage that is superbly decorated with massive flowstone formations that cling to the cave walls and giant stalagmites and dripstone formations on higher levels and banks along way.

The Giant Gour in the Oxbow area of the cave is 60 meters long and is probably one of the world’s largest rimstone basins

“One section, the Oxbow area, has a massive expanse of gour pools, including the biggest known single pool in the world.

It is believed the largest chamber measures 400m by 230m and reaches a height of 160m above the river level

“Other spectacular formations include deposits of large cave pearls. Fossil passages near both ends of the cave extend for several kilometres.

“At the downstream end are large rooms heavily decorated with stalagmites and at the upstream end is an underground garden of low-light plants.

Suphaporn Singnakphum stands amongst lush low-light plants in an underground garden in a huge fossil passage that adjoins the inflow entrance of Tham Khuon Xe

“I have traversed the main passage three times now, and it is not an easy trip as it involves carrying boats and gear over some long breakdown sections, but I will definitely be back to do it again.”