The guide to Phong Nha caves for first-timers

Since the discovery of the world’s largest cave in Vietnam in 2009, the country has become a popular destination for adventure travelers. But Vietnam caving isn’t only for experts! Check out our beginner’s guide to caves in Vietnam (Phong Nha caves).

Every year, there appears to be a new and exciting reason to visit Vietnam. Previously, the country was recognized only for its horrific Vietnam War history. However, Vietnam has earned a reputation for breathtaking scenery, pleasantly chaotic cities, and delectable cuisine. Saving money is now considered a requirement for adventure travelers as well as less experienced explorers.

Hang Son Doong Cave

hang-en cave cave phong nha ke bang national park

This is unquestionably a cave for those who wish to see the world’s wonders. Hang Son Doong is the world’s largest cave, having been discovered in 2009. The massive interior is 200 meters high, 150 meters wide, and almost 5 kilometers long, which means a 40-story building or a 747 jet could fit within. It also has its own climate, as well as a river and a forest that may be explored in a few days.

son doong cave
The sunlight illuminate through the cave.

son doong cave tours trip travel phong nha ke bang national park attractions (1)

son doong cave tours trip travel phong nha ke bang national park attractions (1)
A photographer climbing in Hang Son Doong. (Photo by Carsten Peter/National Geographic/Getty Images)

son doong cave tours trip travel phong nha ke bang national park attractions (1)

son doong cave tours trip travel phong nha ke bang national park attractions (1)
The forest-shrouded entrance to Hang Son Doong. Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam. (Photo by Carsten Peter/National Geographic/Getty Images)

 

son doong cave tours trip travel phong nha ke bang national park attractions (1)
The Hand of Dog stalagmite in Hang Son Doong Cave. (Photo by Carsten Peter/National Geographic/Getty Images)

 

son doong cave tours trip travel phong nha ke bang national park attractions (1)
Cascading water in Hang Son Doong. Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam. (Photo by Carsten Peter/National Geographic/Getty Images)

hang son doong cave phong nha ke bang national park vietnam adventure trip (1) hang son doong cave phong nha ke bang national park vietnam adventure trip (12)

camping in son doong cave
Camping in Son Doong Cave

Best for Bucket-Listers
Adventure Level: 6 – Difficult; for the very physically active, 50km+
Previous Caving Experience: No

Hang Tu Lan Cave

Credit: Oxalis
Credit: Oxalis

Tu Lan caving expeditions are intended for the most daring guests. Although it is not as huge as Hang Son Doong, it undoubtedly takes first position in terms of the number of activities provided. After a strenuous jungle walk, cavers will be able to experience dark cave abseiling, waterfall abseiling, bouldering, climbing, and lots of cave swimming. This is not a caving experience for people who merely want to gaze out the window; it will get your pulse pounding and your heart racing.

Tu Lan Caves System (6)

Tu Lan Caves System (10)
A large stream inside the cave

Tu Lan Caves System (6)

Tu Lan Caves System

Tu Lan Caves System (6)
To Mo Cave

Best for Adrenaline Junkies
Adventure Level: 5 – Hard; for physically active guests, 37km+
Previous Caving Experience: Yes

Hang Va Cave

hang va cave phong nha ke bang national park

Hang Va, which is close to the world’s largest cave, has the same water flow and some of the same features as Hang Son Doong. Although this caving adventure includes certain physically demanding components, such as the use of harnesses, safety lines, and ropes, this is not the expedition’s major draw. Cavers are most likely to visit Hang Va to take in its breathtaking natural beauty. The cave is filled with amazing stalactites and stalagmites, as well as sparkling clear water.

Tu Lan Caves System
Va Cave

Best for Photography Enthusiasts
Adventure Level: 4 – Moderate-to-Hard; for physically active guests, 10km+
Previous Caving Experience: No

Hang En Cave

hang-en cave cave phong nha ke bang national park
Hang En is considered to be the world’s third biggest cave. But its natural beauty and rich history are perhaps more astounding than its magnitude. Some parts of the cave are estimated to be over 300 million years old, and there are several unique fossils to be discovered. This cave boasts jaw-dropping vistas around every turn, some of which have recently been included in the film ‘Pan.’

 

Hang En Cave, Swallow Cave (3)
The entraince of the cave is extremely large

 

Hang En Cave, Swallow Cave (3)
Camping in the Hang En Cave

 

Hang En Cave, Swallow Cave (3)
There is a beach inside the cave.
Hang En Cave, Swallow Cave (3)
Camping in the Hang En Cave

 

1Hang En Cave, Swallow Cave (10)
Camping in the Hang En Cave. There is a beach inside the cave.

Best for History Buffs
Adventure Level: 3 – Moderate; for physically active guests, 20km+
Previous Caving Experience: No

Nuoc Nut Cave

Nuoc Nut, like Hang Va, has the same cave system and water supply as Hang Son Doong. This is one of the simplest journeys for a first-time caver because it is both easily accessible and not overly difficult to explore. If you enjoy swimming, this is a great spot to visit because there are so many places to do so!

Best for Amateur Adventurers
Adventure Level: 1 – Easy; walks of 30-60 minutes on relatively flat trails
Previous Caving Experience: No

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