3 Days Caves and Nature at Phong Nha National Park
3 Days Caves and Nature
at Phong Nha National Park
True adventure with a sustainable theme in the green heart of adventurous Vietnam
WHY THIS TOUR?
Hailed a cave-adventurer’s paradise, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is an absolute must for those wanting to discover this special slice of Vietnam’s ancient underground world. Located in Quang Binh province in north-central Vietnam, about 500 km south of Hanoi and 160 km north of Hue, it is home to a spectacular network of hundreds of cave complexes that wind through the rugged limestone mountains that dominate the region.
Our adventure sees us explore some of the largest cave networks, which are home to collections of mystical stalagmites and stalactites, gushing rivers and waterfalls with climbing fish. We spend the night camping at the mouth of a cave, swim in waterfalls, kayak along lazy waterways and trek through pristine countryside, thick jungle and alongside sweeping farmland. Along the way we catch a glimpse into rural life in this beautiful remote region.
Dong Hoi – Phong Nga National Park [L, D]
We arrive at Dong Hoi in the morning and will be met by a car and our guide to take us to Phong Nha (Transfer from either the train station or the domestic airport to your hotel is included). Formerly known as the City of Roses, the town still bears a few scars from its strategic location during the Vietnam War. Nowadays, Dong Hoi boasts itself as the main gateway to excellent travel opportunities further inland or for getting a taste of this seaside town.
We take a scenic drive around Phong Nha National Park, a cave explorer’s paradise with hundreds of extensive cave networks and winding underground rivers dotting the sprawling area. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, the national park is home to Asia’s oldest karst mountains that date back about 400 million years. Lunch will be included during this day; our chosen local restaurant is known to bring forward the flavours of Vietnam in the most authentic way.
During this day, we stop at South-East Asia’s longest cave to explore the impressive collections of mystical stalactites and stalagmites. The area is a favourite region for speleology enthusiasts as these two accessible caves are part of a much larger network of caves and underground rivers. Don’t forget to bring your bathers because in the afternoon we kayak along the picturesque Chay River (5 km) to the clear waters at Mooc natural spring, where we can swim if the weather permits. Your hotel will be in Phong Nha, a town that serves as one of the main entrances to the UNESCO inscribed Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. After checking in, you will have the rest of the afternoon at leisure for wandering around the local and typical Vietnamese town design.
Dinner is included at your overnight address
Overnight is booked in Phong Nha
Phong Nga National Park [B, L, D]
Breakfast is included at the hotel
After breakfast, we leave Phong Nha and drive to Tan Hoa village (70 km). Home to friendly locals, living and working like it has been for generations, Tan Hoa is more than just a meeting point where East meets west. From homestay programmes to being the starting point to explore the vastness of the Quang Binh province with its cave systems and rugged natural outlines, Tan Hoa brings forward local hospitality with a strong connection in preserving the region’s natural treasures. Besides its friendly residents, this mountainous region is studded with winding waterways and valleys that are home to collections of caves. From the village, we start our trek through lush countryside, untouched jungle and paddies, passing limestone mountains and meandering waterways to Hung Ton cave which is home to an impressive collection of stalagmites and stalactites, small waterfalls and underground rivers.
We enjoy lunch on the edge of a waterfall before trekking through virgin forest to the campsite that sits in front of Hang Ken Cave, which was rated the subject of the best photograph in National Geographic magazine in 2011. We prepare the camp before taking a refreshing dip in the nearby waterfalls and enjoying a tasty dinner. In the evening, we can night fish in the river and enjoy sleeping under the stars on the picturesque beach that sits in front of the cave. Please note: The trekking distance is 7 km with two moderately high hills.
Dinner is included at your overnight address
Overnight is booked in Phong Nga
Phong Nga National Park – Dong Hoi [B, L]
After breakfast, we head out on our final day of underground discovery and explore more of the park’s caves. We start with an exploration of Hang Kim, a stunning cave that houses a vast collection of mystical stalagmites and stalactites that have formed over millions of years. Only for real adventurers, the Hang Kim cave was officially named after a woman called Kim unexpectedly discovered this cavern in the Phong Nha National Park. Part of the more extensive Tu Lan cave system (smaller in size than the Phong Nga yet as impressive), the Hang Kim cave requires the assistance of a professional guide when keen explorers are eager to see the interior of this relatively new cave. Adding to the cave’s appeal is the gushing underground waterfalls home to climbing fish that were recently discovered.
We then head to Tu Lan Dry Cave and stop at another waterfall to refresh before trekking back to Tan Hoa village through pristine tropical landscapes and rugged jungle. Hikes in this part and nearby regions are among the most sought-after hiking trails to get to the numerous caves and wander through Vietnam’s untouched natural splendour.
We enjoy a tasty lunch at a local restaurant in the village before transferring to Phong Nha. From here, we continue on to Dong Hoi to catch the night train to Hanoi, or drive back to Hue, bringing this intrepid trekking and caving tour to an end.