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Explore Bong Lai Valley

The Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park in the central region of Vietnam holds some of the most beautiful natural assets in all of Asia and even the world. Mountains, rivers, caves, jungles, valleys, you name it! When you travel to Phong Nha, you’ll surely find a wide array of activities to choose from, places to see, things to try, traditions to learn and much more!

It would interest you to know that Phong Nha –Ke Bang National Park is home to some of the world’s most gigantic and astonishing caves; the most prominent ones being the world’s biggest cave – Son Doong, the third largest cave in the world – Hang En, the cave with the rarest cave formations ever seen – Hang Va, one of the most marvelous and extraordinarily mysterious cave systems in the world – Tu Lan Cave System and other tourist caves like the Phong Nha Cave, Paradise Cave and Dark Cave.

Apart from the numerous majestic caves of the region, Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park is also home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes and countryside you’ll ever come across in Asia, the most significant area being the Bong Lai Valley! Visiting the Bong Lai Valley is one of the top things to do in Phong Nha.

About the Bong Lai Valley

 

Bong Lai Valley is a beautiful rural valley in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park area and is interlinked with farms and small villages. If you’re looking to relax on a hammock for a day and watch the sunset with a cold beer, this is the place to be. All you need is a bike and a map for exploring this valley. Explore mountains and indigenous villages with lots of picturesque sights. It’s ideal to end your day by enjoying the traditional grilled chicken and beer.

What makes Bong Lai Valley so popular amongst travellers are the serpentine roads that lead up to it and wind through it, complimented by the surreal landscapes and silhouettes you’ll see in the area. The seemingly infinite flat rice fields are gorgeously brought to life by the surrounding towering Karst Mountains and hills. All you need to do is grab a bike and set out for a wonderful ride to the Bong Lai valley, where you’ll feel fresh air like never before, as you make your way through the glorious countryside. The countryside that is seen through the Bong Lai Valley is highlighted by some rustic and very beautiful watering holes while you’re on your way.

What makes Bong Lai Valley unique

 

The gorgeous Bong Lai Valley is a place that you can spend your whole day exploring and spending time in. There is no entrance fee to visit the Bong Lai Valley and as mentioned above, all you need is a bike and a map to enjoy this poetic place in its true essence. If you wish to do it on foot, you can do a walking round trip of 12 KM.

The serenity found in the Bong Lai Valley in unparalleled and the level of relaxation a traveller can get here is very high compared to the Phong Nha town itself! This is mainly due to the fact that this area is not entirely commercialized like other areas and serves travellers with the perfect blend of peace and things to do while there!

Place to visit in Bong Lai Valley

 

Bong Lai Valley is one of the top must-see places in Phong Nha and is home of some very beautiful and ideally located spots. The top places to see in Bong Lai Valley are as follows:

The Duck Stop

This place ranks right up on top as one of the things to do in Phong Nha and Bong Lai Valley. On this unusual and amusing tour, you’ll be spending your time at Mr. Quynh’s farm, known as the Duck Stop. Quynh and his family offer travellers a very extraordinary and fun experience at their farm with the perfect taste of the rural life and local lifestyle!

You’ll be surrounded by playful and cute ducks all around and a giant water buffalo. This place guarantees refreshment, peanuts, other snacks and you can feed the ducks, click funny pictures or even ride the one ton water buffalo named Donald Trump! Don’t forget to pick up some Phong Nha Black Pepper while you’re at the Duck Stop!

Pub with cold beer

The Pub with Cold Beer is considered to be the premier watering spot of Bong Lai Valley that catered to the thirsty tourists. As the name suggests, this place serves cold and refreshing drinks and accentuates the entire experience with some very farm fresh food! This place will bring you joy with its highly lively atmosphere and make your taste buds happy with the extremely fresh chicken they serve as a specialty. Everything that you eat here is organic and is grown in the villages.

As you place your order for some fresh chicken, you can spend time floating down the river on a tube that you can rent off them. You can also choose to relax in a hammock with a cold beer in hand and watch the sunset in the distance, as you cherish the tranquility engulfing you.

Bong Lai Swing Nature Farm (Wild Boar Eco Farm)

When you make your way further down the rather shabby off road track, the continuing dirt track of some kilometers away from the “The Pub with Cold Beer” will lead you to the amazing Bong Lai Swing Nature Farm (a.k.a the Wild Boar Eco Farm). Similar to the Pub with Cold Beer, the Bong Lai Swing Nature Farm (Wild Boar Eco Farm) completely lives up to its name and serves lip smacking freshly prepared pork and other delicacies along with chilled beer!

This place has a comparatively more rural setting and will help you get some surreal views of the flowing river nearby. You will probably meet Mr. Cuong and his family there and can visit their massive house there or even swim around in the river. You could also enjoy the large swing activity at Bong Lai Swing Nature Farm with care since we can not guarantee about the standard of safety of this activity. Once you cross this location, you’ll be faced with seemingly unending jungles, as this is very well where the road ends.

Moi Moi Restaurant

The Moi Moi Restaurant in Bong Lai Valley is a very lively spot that offers travellers some delicious food options! This restaurant is based in a rubber plantation and on a relatively small farm. The farm grows cassava, pepper, corn and watermelons amongst other crops.

We recommend you to try the “Pork cooked in Bamboo” and the vegetarian peanut dumplings known as “Banh Loc” in Vietnamese.

Pepperhouse Homestay

Phong Nha homestays are growing in number, with each homestay offering quality services to guests. Amongst all these wonderful homestay accommodations coming into the picture, there are new homestays opened everyday that stole our heart away with their lovely infrastructure, location, facilities and the things they offer.

This wonderful little homestay in Bong Lai Valley is great for a chilled beer as you dip yourself in the lovely swimming pool on a late afternoon. The owner, Ms. Diem, would be more than happy to converse with you and trade stories about the early days of the Bong Lai Valley and life in the countryside.

Visiting the Bong Lai Valley

 

To reiterate, the most ideal way to visit and explore the Bong Lai Valley is on a motorbike or a bicycle (preferably a decent mountain bike). You can rent a motorbike in Phong Nha town or can get to the valley with the help of an Easy Rider, where you get to ride pillion with a licensed and experienced local rider; this is considered to be a very safe and reasonably priced way to travel. Make sure you leave early in the morning, enjoy throughout the day and return before it gets dark.

The road to the Bong Lai Valley stretches across the South right off the Ho Chi Minh Highway East. The turnoff point is around 6 KM to the East of the Phong Nha town and if you find yourself on the road leading to the Pepper House Homestay or a gas station nearby, you’ll have to turn around as you’ve gone a bit too far.

You’ll find that the dirt road runs along the edges of a beautiful river and you will have unforgettable views of farmlands, hills and the astonishing river valley!

One of the top things to do in Phong Nha, visiting Bong Lai Valley absolutely deserves to be on your Phong Nha Travel itinerary!

Oxalis Adventure Tours

ONE DAY TOURS

If you are seeking a taste of the caves and really don’t have enough time then we recommend a one-day cave and jungle trek. We currently have three tour options for you to select, each with a slightly different style and suitability.

• Phong Nha National Park 1-DayOur family adventure in the Phong Nha offers a great taste of untouched jungle and impressive wild caves. It is the easiest level of adventure but there is still 5km of trekking and 2km of caving, and optional swimming during warmer weather into one cave. It’s suitable for kids from 12 and above with good fitness, and so this makes for a great day for everyone! It costs VND 1,650,000 per person (USD 72).

• Tu Lan Experience – 1 DayThis is one of our original one-day tours and still one of the best adventures in Vietnam. This one-day tour includes rock scrambling, 50m swimming through a wild river-cave, and up to 9 km of trekking through the lush jungles. You will also strap yourself in for a 15m descent down a ladder. It costs VND 1,800,000 (USD 78) per person.

• Hang Tien Discovery – 1 DayThis one-day tour is perfect for trekking enthusiasts eager to see the largest cave of Tu Lan but without time for the two-day experience. Hang Tien is a dry cave so no swimming required, but still includes up to 4km of trekking through mostly flat jungle and about 500m exploring this incredible cave that will no doubt impress with its grandeur. It costs VND 2,000,000 per person (USD 87).

TWO DAY TOURS

Our most popular cave adventures start from two-days providing an immersive jungle and caving adventure, each targeting a slightly different kind of adventure-seeker, or perfect for those who want to combine a couple of tours to see different caves and areas on one trip to Phong Nha.

• Tu Lan Cave Encounter – 2 DaysOur most popular tour exploring the famous jungle area of Tu Lan. On this overnight camping excursion, you will trek through a number of different dry caves, swim up to 500m through a couple of river caves, witness outstanding cascading waterfalls underground as featured in National Geographic, and spend the night at our jungle camp beside a gorgeous waterfall. It includes 12km of trekking and 3km of caving in total and is for those with a good adventurous spirit. It costs VND 5,500,000 per person (USD 239).

• Hang En Cave Adventure – 2 DaysFor two days, this is our best-value-for-money tour that includes one of the most jaw-dropping natural landscapes you will see in this lifetime. This cave is considered the second largest cave in Vietnam and third largest in the World, and it also makes up one night of the original five-day Son Doong Cave Expedition being so close to the largest cave in the world. It includes visiting Ban Doong Ethnic Village, located in the jungle, and a magnificent campsite on a sandy beach inside the cave. It includes 22km of jungle trekking at times quite rocky, multiple knee-deep river crossings, and elevation change of 400m (the ‘hill’ you won’t forget), and 4km of caving. This is a level 3 adventure on a scale of 1 to 6. It costs VND 7,600,000 per person (USD 330).

• Hang Tien Endeavor – 2 DaysA two-day trek into the jungle to see the largest dry cave of the Tu Lan area, exploring 5.5km of this truly stunning cave, with a variety of karst formations. This 13km trek is suitable for those not too keen on cave swimming or too many hills, but still up for an adventure. This is a level 4 adventure between 1 and 6, with 6 being the most challenging. It costs VND 6,500,000 per person (USD 283).

• Hang Va Expedition – 2 DaysA technically challenging, but equally rewarding two-day caving adventure in the heart of Phong Nha National Park. This tour takes you deep into the jungle to one of the most spectacular river-caves, with formations not seen anywhere else in the world! It involves rock scrambling, wading through an underground river, bouldering and rope-traversing within the cave, to reach the rarest tower cone formations. This involves quite a lot of technical work due to safety, but is not overly difficult, it includes 10km of trekking and 3 km of caving.  This is a level 4 adventure, with 6 being the highest. It costs VND 8,000,000 per person (USD 348).

THREE-DAY TOURS

Now, if you really want to increase the adventure and soak up the wild jungle of Vietnam, with plenty of time to relax and enjoy the area, we highly recommend a three-day caving tour of our Tu Lan or Hang Tien.

• Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer – 3 DaysThis tour incorporates the very best of Tu Lan with two different jungle campsites besides stunning waterfalls, 3km of cave exploring through a number of caves, 1km of cave swimming and visiting some additional areas not included on our shorter experiences. Our three-day tour is very popular and tends to be booked out so get in quick to enjoy this thrilling jungle adventure. It includes 17 km of jungle trekking and with quite a bit of swimming you will need to have a good level of fitness. It is not for the faint-hearted, but still only considered level 3 adventure level compared to level 4 of the Hang Tien 3-day tour. It costs VND 8,000,000 per person (USD 348).

• Hang Tien Exploration – 3 DaysThis three-day tour stands out for combining a taste of Tu Lan with some river cave swimming, before crossing a mountain range to reach the valley for Hang Tien – the most astounding dry caves in the region, where you will enjoy trekking, bouldering over various rocky terrains to witnessing breathtaking patterned calcite walls & ceilings of Hang Tien. It’s challenging and definitely more suited to adventure enthusiasts who have trekking experience and prefer more challenging routes. It includes a total of 22km of trekking, 6.5 km of caving and an elevation change of 150m over one particular hillside. You will get wet, you will be challenged, but you will not be disappointed. Hang Tien is located adjacent to the Tu Lan area so you will enjoy the best of both worlds – a level 4 adventure out of 6 adventure levels. It costs VND 8,500,000 per person (USD 370).

FOUR & FIVE-DAY TOURS

For those looking for the ultimate adventure experience in Vietnam, and thriving for the real grand expedition of the world, you should opt for these 4-day journeys to explore the entire cave system of Tu Lan and the largest cave on Earth

• Tu Lan Expedition – 4 DaysYou will also explore all of the extraordinary caves in Tu Lan, including Kim Cave and Secret Cave that boasts phenomenal natural falls and karst formations inside these two unbelievable river caves. Complete a trek through Hang Tien Cave – famed for its vastness and magnificent formations. Our secluded jungle campsites are spectacular and mostly different from those visited on our shorter treks in the same region. This is a perfect alternative expedition for those who are unable to do Son Doong Expedition, still it’s challenging and not recommended for those without experience. It includes an additional night at Chay Lap Farmstay before the tour to ensure you are well rested and ready to depart early the following day. Level 5 on our 6 adventure levels. It includes 30km of jungle trekking, 5 km of caving, about 800m swimming through caves and one abseil in a cave in the pitch black – highly adventurous! It costs VND 15,000,000 per person (USD 652).

• Son Doong Expedition – 4 DaysBy now you would have seen some pictures of Son Doong Cave, and even they don’t do it justice. The record-breaking Son Doong Cave is hands-down one of the most stunning places on this planet Earth. The expedition is tough, but not too difficult so long as you have a strong resolve to achieve. It is surely one of the newest wonders of the world. Son Doong is not just another cave tour – it is life-changing to say the least. It includes 25km of trekking, 9 km caving including rope climbs, and the 90m ascent of the Great Wall of Vietnam using a ladder, elevation change of 400m and many river crossings inside and outside the cave. Level 6 on our adventure levels. It costs VND 69,800,000 per person (USD 3000).

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?  Visit our FAQs section where we have a lot of answers for your questions and concerns. https://oxalis.com.vn/faq-general/

WANT TO SEE VIDEOS OF OUR TOURS? Visit our youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/OxalisAdventurTours

WANT TO CHAT LIVE WITH OUR ADVENTURE CONSULTANT? Please look at the green icon at the right corner on your screen below to talk to our Adventure Consultant.