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Here’s what it’s like to camp inside the world’s third largest cave – Hang En, Vietnam

“Nothing really compares to waking up and having coffee in the mouth of an enormous, beautiful cave with thousands of birds overhead”   

~ An adventurer after visiting Hang En

Hang En is the third largest cave on Earth and is based in the heart of Vietnam; the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park. Currently considered to be the 3rd largest cave in the world by volume after Hang Son Doong and Deer Cave in Malaysia, Hang En is certainly one of the most prominent and impressive caverns on the planet. This 3 million year old wet cave was carved out by the powerful Rao Thuong River as it cuts its way through the Annamite Mountains.

Deep in the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, local tour operator Oxalis Adventure conducts expeditions to Hang En that span over 2 days and 1 night. The Hang En 2 – Day Adventure is considered to be one of the best adventure tours, not just in Vietnam or Asia, but all over the world primarily because of how amazing the camping experience is. Read on to find out what’s so special about it!

Book your Hang En Adventure here:

Is the Hang En campsite inside the cave?

You would’ve guessed by the title that the campsite of Hang En is actually located inside it and you’re not mistaken at all to deduce so. As mentioned earlier, the Hang En cave is nestled deep inside the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park and hence you can be sure to have all the tranquility you seek while you’re in the lap of Vietnam’s wilderness.

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Photo: instagram.com/mikarlw91

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Photo: instagram.com/exploretheworld.world

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Photo: instagram.com/abroadersight/

One of the main factors that make the Hang En adventure one of the most unforgettable experiences in the world is the fact that you actually get to camp inside the cave. You would want to imagine sleeping inside the third largest cave on the planet, surrounded by an exceptional show of nature’s might and beauty and enjoy your life at its best. On most cave expeditions and adventures, the campsites are often set close to the cave’s entrance or a couple hundred meters away; the Hang En campsite, on the other hand, remains unique with its unconventional location and is sure to charm you in every way!

It’s a world within a world!

You will be entering Hang En through a broad slit in the cliff and wander through the mystical passageway towards monstrous boulders; the trail weaves its way to a high point as penetrating sunlight illuminates the way forward; you will then climb over one last peak rewards you with the breathtaking view of your campsite inside the cave – A wide, sandy beach fringing an aquamarine lake completely engulfed by the enormous cave. This is what the social media would truly call #TravelGoals!

8 Swimming pool at camp in Hang En

Photo: Ryan Deboodt

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Photo: Ryan Deboodt

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Photo: Ryan Deboodt

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Photo: instagram.com/popeyesbiscuit/

When you’re welcomed into the world of Hang En, you will not just be awe-struck by the cave’s beach campsite, but also the mammoth size and surroundings. It would interest you to know that Hang En is also popularly called the Swallow Cave, as it is home to thousands of swallows that you will hear adding to the symphony of nature when you’re there. The gigantic formations, the massive ceiling, the soft sands and the drop-dead gorgeous lake next to your tent and the sounds of Hang En will truly enrapture you.

Shall we go for a swim? 

Like we have mentioned above, one of the biggest highlights of the Hang En campsite is the fact that you get to enjoy a private natural pool as and when you feel like. You will adore sitting on the sandy banks of the azure lake inside the cave or swimming in it completely, as you don’t get have these kinds of experiences every day in life.

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Photo: Linh Bao Bui

Don’t be afraid if you’re not a swimmer, you will be given a buoyancy aid and the Oxalis Adventure tour guides and safety assistants will make sure you’re safe under all circumstances. So when you’re at the Hang En campsite, be one with the cave’s beach, soak up some sun and enjoy a dreamy dip!

You’re in for a feast!

Once you trek your way through the dense jungles of the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park and make it to the massive Hang En, your stomach would surely want to be rewarded with a filling meal and the Hang En campsite will certainly not disappoint.

On all tours of Oxalis Adventure, you will be treated to some of the best food you’d have had through all your travels across Vietnam. The porters and chefs who carry your luggage through the jungle at astonishing speeds, arrive at the campsite much in advance on the day of the tour. In the campsite’s kitchen area, they prepare food with the highest standards of hygiene and professionalism; the chefs always cater to the food preferences of the guests.

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So, when you have the Hang En camping experience, you won’t have to worry a bit about the food whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, meat lover or have any specific allergies, as the impressive variety of the dishes will be served keeping your convenience in mind. At the campsite, every meal is freshly cooked with the perfect ingredients to recharge your adventure struck body for the rest of the journey on day two. Apart from the meals, you will also be provided with a very large quantity of refined drinking water, coffee, tea and snacks that you can enjoy at the campsite’s dining area.

After an incredible day, it’s time to sleep.

When the fatigue starts to set in after a day filled with adventure, memorable moments, great conversations and delicious food, you will have your sleeping tents to take care of it the best way you can imagine.

Your sleeping tent comes equipped with two mattresses (hard and soft) to make sure your back gets the comfort it deserves. Apart from that, you will also find a pillow, mosquito net and a sleeping bag for those chilly nights; it is recommended to carry ear plugs if you’re a light sleeper, as the sounds of nature are not easy to ignore. The Hang En campsite will give you choices between single tents and double tents, so whether you’re traveling solo or with a partner, wegot your back! 

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Photo: instagram.com/marianalostabroad

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Photo: instagram.com/josephineskriver/

Nature’s calling?

Just like the rest of the campsites of Oxalis Adventure, the Hang En campsite also comes with modern-style composting toilets.

These composting toilets at the campsite have been structured and built very well and are strategically placed in the campsite, at the most appropriate distance from the sleeping tents, dining area and kitchen. After making use of the clean toilet seat, you will be using rice husk to cover as a replacement to water flushing; the rice husk drastically minimizes the smell and in some months, turns into a fertilizer. The composting toilets come equipped with toilet paper, hand sanitizers and room fresheners to give you the best toilet experience possible deep inside the wilderness.

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Home away from home

The level of beauty, comfort and convenience you’ll feel at the Hang En campsite is bound to make you feel like it’s a home away from home; a home for your adventurous soul! Besides the kitchen, composting toilets and sleeping area, you will also find a changing tent, where you can comfortably change and put on fresh clothes for the rest of the day.

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Photo: instagram.com/paradiespartner/

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Photo: Alex Anderson

Hang En Campsite - Jason Speth

Photo: Jason Speth

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Photo: Kenneth Lee

At the wonderful dining area, you can sit and trade adventure stories with your fellow travelers while sipping on some fantastic Vietnamese coffee or tea; just to remind you, all this happens while you’re actually inside the third largest cave on Earth. Bidding a fond adieu to the Hang En campsite will surely be one of the hardest goodbyes ever.

Still not sure which tour would suit you best? Check out How to select the right Oxalis adventure to get more clarity and if you’re a trekking enthusiast, be sure to have a look at Phong Nha: Best trekking adventures in Asia!

Book Hang En 2-Day Adventure here:

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.