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Trekking routes that connect 10 caves

Caves are undoubtedly one of the most mysterious and special creations of nature; exploring them has redefined the entire adventure and exploration gamut. Our planet is blessed with plenty of caves that come in different shapes, sizes and conditions. Some contain huge subterranean worlds within them, while the others are rather easy to locate and explore. All in all, it is common for big cave systems to contain numerous caves within; however, it is relatively rare to find a cave system that has over 10 giant caves (both wet and dry) connected by trekking trails like Tu Lan Cave System in Quang Binh province, Vietnam.

About Quang Binh Province

Quang Binh provincein Vietnam’s central region is considered to be one of the best places in Vietnam as it is home to the most beautiful sights seen in all of Asia and even the world. Mountains, rivers, caves, jungles, valleys or even beaches, you will find it all here!

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Known as the ‘Cave Kingdom’ with more than 300 magnificent caves in the region, Quang Binh province owns the biggest and most awe inspiring caves on Earth; 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 spectacular caves like the Phong Nha cave, Paradise Cave and Dark Cave.

In this article, we’ll particularly talk about the Tu Lan Cave System which is home to over 10 magnificent caves, both wet and dry.

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Inside Hang Va (Oxalis Adventure)
9 View looking into camp in Hang En

About Tu Lan Cave System

Tu Lan cave system is absolutely distinctive! This cave system is formed of over 10 caves that are considered to be some of Vietnam’s top caves and you can do a variety of tours with Oxalis Adventure to explore this cave system; from 1-day to 4-days. This giant cave system is based in the Tan Hoa commune, located 70 KM away from the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park. It will also interest you to know that the Hollywood Blockbuster Kong: Skull Island was filmed here!

Exploring Tu Lan cave system will see you trekking through remote, untouched jungles; crossing buffalo fields; being surrounded by giant, looming, limestone mountains on all sides; and plunging into deep, cool, underground rivers that wind gracefully through mountains and river valleys alike.

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Swimming in Hung Ton Cave - Oxalis Adventure
To Mo Valley

Aside from the beauty though, it’s the adventure of swimming through the river caves that makes this tour unmatchable to anything else around. The campsites will treat you to some of the most amazing views of nature as you even get to camp facing a waterfall. If you’re truly passionate about adventure, make sure you don’t miss this adventure tour on your Phong Nha travel plan.

On the Tu Lan Expedition of 4 days and 3 nights, you get to explore 10 caves in one adventure tour! Let’s talk more about the trekking routes that connect the 10 caves of the Tu Lan Cave System.

4 Days 3 Nights – 10 Caves!

Trekking route on Day 1:

On the Tu Lan Expedition, the trek gets underway with a hike across peanut and buffalo fields (2.5 km) to the Rao Nan River. After crossing the river, you will go through the first cave of this expedition called Secret Cave. The journey within Secret Cave then proceeds forward with a trek to Hung Ton Cave entrance. Caving inside Secret Cave and the following trek to Hung Ton takes about half an hour.

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Tu Lan Campsite - Oxalis Adventure
Secret Cave (Oxalis Adventure)
Ben trong hang Ken nhin ra (Ryan Deboodt)

From Hung Ton, you will trek through the jungle to the Tu Lan Campsite. After resting and freshening up at the campsite, you will be swimming into Ken Cave to the photo viewpoint where a famous picture of this cave was taken.

Trekking route on Day 2:

You will make your way to the Tu Lan Cave, the cave that coined the name of the expedition. After visiting the Tu Lan Dry Cave, you will abseil down (15 m) into the river passage of Tu Lan Wet Cave. You will either swim or boat out of the cave (exit mode depends on season/weather).

Inside Tu Lan Dry Cave (Ryan Deboodt)
Kim cave (Oxalis Adventure)
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Tháng nước thứ 2 bên trng hang tú làn (Ryan Deboodt)
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Hang Kim is next, and you’ll enter via the dry entrance, follow the dry passage to the underground river and swim through the cave to exit into the picturesque To Mo Valley. Then, you will swim into Ton Cave, explore the dry passage and climb up the ladder to exit the cave. It takes a further 2.5 hours to trek to La Ken Valley and then you’ll reach the Hung Dung Campsite where you can enjoy swimming in the natural pools.

Trekking route on Day 3:

Trek over a hill through the legendary jungle of Tu Lan Cave System and cross Hung Nhai Valley to the bottom of the hill. Enjoy its fertile valleys; breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy every moment of it. You will then reach a tranquil magnificent blue lagoon located right in the middle of the jungle surrounded by rocks. This kind of scenery is rare in the world, it makes you wish you could stop the time and live in this moment forever.

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Ngo Tran Hai An - Tu Lan Cave System (89)

Here you’ll be able to enjoy a refreshing swim, and capture some excellent photos when the sun goes down. Your campsite of the night will be right beside the lagoon where you reinvigorate for your upcoming exploration of Hang Tien 1 and Hang Tien 2 the following day.

Trekking route on Day 4:

This is the final day of the trek where you will hike to the largest cave in Tu Lan Cave System, Hang Tien. Known as Fairy Cave, Hang Tien has two sections and you will explore both on this day. Hang Tien 1 lies beyond a field of boulders and the entrance is magnificent. Rimstone pools are stacked high and add to the magical feeling of this cave. You will travel deeper into Hang Tien cave then continue the journey through Hang Tien 1 to its exit and then through Hang Tien 2 before making your way back.

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Inside Hang Tien 2 (Ryan Deboodt)
Inside Hang Tien 1(Ryan Deboodt)
Cave formations in Hang Tien 2 Cave (Ryan Deboodt)

You can enjoy a filling lunch on the return through Hang Tien, at the exit of Hang Tien 1. You will then proceed back through Hang Tien 1. After that, you will trek over the hill back to the trailhead.

Adventure is one of the top reasons to visit Vietnam and this adventure itinerary of the Tu Lan Expedition is truly one of a kind as it will challenge you to push your limits and seize the glory of exploring 10 spectacular caves in 4 days! The above mentioned trekking routes will have you in the heart of the wild and you’re bound to enjoy every moment of it to the fullest, if adventure is your thing.

Other than that, you can consider to join in shorter routes in Tu Lan Cave System as listed:

This 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).

This 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).

Our 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 good adventurous spirit. It costs VND 5,500,000 per person (USD 239).

A 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 a 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).

This 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 decent down a ladder. It costs VND 1,800,000 (USD 78) per person.

This 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).

Still not sure which adventure would be ideal for you? Check out How to select the right Oxalis Adventure or Package Tours to Experience Phong Nha to choose your best adventure!

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

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