Son Doong Cave Tour

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Son Doong Cave Tour will take you into the heart of Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh Province, Vietnam, on one of the most thrilling adventure tours in the world. Join this ultimate adventure, you’ll explore the entire length of Son Doong Cave, Hang En Cave

Trip Description & Day-by-day Itinerary

Son Doong Cave Tour will take you into the heart of Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh Province, Vietnam, on one of the most thrilling adventure tours in the world. Join this ultimate adventure, you’ll explore the entire length of Son Doong Cave, Hang En Cave as well as visiting the Ban Doong ethnic minority village deep in the jungle. Imagine trekking straight into the depths of the world’s largest cave on an expedition unlike any other. A cave that can fit a 747 flying through its largest cavern, a foreign landscape, with enormous stalagmites and statuesque stalactites, hanging from the ceiling and rising from the ground like an alien species.

Map

Itinerary

DAY 1: DONG HOI -> PHONG NHA KE BANG NATIONAL PARK

Arrive in Dong Hoi by no later then the afternoon of day 1 where you will be met by our local guide and transferred to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park. You’ll be dropped off at the Saigon Phong Nha Hotel where you’ll have the rest of the day to rest, relax and wander around the village. At 5:30 pm you are required to meet in the hotel restaurant where you’ll meet your cave experts and guide team for your safety briefing and equipment check.

DAY 2: PHONG NHA -> HANG EN CAVE

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel at 8:00 am with your guide before departing at 9:00 am for the first leg of the expedition. After a 45 mins drive along Road 20 of the Ho Chi Minh Highway you’ll reach your trekking point, where you’ll start trekking for approximately 1 hour downhill through the forest, which is quite steep at times. Walk for half an hour along a small stream to the minority village of Ban Doong, which is a real highlight for many on this expedition. Learn more about this unique ethnic group of people and enjoy lunch beside a small river. After this point, you will be in the sun all afternoon with about 2 hours along a river, with very little shade. You’ll cross the river many times and so will have wet feet for the whole day. In the summer, the water is only usually knee deep, but gortex boots will fill and hold the water so are not recommended. You’ll then reach the entrance to Hang En Cave, home to thousands of swifts. Here you’ll be given your headlight and helmet and trek/bouldering approximately 20-30 mins to your campsite inside the cave. The group should arrive at camp by 3:00 pm where you can enjoy swimming and washing within the underground river. Dinner will be served at the spectacular campsite with numerous photographic opportunities. Anyone who is unable to complete any stage of this first day comfortably will be turned around to Phong Nha and cannot join the expedition. No refund will be offered.

DAY 3: HANG EN CAVE -> SON DOONG CAVE

You’ll again begin your day with breakfast at around 8:00 am. You’ll be in for a very tough day today so its best to enjoy a big breakfast, as you’ll need your energy! Start your trek at 9:00 am through Hang En Cave for about 30 mins to reach the magnificent exit, made famous by many a photographer over the past few years. You’ll scramble down to the river valley and then it’s an hour’s walk through the river, so your boots are going to be wet for most of the day and it is unavoidable! You’ll then start climbing a big hill with a couple of rope sections where you’ll need to pull yourself up, and in one point strap into a safety line. You’re then at the entrance of Son Doong Cave where you’ll enjoy lunch and countdown to your big journey underground! With your safety harnesses, you’ll then start the 80 m descent into the cave by making a number of short climbs, using ropes and safety lines and with your guides’ assistance. There is no rappelling or abseiling involved. You’ll then enjoy a few more climbs and bouldering to reach the first and second river crossing inside the cave, which is no more than knee-to-thigh deep depending on the water levels. You should have a wash here, as it will be the last place before reaching your first campsite in Son Doong Cave! On your way to the first campsite in the first large passage of the cave, you’ll have to be extra careful as there are a number of big drops along a rocky path before reaching one of the most spectacular views: Hand of Dog and daylight streaming through the cave thanks to the first doline! You will then scramble down to your campsite and have the afternoon to soak up the views and rest your weary bodies. You’re in for another big meal with your team before turning in for the night. There are no washing facilities on this day.

DAY 4: SON DOONG CAVE TREKKING

Your day begins with a hearty breakfast with your team before a 9:00 am departure towards your second campsite in Son Doong Cave! You’ll start with some rocky climbs, which are quite steep in some places, as you reach the first jungle within the cave at Watch Out For Dinosaurs. After a short break you’ll be trotting down the rocky path to reach the enormous Green Gours! A light lunch is provided with an incredible backdrop of the first doline. If you are lucky you may even catch some sunbeams, which make for truly spectacular photographs! It is then an easy walk through the cave past gigantic formations and plenty of cave pearls towards the light of the second doline and main jungle within the cave. Follow the path past the beautiful foliage reaching towards the light, to reach the underground jungle, unlike anything you could experience on the planet! Cross the jungle for around 45 mins to reach the steep and sometimes slippery path down to your second campsite within Son Doong Cave. After a short rest at your campsite, you are back on your feet and heading deeper within the cave towards the Great Wall of Vietnam! You’ll pass through a very large dry passage with huge stalagmites and great views back to the second doline. Many new creepy crawlies have been discovered within this passage including white spiders, fish, woodlouse and shrimp species! You will reach at this point a very large beautiful underground lake, where you’ll then paddle to reach the Great Wall of Vietnam, or you will find a muddy pit for hundreds of meters, at which you will need to trudge your way through to reach the wall. It is entirely optional if you wish to go further and reach the actual wall, as you will get very dirty in the mud and there are no bathing facilities on this day at camp (pack plenty of wet wipes if you decide on the plunge!). You’ll again enjoy a fantastic dinner with your team and enjoy an evening of games and entertainment, or simply relax and enjoy the views at what is quite possibly the very best campsite in the world! Quick note, you may use a pair of dry boots on this day, as aside from the mud there are no water crossings!

DAY 5: SON DOONG CAVE -> HANG EN CAVE

After refueling with another hot breakfast you’ll pack up camp and start heading back to the first doline, with a slightly different route through a small oxbow passage above the underground river with a very steep drop, where you will need to use a rope and safety line. Once you have reached your first campsite, you’ll have time for a short break before climbing down to the ancient fossil passage, where you will witness 350 million year old coral fossils! Enjoy a small wash in the pools and a hearty lunch before climbing up to the National Geographic viewpoint. You will then descend back to the main passage, cross the river twice and proceed to climb up to the entrance, again strapped in with your harness and safety lines. At the entrance of Son Doong you’ll have a chance to enjoy a small break and some snacks, before heading back towards the river valley, where you can enjoy a deserved wash! Walk along the river back to Hang En for your final evening and celebration with porter team at this underground campsite.

DAY 6: HANG EN CAVE -> PHONG NHA KE BANG -> DONG HOI

Wake early and after breakfast start your 10 km trek back to Road 20. You’ll follow the river along the valley and back through Ban Doong Village. You will enjoy lunch along the way before starting on what is quite a difficult climb back up the mountain for the last hour of your big adventure! Cold drinks await you at the top of the hill before a 45 mins drive back to Phong Nha. You can then enjoy a well deserved wash and either swim in the pool or enjoy the beach. There is also a good spa at the hotel if you would like to treat your body with some pampering! You’re then free to grab dinner at any time you want with a voucher you’ll be provided. Please advise the hotel of your departure time on the following day upon check-in so they can arrange your transfer back to the airport or train station.

DAY 7: DEPARTURE

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and your transfer to the airport will be arranged by the hotel reception. End of tour.

P/S: This 7 day package is operated by our local partner in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park. The detailed itinerary, trip cost as well as other information are subject to change without prior notice.

Additional Information

Primary Activity

Camping, Caving, Trekking

Duration

7 days

Tour Starts

Quang Binh

Tour Ends

Quang Binh

Adventure Level

Challenging

Places to Visit

Phong Nha National Park, Quang Binh, Son Doong Cave

Type of tour

Group tour

Availability

Weekly

Itinerary Disclaimer

Occasionally our tour itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travelers’ comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the service proposal. It’s very important that you print and review a final copy of your itinerary a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!

Please note that while we operate successful trips in Vietnam throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

Inclusions

Our trip cost usually includes the following services. Please bear in mind LOTUSSIA Travel is specialized in tailor-made trips. Trip cost vary depending on group size and other details.

  • Car transfers.
  • Local tour guide. The English-Speaking guide is provided by default. Other language may be available upon request (with extra charge).
  • Local porter(s).
  • Accommodation.
  • Meals.
  • Entrance fees.
  • Bottled water.

Exclusions

Unless required most of the following services are usually not included in our tour price.

  • Visa
  • Flight/Train tickets.
  • Accommodation pre/post trip.
  • International travel insurance.
  • Tips.
  • Personal expenses.

Tour Guide

Our tour guides speak English or French. They hold a university degree in tourism and national license as a guide. If you wish to send a tour leader along with any group, he or she can fully rely on the knowledge and experience of our local guides.

Remote treks are always accompanied by a local representative to deal with permits and authorities and manage the porter team. They speak the local dialects, know the cultural traditions and give tips on suggested behavior in fragile ecological areas and tribal communities. For some itineraries, the role of tour leader and representative is combined.

Trip Routes

Principally, LOTUSSIA Travel requires all the trip associates to know the destinations well by any means of traveling or enquiry to the local suppliers to figure out all the relative details of any trip. For adventure tours such as jungle trekking, mountain hiking, sea kayaking, river rafting or biking, cycling tours, LOTUSSIA Travel will never add any new routes into available schedule until survey or pre-view it.

Accommodation

LOTUSSIA Travel carefully choose all the hotels, guest-houses or homestays based on service quality, location, and characteristics, doing best to make the accommodations in the remote small places as comfortable as possible. Please bear in mind that hotels in Vietnam might not be in the same standard in other country. Generally hotels in major cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city, Hoian, Hue…are much better than hotels and guest-houses in mountainous areas.

Meals

LOTUSSIA Travel take dinning as an indispensable experience to clients since it is an important part in Vietnamese culture. Therefore, LOTUSSIA Travel will not intend take clients to the most expensive restaurants but non-touristy local ones which offer delicious, local food, with nice or interesting atmosphere. The restaurants might be simple in the country but LOTUSSIA Travel guarantee is sanitary and cleanliness. Or even on our trek, we encourage our cook offer client food with new tastes from day to day. During adventure itineraries to mountainous or remote areas, there is sometimes no choice for hotel and restaurants. We will try our best to bring you the best taste of local food.

Drinks

As the tap water in Vietnam is undrinkable, LOTUSSIA Travel recommend clients to drink bottled water throughout your trip, or boiled water on treks. LOTUSSIA Travel offers bottle water all the day, and soft drinks like Cola, Sprite or Vietnamese Tea or if possible juice in restaurants (if mentionned in itinerary). This is not automatically included in the packages. In simple restaurant or on camping, LOTUSSIA Travel offers boiled water, instant coffee or juice, wrapped milk (Details are confirmed in bottom of your itinerary).

Vehicle

In most destinations of Vietnam, all the roads are well paved though the traffic is quite messed up like in Hanoi, Hai Phong… We use proper vehicles, car, minibus or coach in good condition based on the size of the groups. We use 4WD only on the rough road where the other vehicles could not pass through or based on clients requirement on overland journeys or treks. For cycling itineraries, we usually use our support minibus or minibus with support truck. For sea kayaking, river rafting trips, diving packages we use standard boat as support. Detailed information is provided on our service proposal.

We use drivers who are native or local of each travel destination and maintain good safety records for all trips. Most of our drivers can speak English but a little bit. This is just enough to understand basic words such as “time of departure”, “stop”, “restaurants”, “hotels”…If you want to learn more about Vietnamese culture and information about sightseeing sites, booking a tour guide is highly recommended.

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  1. Charmaine

    5 out of 5

    We were the first group to join this fantastic new trip – Son Doong Cave Tour. The trek was all in all very beautiful – a combination of spectacular mountain, forest and valley sceneries, local culture and village life. Very recommended for people who are open-minded, have a sense of adventure, and willing to give up a little bit of comfort. NOT an EASY trek so one really has to prepare physically and mentally in advance. We had excellent guide, porters. They all added to the fun and excitement in the whole trip. We were all well looked after by them, excellent service! The whole trek went very well but like any other adventure trips, petty issues were inevitable! Despite all these very minor challenges, everyone made it safely and managed to finish the trek with pride and a big smile on our faces. What a sight, what an awesome unforgettable adventure!

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