24 year old visually impaired Austrian man explores caves in Vietnam
There’s a thin line separating ordinary from the extraordinary, and only a few have the courage to cross that line into a world of glory.
From Austria to Tu Lan Cave System
Meet Patrick Bitzinger! This 24 year old Austrian gentleman has a superpower that makes him an exemplary representation of the word “B-R-A-V-E”. When life threw a challenge at him in the form of visual impairment, he decided to face it with the spirit of a warrior, he indeed trains rigorously and hones his skills of swimming, cycling and running everyday.
Patrick and his lovely friends Annika Kafka & Nathalie Podda-Prewett, decided on traveling to Vietnam seeking the adventure of a lifetime. Having been friends for over 5 years, this wonderful trio has a special bond indeed! Much to our privilege & happiness, we had the opportunity to give these amazing people #TheOxalisExperience!
The Tu Lan Cave Encounter awaited them in the mystical jungles of the Tan Hoa commune. Before it all began, Patrick’s well-being on the tour was something we were slightly apprehensive about; since safety is one of our top priorities for all our adventure tours.
With careful consideration, we Oxalis arranged for their tour to be a private one with two safety assistants and two tour guides, namely Hung and Sang, as it would allow us to be best prepared for the challenges and also cater to their itinerary with highest suitability.
With excitement running through everyone’s veins, we embarked on a rather unusual adventure!
Here comes the real adventure into caves & jungles
With minor struggle and just a few slips here and there, Patrick tremendously outshined all the challenges that we expected him to face as we trekked into the dense jungle.
Annika, Nathalie and our tour guide Hung described the surroundings in the best manner and the smile on his face indicated that he could imagine it well. Every now and then, we’d find Patrick laughing and smiling while in conversation with everyone. With sweat slowly trickling down his face, Patrick ever so softly held onto the strap of our safety assistant’s backpack to be able to navigate through the rocky terrain.
There it was! The entrance of the mysterious cave stood powerfully in front of us and Annika described this scene to Patrick as Hung, Sang and our porters prepared the caving gear. With our Petzl Helmets & headlamps on, we ventured into the inviting darkness of the beautiful cave.
Once inside, Patrick’s stellar fitness allowed him to breeze through the difficult sections of the cave with very basic assistance from our team. Hung held his hand and helped him feel the fascinating formations in the cave!
As we got inside the pleasantly cold water inside the cave and began to swim, Annika, a swimming coach, could be seen beautifully getting across like a dolphin! Patrick had held onto the strap of our safety assistant’s bag with one hand and nonchalantly swam with the other! Nathalie was also thoroughly enjoying this cave swimming experience, while in informative conversation with Sang.
We trekked, caved, climbed, scrambled, swam and waded in the caves for several hours and the entirety of this adventure was made way more special with Patrick’s remarkable passion for adventure, his immovable determination and the wholehearted support from the whole team!
Conquered! Tu Lan Cave System 2-Day Adventure.
With a day full of jungle & cave adventures behind us, we made it to our stunning riverside campsite set in the wild. Once done devouring our delicious Vietnamese food, we relaxed and traded stories over some fruits and local rice wine. There sat Patrick, with a genuine smile on his face, taking in all the sounds and smells of the gorgeous nature that surrounded us. He did it. Despite the challenges, despite skeptical popular opinion, Patrick conquered the Tu Lan Cave Encounter and made a permanent mark of respect & admiration in all our hearts.
One of the top things to do in Vietnam, Annika, Nathalie & Patrick have felt #TheOxalisExperience and made it to our hall of fame! What’s stopping you?
For tour information, please visit: https://oxalis.com.vn/tours/