Hang Va Photography Challenge

The 2-day trek to Hang Va is truly a mind-blowing experience for the amateur to professional photographer. It starts off with a short trek through thick jungle, an inspiring environment to capture some nature shots, before descending into the underground world of Hang Va. You’ll navigate narrow, dark, wet passages, before discovering the extraordinarily unique tower cone formations.

This is considered a high-adventure expedition, made all the more difficult with cameras and the additional provided equipment required to light the pitch-black passageways.

Led by a professional caving guide and guide assistants, you’ll be presented with a range of viewpoints along with additional cave lighting to capture the best shots inside the cave and some spectacular overlooks in the jungle.

It is a demanding tour as each day is extended to give you the longest time possible to capture your shots. You’ll also have the chance to capture some incredible nighttime photographs around the campsite.

This tour is intended for those who are serious about photography. You are responsible for your own camera and Oxalis does not provide lessons on how to use your camera, though some general guidance will be provided with regards to lighting the caves. Of course, our guides are always available to model for you in the caves if you need some perspective in your shots.

While not physically connected to Son Doong, Hang Nuoc Nut and Hang Va are part of the Son Doong cave system based on their shared water flow which fortunately creates beautiful and extraordinary formations which are unique to this world. Hang Va and Nuoc Nut caves were found recently in 2012. To be one of the first people to put human steps into these caves, you will have to hike, stoop through the entrance, use ropes and cross some rivers including the ones inside the caves. But don’t worry– we provide the very best in adventure experiences with every aspect of the trip carefully planned including delicious meals, the highest safety standards, and friendly and informative adventure guides.

Please note that drones are not allowed on our Photography tour unless it is a private tour and permission has been granted by the Ministry of Defense for special purposes. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Videos about this tour: link 1 | link 2 | link 3 | link 4| link 5

Hang Va on the news:  Forbes | Silkwinds 

Reviews on TripAdvisor: SR 1SR 2SR 3 | SR 4 | SR5

Download Itinerary (PDF)

Itinerary

Download Itinerary (PDF)

Quick Facts

  • Operating: From Feb to Aug (closed from Sep to Jan)

  • Duration: 2 days / 1 night

  • Adventure Level: Moderate-to-hard for physically active guests (basic trekking experience required)

  • Availability: Twice per month

  • Small Group Tours: 2 - 8 pax

  • Minimum Age: 16 years old

  • Tour Starts: 8:00 – 8:30 AM, from any local hotel in Phong Nha

  • Tour Ends: 5:00 – 5:30 PM, at any local hotel in Phong Nha

  • Price: VND 11,000,000/pax

Phong Nha - Hang Nuoc Nut - Hang Va Jungle camp

For your convenience, we will pick you up at your hotel in Phong Nha between 8:00 – 8:30 am and drive to Oxalis Headquarters. At Oxalis Headquarters, you will collect your gear, listen to a tour briefing and please note that you need to sign our Release Form before driving 45 minutes through the National Park to the trailhead.

From the trailhead, we will enter the jungle and hike to the entrance of Hang Nuoc Nut. Here we put on our Petzl helmets and Hope Technology 1500 lumen headlamps. Once inside the low opening, the cave enlarges dramatically and we will explore the high level series with excellent photographic opportunities. We will have a picnic lunch with ice cold drinks provided before setting off in the cave for around 2 km. Enjoy the beautiful formations, enormous passage, and underground river, again with many photographic opportunities.

Leaving the cave you will trek on a jungle path which, though short, traverses over tough and difficult terrain. The jungle campsite is located at the base of huge cliffs next to the entrance of Hang Va. Get to camp around 5:30 pm. After that, if we are early, there is a chance to swim in a downstream pool inside Hang Va. Camp will be set up and tea/coffee will be supplied as well as a delicious dinner served by our local chef. This is a true jungle camp, where you will fall asleep listening to the sounds of nature surrounding you.

MORE PHOTO

Hang Va – Phong Nha

This day is the highlight of the expedition. Before experiencing this fantastic cave, Hang Va, you will have a delicious breakfast at around 8:00 am.

First, you will have to climb down the steep entrance of Hang Va. It can be quite slippery, so move slowly and with care. To ensure your safety, we will have a rope for you to clip into with a harness which will be provided for you. You will continue to wear the harness at all times inside Hang Va Cave.

You will walk most of the time in water flowing through the river passage, climb up and down, and squeeze between the rocks. The water level of the river passage can be as high as chest level, so be ready to be wet for about 4 hours.

Continue to the end of the wet passage, where the water rises up through a clear pool. This is a good chance to see many small bats, but please be quiet and respect these cave dwellers. Continue the climb up to the high level passage. You will need to use the harness again to ascend carefully. You will be amazed at this high level area because of its stunning formations, which are really rare throughout the world. In this area, we will have a lot of time to take beautiful images with the support of Hope technology and extra lights prepared specifically for photography in Hang Va Cave.

Please respect our efforts to protect this passage and understand that you cannot leave the designated walkways.

Finally, we will head back to the camp, enjoy lunch and at around 2:00 pm, walk back to the road by a different route to the pick-up point. Our driver will take you back to your hotel in Phong Nha by about 5:00 pm.

Oxalis Adventure Levels

Oxalis-adventure-levels (2016 updated) 1

Image Map

Nuoc Nut Cave

Most of people can do this cave as long they can walk on flat trails (partly rocky) for about 30-60 minutes each way.

Please chat with us or send us a message if you have any questions.

Tu Lan Cave Encounter

Please make sure that your health is suitable for these activities with ease.

  • 12km jungle and mountain trekking, rocky terrain
  • Elevation change up to 150m (between valley and top of mountain)
  • 1 km swimming in caves (from 200m - 500m each cave)
  • 3 km caving
  • 2 days and 1 night in jungle and caves
  • Requirements:
    • Basic trekking experience
    • Must be able to swim
      Note: Be prepared for your shoes to get very wet due to many river crossings!

Tu Lan 1-day Experience

Please make sure that your health is suitable for these activities with ease:

  • 9km jungle and mountain trekking, rocky terrain
  • Elevation change up to 150m (between valley and top of mountain)
  • 100m swimming in caves
  • 1 km caving
  • Requirements:
    • Basic trekking experience
    • Must be able to swim
      Note: Be prepared for your shoes to get very wet due to many river crossings!

Oxalis Adventure Tours staff (cave expert or guide) reserves the right to decline, accept or retain any person as a member of any party at any time without compensation or refund due to safety issue.

Please check Frequently Asked Questions or chat with us if you have any questions.

Hang Tien 1-day Discovery

Please make sure that your health is suitable for these activities with ease:

  • 4 km jungle and mountain trekking, rocky terrain
  • 4 km caving
  • Requirements:
    • Basic trekking experience

Hang En Cave Adventure 

Please make sure that your health is suitable for these activities with ease.

  • 20km jungle and mountain trekking, rocky terrain
  • Multiple river crossings: 30 times (knee deep, 10-50m wide river)
  • Elevation change up to 400m (between road and valleys)
  • 3 km caving
  • 2 days and 1 night in jungle and caves
  • Requirements:
    • Trekking experience & must be able to walk 10km in one day
    • Must be able to withstand hot trekking days
      Note: Be prepared for your shoes to get very wet due to many river crossings!

Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer

Please make sure that your health is suitable for these activities with ease.

  • 17km jungle and mountain trekking, rocky terrain
  • Elevation change up to 150m (between valley and top of mountain)
  • 1 km swimming in caves (from 200m - 500m each cave)
  • 4 km caving
  • 3 days and 2 nights in jungle and caves
  • Requirements:
    • Basic trekking experience
    • Must be able to swim
      Note: Be prepared for your shoes to get very wet due to many river crossings!

Oxalis Adventure Tours staff (cave expert or guide) reserves the right to decline, accept or retain any person as a member of any party at any time without compensation or refund due to safety issue.

Please check Frequently Asked Questions or chat with us if you have any questions.

Hang Va Photography Challenge

The adventure level of the Hang Va Photography Challenge is considered moderate-to-hard for anyone who considers themselves physically fit and who participates in regular outdoor activities. Please make sure that your health is suitable for these activities with ease before taking part in the expedition.

  • 10 km jungle and mountain trekking, rocky terrain
  • 3 km caving in river caves (cold water, 17 degrees Celsius, waist deep)
  • Elevation gain is 150 m (between road and mountain top)
  • 20 m traverse using rope and harness
  • 2 days and 1 night in jungle and caves

 

Hang Tien Endeavor

Please make sure that your health is suitable for these activities with ease.

  • 8 km jungle and mountain trekking, rocky terrain
  • River crossings
  • 5.5 km caving
  • 2 days and 1 night camping in the jungle
  • Requirements:
    Basic trekking experience
    Note: Be prepared for your shoes to get very wet due to river crossings!

Oxalis Adventure Tours staff (cave expert or guide) reserves the right to decline, accept or retain any person as a member of any party at any time without compensation or refund due to safety issue.

Please check Frequently Asked Questions or chat with us if you have any questions.

Tu Lan Expedition

The Tu Lan Expedition is moderate-to-hard for anyone who considers themselves physically fit and who participates in regular outdoor activities, and not suitable for those without trekking experience. Please make sure that you have basic trekking experience, you are able to swim and your health is suitable for these activities with ease.

  • About 30 km jungle and mountain trekking, rocky terrain
  • About 5 km caving
  • About 800 m swimming in caves (from 100 m – 300 m each cave)
  • Elevation change up to 300 m (between valley and top of mountain – total of 1750m of ascent)
  • 1 abseil in a cave (in the dark)
  • 4 days and 3 nights in jungle and caves

Oxalis Adventure Tours staff (cave expert or guide) reserves the right to decline, accept or retain any person as a member of any party at any time without compensation or refund due to safety issue.

Please check Frequently Asked Questions or chat with us if you have any questions.

Son Doong Expedition

Please make sure that your health is suitable for these activities with ease.

  • 50 km jungle and mountain trekking
  • Elevation change up to 400m (between road and valleys)
  • Surface river crossing: 40 times (knee deep, 10-50m wide river)
  • 10 km caving including rope climbs, rocky terrain and scrambling
  • 80m descent with rope and harnesses
  • Underground river-strong current crossing
  • 5 days and 4 nights in caves
  • Requirements:
    • Regular running, trekking, caving or rock climbing (at least once per month). Other outdoor pursuits may be considered
    • Strong legs and good balance
    • Previous multi-day treks
    • General good health and fitness
      Note: Be prepared for your shoes to get very wet due to many river crossings!

Oxalis Adventure Tours staff (cave expert or guide) reserves the right to decline, accept or retain any person as a member of any party at any time without compensation or refund due to safety issue. This tour is not for those with limited outdoor/trekking experience, poor medical condition, nor is it for children or expectant mothers.

Please check Frequently Asked Questions or chat with us if you have any questions.

We Will Provide

  • Caving & safety gear: caving helmet, caving headlight, gloves, harness
  • Camping gear: hammock (with mosquito net), camp light, sleeping bag
  • Semi dry bag (for clothing and personal belongings excl. electronics) for inside your backpack
  • Basic canvas trekking boots (only if you do not have your own pair) sizes 36 – 46
  • Meals: picnic lunch (Day 1), BBQ dinner (Day 1), breakfast (Day 2), lunch (Day 2)
  • Professional English-speaking tour guide and guide safety assistant
  • Porter team to carry all camping gear and prepare meals
  • Shared dry box for phones and small cameras (limited availability for larger cameras)
  • Water filter and purifier (used only by guide and porters)
  • Basic camping facilities with eco-friendly compost toilet using Western toilet seat
  • First Aid Kit and Medical Rescue Equipment (application by guides and porters only)

In addition to the standard provisions Oxalis will also provide on this photography tour the following:

  • Special headlamp for photo tours only (Hope R2, 1500 lumens)
  • Underwater light torches
  • 2 Photography lights (R8, 3000 lumens)
  • Charging pack for camera batteries (limited quantity – availability depends on group size)
  • A set of walkie-talkies
  • Use of guides as photography models
  • General assistance regarding lighting the caves

You Will Need

  • Your own camera and lens
  • Tripods (this should fit in your daypack)
  • Related camera equipment such as batteries, lens tissues/cloths (there is a chance of lenses steaming up)
  • Dry bag for general trekking gear if you feel more confident with your own; Oxalis provides semi-dry bags
  • Additional dry box for camera gear/lenses
  • Some small towels to protect your camera in the dry box, and to dry your hands during photography
  • 1 long (easy to dry) pants and 1 long sleeved shirt to wear during the trek (quick dry)
  • 1 pair of trekking boots/shoes – difficult terrain, good footwear necessary. Gore-Tex/waterproof boots are NOT recommended as they do not drain well
  • 2 pair of calf-length, densely woven socks (not ankle socks!)
  • 1 backpack to hold personal items
  • 1 pair of flip flop (sandals) for campsite
  • 1 small towel
  • 1 set of camp clothes (shorts are okay for around camp; please bring a fleece in winter)
  • 1 change of clothes for after the tour
  • Personal items: mosquito repellent, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, camera, underwear, toiletries

If you are trekking in the colder months (February – March) please bring additional warm clothes for the evening and an extra change of long pants and shirt for swimming.

Please note this itinerary is a guide only and the tour will be slow and steady as guests feel the need to set up for particular shots. A lightweight windproof jacket may be useful, as moving slowly and stopping for photographs can get chilly in wet clothes.

Pricing And Availability

Our Hang Va Photogaphy Challenge is available only twice per month. We are strictly limited to 8 guests per departure. Therefore, it is advised to book in advance to secure your place.

This tour is operated from February to August (closed from September to January).

FAQ: Hang Va Expedition

What if I am a solo traveler, can I join a group?

Solo travelers are most welcome and make up a large percentage of most groups.

Why do I have to sign your Release Form?
Which months of the year do you run this tour?

This tour runs from early February to late August of each year. While you can see exquisite pools of turquoise water with many tower cone formations rising out of the pools between February and April, the weather can be colder. It would be the coolest choice to escape from the heat in summer time from May to August, but the pools may be lower.

Can I arrive in Phong Nha on the morning of the tour and depart Phong Nha directly after the tour?

Yes and yes. This tour starts with pickup between 8:00 – 8:30 am in Phong Nha and returns around 5:00 – 5:30 pm the following evening. You would be able to arrive on the tour morning by night bus from Hanoi or by train from many destinations. You would be able to depart by night bus to Hanoi or by train heading either north or south. Please be advised that there are neither early morning flights nor late evening flights, which would accommodate arriving on tour morning or departing directly after the tour; only buses and trains are available at these times.

Why is this tour ranked Adventure Level 4 when it’s just a 2-day tour?

This tour is ranked Adventure Level 4 due to several reasons. These include the use of special technical equipment such as harnesses, safety lines, and ropes. There is a tricky hill scrambling part and narrow passages, which are longer and harder than on our lower adventure level tours. You must also traverse the river in order to fully explore the cave.

What makes this tour so special?

This tour is made special by the unique tower cone formations, which are very rare across the world! The tower cones take thousands of years to form and all were formed underwater.

Why is this tour a perfect choice for photography?

This tour is a perfect choice for photography due to the extra Hope technology lighting that your tour guide will bring in on each tour. The lighting will be used to illuminate the formations making for magical photography conditions.

Why is the number of participants so limited for this tour?

Due in part to its unique formations, the cave is extremely delicate. In efforts to keep it well conserved, we only bring in small tour groups to this cave.

How far in advance do I need to book this tour? How will I know my tour is confirmed?

We recommend booking this tour as soon as you can, as it’s one of our most popular tours. After you make a booking, a member of our team will follow up within 48 hours with your invoice, payment link, and further tour information.

How can I pay? Can I pay via credit card? What is your cancellation policy?

You can pay via credit card through the online payment link we will provide you with. We use the online payment platform OnePay which accepts Visa and Mastercard. If you live in Vietnam, you have other option to make a bank transfer.

Our cancellation policy for this tour requires a 7 day advance notice: if we receive your cancellation 7 days or more in advance of your tour, we will provide you a full refund. We do not provide refunds for tours cancelled less than 7 days prior to tour departure.

What can I do with the things that I don’t want to bring with me on tour? Can I leave them at your office?

You are welcome to leave behind extra luggage at our office. Anything you choose to leave behind will get tagged and placed securely in our locked storage room, however please note that Oxalis takes no responsibility for luggage or valuables left behind. Please do not bring anything of major value with you as we will not be responsible for these items.

Highlights of the tour?

Highlights include the rare tower cone formations, technical caving sections, and the unique experience of hiking in the jungle where you will see no other tourist groups or people other than your tour.

How can I get to Phong Nha?

Please check the Arrival & Departure Guide on our website for more information

Where can I stay in Phong Nha?

Please check the Accommodation Guide on our website for more information

For more questions and answers, please visit our full FAQ page. We have collected lots of common questions that you might share with our previous customers.

If you still have questions about this tour, please contact our local travel specialists who will be happy to answer all your questions