Getting Ready For Son Doong Cave

The Son Doong Expedition is probably be the most difficult tour in Oxalis' scale of difficulty - level 6 in terms of the level of adventure. The tour is designed for all visitors who enjoy outdoor activities and the experience of nature in general. The difficulty of the tour is aimed at an average customer, not super fit athletes. Among the thousands of visitors who have explored Son Doong Cave, there were many who thought that the expedition was not really difficult. However, many other people who completed the trip needed to expend a lot of effort and required support from the safety assistants. The important thing is to be honest about your fitness and experience, and do the necessary training.

To answer the question of how to prepare for the Son Doong Expedition Tour, as well as how to make the necessary physical preparation to be able to complete the activities in the Son Doong expedition safely, Oxalis Adventure would like to present you with the following information:

Who can join the Son Doong expedition tour?

Apart from the questions about “preparation physically for the Son Doong tour” we are also asked who can visit Son Doong and why or why not.

The people who can go to Son Doong are: only the individuals above the age of 18 years who are physically active with regular trekking experience. All those who have experience in trekking, have good physical strength and regularly practice sports, will not find it too difficult to complete the Son Doong tour. Specific examples are:

  • People who runs 5-10km per day (pace 6-8 minutes/km).
  • Ironman 7.0, VMM athletes often complete trail runs or half-marathons (21km and completed in under 7 hours).
  • Visitors who regularly participate in hiking activities without physical or health problems: Easternmost point of Vietnam 2 days 1 night, Bach Moc Luong Tu, Pu Si Lung, Fansipan (trekking path), or other treks in Vietnam and abroad.
  • Visitors who participate in other strenuous activities such as mountain biking, rock climbing, ski touring.

What training is needed for beginners to go on the Son Doong tour?

I’m an office worker, do not have much trekking experience and have little time to practice, but I still want to join the expedition. What should I do to be able to join the Son Doong trip?

If you are an office worker and have little time to practice, you should register for the Son Doong expedition 6-12 months or more in advance, so that you have more time to exercise. According to BVCA experts (they are also Oxalis' cave safety experts), you can additionally prepare for Son Doong with one of the suggested activities below:

  • Stair climbing: Every day when you go to work, take the stairs instead of taking the elevator (if the building you work is 10 floors, then do it 3 times per week). You should do it regularly up to the point when you go from the 1st floor to the 10th floor without getting too out of breath. This exercise is not only helps you with a better preparation for the expedition but also improve your physical health.
  • Running/jogging:Every week you can spend time jogging/running 3 to 4 times per week, 3-5km per time. You can practice regularly until you can run 5km continuously without resting and within 45 minutes (no dizziness, no shortness of breath). We recommend running/jogging outside rather than in the gym.
  • Join in different trekking trips: You can participate in a day trekking trip, and increase the difficulty after each trip. Trails such as hills or steep and rocky terrain will help you get used to trekking. In the South of Vietnam, you can join trekking routes such as Chua Chan mountain, VN most eastern point, or the easiest one is Ta Nang Phan Dung 2 days 1 night combining with Ba Den mountain, Trekking Bidoup National Park, or trekking routes in the Northwest of VN such as: Sa Pa, Ha Giang, Yen Bai and many other destinations. Or to make it simple, you can join in with Oxalis Adventure tours such as Tu Lan, Hang Tien, Hang Va to gain more experience and become our “xieu” to receive 10% discount of the tour money.

Which medical conditions stop you from joining the Son Doong Expedition tour?

For some undergoing medical treatments, Oxalis might ask you to consult your doctor to ensure the trek will not harm your health. Oxalis also needs to know about any medication you will be taking on the tour.

As the Son Doong Expedition takes place in a remote location, any medical problems or accidents cannot easily be treated, and evacuation is a major undertaking.

If a medical condition is managed successfully by medication, or has been successfully treated, that should not be a problem. If a guest is actively undergoing treatment, they may be asked to wait until the treatment is completed, or provide a document from their doctor to confirm they are fit enough.

Our questionnaire is extensive, and we ask you to fill it in yourself, and not ask someone else to do it. You should appreciate that all adventure activities carry risk, even if you are healthy. If you fail to disclose any medical condition you may be putting yourself and the rest of the team at risk. Oxalis’ only aim is for everyone to have a safe and enjoyable tour.

Oxalis reserves the right to refuse anyone who because of their medical condition is seen as a high risk of becoming ill or having an accident on tour.

If the medical condition has been cured, can I still join the expedition?

If your medical condition has been cured, or is being well managed with medication, you should be able to join the expedition. Please inform Oxalis in order to receive the best advice and support.

These are some basic suggestions from Oxalis on how you should prepare for the Son Doong trip as well as some advice on activities to get yourself ready, physically. To learn more you can contact the Oxalis Adventure consultant for more support. Oxalis consultants are always online on the Oxalis Adventure website and on social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram to give you the assistance that you need.

The Oxalis Adventure.

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