Tu Lan Caving

In recent years Vietnam has become famous for its incredible system of limestone caves, including the largest in the world, Son Doong which has its own microclimate! While not quite on that scale, Tu Lan is definitely an adventure and gives you the chance to experience stunning caverns without taking on a full expedition. This tour makes a great stop on an overland journey from Hanoi southwards.

Day 1: Morning arrival in Dong Hoi on the overnight train from Hanoi, then transfer to Phong Nha for breakfast before venturing off to the village of Tan Hoa, located 70km away. After a safety briefing and gear check, the trek begins with a 2.5 km walk across fields of peanut crops, past giant water buffaloes and towering corn stalks, down to the Rao Nan River. Then the adventure steps up a gear with a 30m climb up a rocky hill to a small jungle opening where you can catch your breath before a 100m descent down to Hung Ton Valley.

Enjoy lunch at the Hung Ton Cave opening before tackling the trek from Hung Ton Valley over to Mango Mountain, then back down into Tu Lan Valley (3 km). By mid-afternoon, Tu Lan campsite will be on the horizon, where a swim in the beautiful waterfall awaits. Afternoon activities include exploring and swimming through Ken Cave, located next to the campsite, then it’s back to camp for a delicious BBQ dinner. Sleep will come easily in comfortable hammocks or tents set up amongst the trees! (B,L,D)

Day 2: The second day starts with a hearty breakfast and more cave exploration. Wake yourself up with a brief swim across the river to Tu Lan Cave entrance, where you will break to enjoy the blue lagoon before making your way 180m downstream into the heart of Tu Lan cave system. There will be some climbing and squeezing as you explore the dry part up to the exit, then trek a short way to the Kim Cave dry entrance. Stay for a while to watch out for a natural window in Kim Cave and you’ll then be off on a swim (450m) and trek (500m) through Hang Kim to To Mo Valley.

A picnic lunch will be served next to a stunning waterfall by Hung Ton cave mouth. Continue along a dry path before swimming out through Hung Ton wet cave. The adventure finishes by traversing a final dry passage and then trekking down into Hung Ton Valley (800 m). Arrival in Tan Hoa is followed by a welcome chance to take in the scenery with a cold drink in hand. Showers are available for those who would like to clean up and change before departing back to Phong Nha around 16:00 to arrive in Phong Nha by 18:00-18:30. (B,L)