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Hang En Cave

Hang En Cave (Hang Én) is the world’s 3rd largest cave, succeeded only by Deer Cave in Malaysia and Hang Son Doong, also located here in the Cave Kingdom of Vietnam, 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 quickly becoming one of the most recognisable and impressive caverns on the planet. Deep in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, the two day, one night adventure has been said to have the biggest ‘wow’ factor in all of Vietnam.

Towering limestone mountains pierce through the jungle canopy as the Rao Thuong River meanders its way through the lush valley. For 10km the remote forest path zig zags across the flowing waterway, the awe-inspiring views only interrupted by clouds of swarming butterflies. You would be forgiven for believing you have been transported back in time to a prehistoric era; a world still completely untouched by humans. Dew sits delicately atop enormous fern leaves and birds join in with insects to provide a cacophony of chirping and humming in the background. Nothing could possibly surpass the natural beauty surrounding you on all sides. And then the cave’s opening appears.

Entering Hang En through a broad slit in the cliff, you wander through the mystical passageway towards monstrous boulders. The trail weaves its way to a high point as penetrating sunlight illuminates the way forward. Climbing over one last peak rewards you with the breathtaking view of your night’s campsite – A wide, sandy beach fringing an aquamarine lake completely engulfed by the enormous cave.

The massive chamber is not the end however, as another narrow passage takes you to the backside of Hang En. The ceiling reaches dizzying heights as you scramble up a large rocky outcrop to lay eyes upon the most surreal scene of the entire journey – The immense arched exit of the cave, its colossal size defying your perception of possibility.

Hang En Cave Exploration

Hang En Cave Discovery

Meaning ‘swift’ cave after the millions of swifts that inhabit the chamber, Hang En was first explored by British caving experts in 1994, although its location has been known for centuries. Ethnic minorities from nearby villages, such as the Bru Van Kieu of Ban Doong, have used Hang En as a shelter during strong storms and as a hunting ground for local free climbers, who would scale the inverted walls to collect the nesting swifts to be eaten as a delicacy.

Ho Khanh, who discovered Hang Son Doong in 1990, explored Hang En countless times during his extensive forays into the jungle. These days the most accessible entrance to Son Doong passes directly through Hang En.

Size of Hang En Cave

Currently considered to be the third-largest cave in the world, Hang En stretches for over 2km into the karsts of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. There are three entrances to Hang En, with the largest and most famous one being over 120m tall and 140m across.

With the dense jungle forming the backdrop on the outside the cave, it is a sight that must really be seen to be believed. In some sections, the chambers are 100m high and 180m wide, so vast that even the beams from powerful headlamps barely reach the edges of the walls.

Geology of the Cave

The 3 million years old wet cave was carved out by the powerful Rao Thuong River as it cuts its way through the Annamite Mountains. While the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park contains the oldest karst system in Asia, between 400-450 million years old, Hang En owes its relatively young age thanks to its location on the edge of a fault zone.

Every wet season the Rao Thuong floods to inconceivable heights, constantly eroding more and more of the limestone away as the cave continues to grow in size.

Vietnam Tours

Ban Doong Village

To reach Hang En, adventurers must first pass through the Ban Doong ethnic minority village. The only village located in the area, less than 40 people makes up the population of Ban Doong. Life is tough for the minority people here, due to their isolation from the outside world.

Access is only possible by foot, and the dense jungles surrounding Ban Doong prohibit the cultivation of most crops. The discovery of the nearby Hang Son Doong and the subsequent expeditions that now pass through the village have seen new opportunities arise for the community, who now can earn extra income by working closely with Oxalis to protect the conservation of the area. For many people, being able to visit Ban Doong and meet its welcoming villagers becomes a highlight of their trip. Ban Doong offers a view of way of life that has been unchanged for centuries.

Hang En Cave Trekking & Camping Tour

For 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. It costs VND 7,600,000 per person (USD 330).

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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).

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/

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