How to choose the Right Cave Tour with Oxalis Adventure

In the past, exploring caves was mostly for experienced cavers with specialized skills and fitness. But in 2011, Oxalis Adventure started offering cave tours, opening up this activity to everyday travelers. Since then, cave tourism has become increasingly popular.

Oxalis Adventure's tours take you into remote jungle and mountain areas, far from medical help or modern comforts. To help you choose the right cave tour and to reduce the risk of needing rescue, we've set up a careful screening and consultation process. This ensures you pick a tour that matches your physical abilities.

Oxalis offers six tour levels of difficulty, from introductory (Level 1) to hard (Level 6), grouped into three categories:

Adventure Level

Oxalis rates our tours on an Adventure Level system.

Tour types and highlights of Oxalis tours

Group 1 - Basic Adventure Tours: Mostly suitable for everyone

These Oxalis Adventure cave tours range from easy to moderate difficulty. Participants don't need prior trekking/hiking experience but should be physically healthy. To prepare for these tours, you should be able to jog 3km on flat terrain in 45 minutes or climb 5 flights of stairs without dizziness or shortness of breath.

Tours in this group include:

These tours are rated from Level 1 to Level 2 difficulty. According to Oxalis' recommendations, they are suitable for office workers and active individuals who exercise moderately and have no health conditions restricting them from mountain climbing or caving activities.

Group 2 - Demanding Adventure Tours: For those have trekking experiences and reasonable fitness

These tours are more challenging and require participants to have experience with overnight trekking/hiking trips in the forest within 12 months before booking an Oxalis tour. About fitness requirements for caving, participants should regularly jog 5km thrice a week or climb 5 flights of stairs without dizziness, headaches, or shortness of breath.

Tours in this group include:

These tours are rated Level 3 to Level 4 difficulty.

Group 3 - Advanced Adventure Tours: For regular mountain hikers, active and very fit

These are the most difficult expedition tours in Oxalis' adventure framework. Participants must be in excellent health and physical condition and regularly train through activities like half/full marathons or multi-day treks in forests with varying terrain and elevation changes of at least 1000m.

Tours in this group include:

These tours are rated Level 5 to Level 6 difficulty on Oxalis' adventure scale.

Signature experiences of each tour

Oxalis tours vary in adventure level, route, and activities. Some tours involve cave swimming, while others do not. Some tours offer cave camping experiences, while others have campsites by streams or in the deep forest. Depending on your preferences, physical fitness, and available time, you can choose the most suitable tour. Below is Oxalis' guide to each type of tour and their characteristics to help you make the easiest choice.

Group 1 - Basic Adventure Tours: Mostly suitable for everyone

1. Tu Lan Family Experience (TF1):

This one-day tour is perfect for parents and children to explore nature and admire the majestic beauty of the Tu Lan cave system in Quang Binh. Families will participate in activities like jungle trekking, swimming in natural streams, having a picnic in the forest, trekking and climbing to explore Rat Cave, and playing fun games. There is no cave swimming involved, but you can enjoy swimming in a stream near the lunch spot. The total trekking distance is 6km, including climbing two hills with heights of 60m and 50m. This tour is suitable for active children aged 6 and above, accompanied by their parents. The Tu Lan Family Experience day tour is rated Level 1 - Introductory. The tour departs every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

2. Tu Lan Family Adventure (TF2):

This 2-day, 1-night camping trip in the forest is an adventure experience for children and parents to connect and explore the wild Tu Lan area. It fosters children's confidence, creativity, and ability to explore the natural world through challenges like jungle trekking, wading through streams, swimming with life jackets, exploring caves, and overnight camping in the mountains, along with family bonding games. The tour includes swimming in a stream near the campsite, but there is no cave swimming. The total trekking distance is 8km, including climbing two hills with heights of 60m and 50m. This tour is designed for families with active children aged 8 and above. The Tu Lan Family Adventure 2-day, 1-night tour is rated Level 2 - Easy. The tour departs every Monday and Thursday.

3. Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Tour (NP1):

This 1-day tour takes you into the heart of the "cave kingdom," where you can admire the primeval forests, majestic caves, and magical underground rivers. The highlight of the trip is Nuoc Nut Cave, part of a magnificent cave system, where you can see large domes, colorful stalactites, and crystal-clear pools. The adventure concludes with a kayaking trip on the Chay River, where you can relax and enjoy the peaceful beauty of nature. The total trekking distance in the forest and cave is 6km, with flat forest paths and rugged cave terrain requiring climbing over sandy or rocky sections. There is no swimming involved unless guests wish to swim inside the cave. This tour is suitable for visitors aged 12 to 70. The Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park tour is rated Level 2 - Easy.

4. Tu Lan Experience (TL1):

This Tu Lan trekking day trip opens the door to exploring majestic nature, leading you through the Tan Hoa and Hung Ton valleys, where limestone mountains and forests create a colorful natural landscape. You will explore Rat Cave and Hung Ton Cave, two unique caves with stalactite systems resembling ancient castles. Experience swimming in the mysterious underground river and relax in the cool water of a natural stream after exiting Hung Ton Cave. A picnic lunch by the stream with local grilled pork and pho rolls will be an unforgettable highlight of this journey. The total trekking distance is 9km, including 800m of cave exploration and 200m of swimming in the cave with life jackets. The terrain is flat, with two hills of 60m height and a 30-degree slope. This tour suits visitors with good physical fitness and who are not afraid of water (with basic swimming skills). The appropriate age for this tour is from 16 to 70 years old. The Tu Lan Experience is rated Level 2 - Easy.

5. Tu Lan Cave Encounter (TL2):

This 3-day, 2-night tour takes you to explore four caves: Ken Cave, Tu Lan Cave, Kim Cave, and Hung Ton Cave. If you enjoy swimming, this is a great choice. You can experience swimming in the mysterious underground river, trekking through valleys and tropical forests, and refreshing yourself in the wild at the streamside campsite with waterfalls and natural pools. After trekking, you can explore the culture of Tan Hoa Village - the world's best tourism village - with a relaxing stay at Rural Homestay, enjoy dinner at a local home, and drive an ATV to explore the Lim forest in Tan Hoa. The tour covers a total distance of 14.5km, including 2km of cave exploration and 1km of non-continuous underground river swimming. The terrain is uneven, with elevation changes of about 300m and slopes of about 45 degrees. During cave exploration, you will experience climbing a 15m ladder with a safety harness. This journey suits travelers with no trekking experience but who participate in sports and are physically fit. While swimming, you must wear a life jacket. If you cannot swim but are confident swimming with a life jacket, the guide and safety assistant will support you during the swim. The tour departs every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The appropriate age for this tour is from 16 to 70 years old. The Tu Lan Cave Encounter tour is rated Level 2 - Easy.

Group 2 - Demanding Adventure Tours: For those have trekking experiences and reasonable fitness

1. Hang Tien Discovery (HT1):

This one-day journey takes you to the pristine mountains and forests, swimming in a natural lake, and exploring Hang Tien - the largest dry cave in the Tu Lan Cave system. Be amazed by the surreal beauty of the magnificent stalactites, the swirling cave ceiling resembling the Milky Way, and the unique layered cave formations. To reach the entrance of Hang Tien, you will be challenged to climb over majestic natural rock formations. Trekking through the dense jungle is also an integral part of the journey, with 80% of the time spent under the canopy of a diverse tropical forest. After exploring the fascinating cave, you will enjoy lunch by a poetic stream and immerse yourself in the cool, clear water of the "infinity" pool amidst nature. The total distance of the tour is 9.5km, including 1.5km of cave exploration. The terrain is uneven, with many sections requiring rock climbing and steep slopes, with an elevation change of about 400m and a slope of about 45 degrees. The Hang Tien Discovery tour is a moderate challenge for those with trekking experience within the past 12 months and regularly practice high-intensity sports such as football, cycling, or skiing. To participate, you must have good physical fitness and be between 16 and 70 years old. The Hang Tien Discovery tour is rated Level 3 - Moderate. The tour departs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

2. Hang Tien Endeavor Tour (HT2):

This 3-day, 2-night journey takes you to explore Fun Cave, Hang Tien 1 & 2 - the largest dry cave in the Tu Lan Cave system, famous for its pristine beauty, the swirling cave ceiling like the Milky Way galaxy, and the unique stalactite structure like terraced rice fields. In particular, the experience of ziplining across the stream (Flying Fox) in the cave is an exciting challenge, providing a memorable experience (guests can choose not to participate in this activity). The tour includes 1 night of camping by a stream, next to an "infinity" pool formed by water flowing from the underground cave, where guests can freely swim after a day of exploring the cave. After the tour, you can experience an overnight stay at a weather-adapted homestay in Tan Hoa, explore the village by bike, and enjoy dinner at a local home. Additionally, guests can explore the rare Lim forest by ATV the following morning. The total distance of the tour is 12km, including 3.5km of cave exploration and climbing a 10m metal ladder in the cave with safety ropes, under the supervision of the safety team. The terrain is uneven, with many sections requiring rock climbing and steep slopes, with an elevation change of about 250m and a slope of about 45 degrees. The Hang Tien Endeavor Tour is a moderate challenge for those who have trekking experience within the past 12 months and regularly practice high-intensity sports such as football, cycling, or skiing. There is cave swimming in this tour. To participate, you need to have good physical fitness and be between 16 and 70 years old. The Hang Tien Endeavor tour is rated Level 3 - Moderate.

3. Hang En Cave Adventure (EC2):

Rated as one of the most attractive adventure tours by Oxalis Adventure, this 2-day, 1-night tour offers breathtaking natural beauty. The journey features camping inside a massive cave dating back 3 million years, exploring the cave's nearly 1.6km length, trekking through the primeval forest, and learning about the local culture in Ban Doong village. A natural emerald lake in front of the campsite is ideal for swimming enthusiasts. The Hang En Cave tour is also part of the Son Doong expedition. The trekking and exploration route covers 25km of uneven mountain and forest terrain, including 3km of cave exploration. It involves wading through rivers and streams, ascending and descending steep slopes with an elevation change of 650m. To participate, you need trekking experience within the past year, actively engaging in high-intensity sports like football, cycling, skiing, or regular outdoor exercise. The age range for this tour is 16 to 70 years old. The Hang En Cave Adventure tour is rated Level 3 - Moderate. Those who exercise regularly and have good physical fitness will find this journey easier.

4. Hang Va Cave Expedition (HV2):

This 2-day, 1-night tour takes you through the forest, wading through streams and squeezing through passages to explore two of the world's most unique water caves, featuring rare conical stalactites, waterfall curtains, and crystal-clear pools. You will feel like a true explorer, using specialized equipment to climb cave walls under the supervision of safety experts to discover a unique conical stalactite lake. The itinerary includes one night of camping in the primeval forest and enjoying local dishes prepared by the porters. The journey covers 15km, including 7km of cave exploration and 100m of underground river swimming. The terrain is uneven, with rocks and an elevation change of 150m. The tour requires trekking experience within the past 12 months and participation in strenuous sports or regular outdoor exercise. If you enjoy photography, this is an ideal choice. Non-swimmers can still participate, as wearing a life jacket is mandatory, and there will be support from the guide and safety experts. The age range for this tour is 16 to 70 years old. The Hang Va Cave Expedition tour is rated Level 3 - Moderate.

5. Hang Tien - Tu Lan Discovery (HTL):

This 2-day, 1-night experience offers the opportunity to admire the majestic and magical beauty of the Tu Lan and Hang Tien cave systems while enjoying the comfort of Tu Lan Lodge for an overnight stay. The journey includes mountain climbing, jungle trekking, swimming in a natural "infinity" pool, and exploring mysterious caves. The highlight is the experience of swimming in the enchanting underground river. On the first night, you will engage in cultural exchange, enjoy a local dinner in Tan Hoa village, and rest in a unique River Bungalow at Tu Lan Lodge. This ideal tour is for adventure enthusiasts who still desire comfort throughout the journey. The tour covers 18km of uneven mountain and forest terrain, including 2.3km of cave exploration with an elevation change of 400m. There will be 150m of cave swimming and many sections requiring climbing over rocks and steep slopes. The tour is rated Level 3 - Moderate, requiring trekking experience within the past 12 months and participation in strenuous sports or regular exercise for good endurance. The tour departs daily, allowing travelers to easily choose their preferred departure time.

6. Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer Tour (TL3):

This 4-day, 3-night tour is the ideal choice for those who want to experience the full beauty of Tu Lan's nature. The journey takes you into a world of enchanting caves, where you can swim in dark underground rivers. Notably, this is the only tour that allows you to admire the unique stalactites in Hang Song Oxalis and explore five other beautiful caves in the Tu Lan cave system. You will camp for two nights at the most stunning locations in Tu Lan, enjoying waterfalls and natural pools amidst the vast primeval forest. The journey also includes dining at a local home, interacting and learning about their culture and life. At the end of the trip, you will stay overnight at the unique Tu Lan Lodge, designed to adapt to the annual floods. This is a memorable experience, combining nature exploration and local cultural discovery. The tour covers 18km, including 4km of cave exploration and 1km of non-continuous underground river swimming. The terrain is uneven, with many rocks and an elevation change of 435m. During the exploration of Hung Ton Cave, you will climb a 15m ladder with a safety harness under the supervision of experts. With a 4-day itinerary and a moderate difficulty level, the tour suits those who exercise regularly and have basic swimming skills. Trekking experience and good physical fitness are advantageous for conquering this journey. Non-swimmers who are confident swimming with a life jacket can still participate. The age range for this tour is 16 to 70 years old. The Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer tour is rated Level 3 - Moderate. The tour departs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

7. Hang Tien Exploration Tour (HT3):

This 4-day, 3-night expedition is a condensed version of the Tu Lan Expedition, but it still maintains its difficulty and challenges. It is an ideal choice for those who want to explore a part of Tu Lan and fully experience the beauty of Hang Tien. The tour takes you on a journey to conquer a unique cave system, including Secret Cave, Hung Ton, and Hang Tien 1 and 2, which boast impressive stalactite structures like the Milky Way. The "flying fox" zipline experience across the underground river is an unforgettable highlight. The trip also offers memorable experiences, including 1 night of camping in the most beautiful areas of Tu Lan and swimming in a natural infinity pool. After the tour, you will enjoy dinner at a local home and bike through the peaceful village of Tan Hoa. You will spend the last night at Tu Lan Lodge, a unique accommodation adapted to the annual floods. The tour covers a total distance of 28km, including 4.5km of cave exploration and 100m of underground river swimming. The terrain varies with elevations up to 540m and slopes of 45 degrees. The journey also includes climbing 10m and 15m ladders with safety ropes under the supervision of the safety team. The age range for this tour is 16 to 70 years old. The Hang Tien Exploration tour is rated Level 4 - Challenging. The tour departs every Tuesday and Saturday. To participate, you need to have trekking experience on forest/mountain/rock/slope terrain within the past 12 months. You also need to participate in physical activities that require endurance and flexibility, such as strenuous sports or outdoor training.

Group 3 - Advanced Adventure Tours: For regular mountain hikers, active and very fit

1. Tu Lan Cave Expedition Tour (TL4):

This 6-day, 5-night expedition is the longest adventure, taking you to explore the seven most beautiful dry and water caves in Quang Binh. The Tu Lan Cave Expedition Tour has become a "must-do" experience for trekking and caving enthusiasts. The journey offers the opportunity to swim in dark underground rivers and explore seven diverse caves, each with its own unique beauty of magnificent stalactites. Additionally, you will transform into a true explorer, abseiling 15m down a deep abyss and crossing underground rivers by flying fox. At the end of the journey, you will have the chance to immerse yourself in local life, learn about the Nguon culture, and bike through Tan Hoa village - the world's best tourism village. The night before the expedition, you will rest and enjoy yourself at Chay Lap Farmstay - a resort located at the gateway to Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park. The total journey covers 34km, including 5km of cave exploration and 1km of non-continuous underground river swimming. The terrain varies with elevations up to 1400m and slopes of 45 degrees. The journey also includes a 15m abseil in the cave (with direct instruction and safety supervision). The tour is rated Level 5 - Demanding, second only to the Son Doong Expedition, and is suitable for ages 18-70. It requires trekking experience within the past 12 months, including at least one overnight tour and 1-2 day tours, each with a minimum of 8km of trekking per day. Additionally, you need to participate in strenuous sports like football, cycling, or skiing, or maintain outdoor training like hiking/running 3-4 times a week, covering 4-5km per session. The tour departs every Tuesday and Friday.

2. Hang Ba Deep Jungle Expedition (HB4):

This 4-day, 3-night expedition is a new product from Oxalis, combining adventure tourism and conservation experience with advice from UNESCO, IUCN, and Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park. The tour is aimed at trekking enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those passionate about cave exploration and rare animal conservation. The special feature of the tour is the 95% journey through the primeval forest under the canopy, immersing yourself in the wild nature with the sounds of birds and gibbons. You will have three nights of camping at the cave entrance, observing rare animals through an automatic camera system, exploring six stunning caves, and stargazing at night. The tour ensures safety and biodiversity conservation with a well-trained team, using dark-colored camping equipment and minimal lighting to avoid disturbing the creatures. With a maximum group size of six guests, the tour offers a unique experience and contributes to Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park conservation. The journey covers 23km, including 3km of cave exploration and 1km of non-continuous underground river swimming. The terrain varies with elevations up to 1678m and slopes of 45 degrees. The journey includes 250m of cave kayaking, SUP paddling, and 3km of climbing rocky slopes. The Hang Ba cave tour is Oxalis' most challenging, designed for experienced trekkers. In the past 12 months, you need to have completed at least one overnight tour and 1-2 day tours, each covering 8km of trekking on challenging terrain. Additionally, you need to be in good health, regularly participate in strenuous sports, and train by running 3-4 times a week to ensure physical fitness. The tour is suitable for ages 18-70 and is rated Level 6 - Hard.

3. Son Doong Cave Expedition (SD4):

This 6-day, 5-night expedition to Son Doong, the world's largest natural cave, offers a unique experience to explore stunning stalactites, underground rivers, dolines, and even a forest. You will witness sunlight filtering through the cave and enjoy the distinct weather system. The final highlight of the journey is conquering the 90m Vietnam Wall using specialized equipment under the guidance of safety experts. The Son Doong cave tour includes two nights at a local hotel and three nights of camping inside the cave. The impressive campsites are located within vast cave domes and are considered some of the most beautiful camping spots in the world. You will stay at Hang En, Doline 1, and Doline 2, which features a unique garden of Eden. Each tour is limited to 10 guests and is accompanied by a professional support team, including safety experts, guides, assistants, chefs, porters, and forest rangers. This is an opportunity to explore majestic nature, experience unique camping, and learn about the life of the Bru Van Kieu people in Ban Doong village. The total journey covers 25km, including 8km of cave exploration. The terrain varies with elevations up to 800m. The journey includes 250m of cave kayaking, SUP paddling, and 3km of climbing rocky slopes. The Son Doong tour also involves over 50 river crossings (10 to 50m wide and knee-deep) throughout the journey. The Son Doong tour is rated Level 6 - Hard by Oxalis Adventure, requiring trekking experience within the past 12 months, including at least one overnight tour and 1-2 day tours, each covering a minimum of 8km on challenging mountain and forest terrain. Additionally, you must participate in strenuous sports or maintain outdoor training like hiking/running 3-4 times a week, covering 4-5km per session.

Contact Us for Consultation

In recent years, some visitors have booked tours solely based on beautiful photos without thoroughly researching the difficulty of the journey. This has led to many people not being physically fit enough to continue and turning back midway.

The visitors' inability to complete the tour and having to return has caused difficulties for both Oxalis and the visitors. We have been forced to arrange rescue teams to bring guests out of the forest, incurring additional costs and affecting everyone's overall experience.

To address this situation, Oxalis has strengthened our consultation and screening process. We want to ensure visitors choose a tour that matches their physical fitness and capabilities.

If you are unsure about choosing the right cave tour, please contact our staff through the Chat tool in the lower right corner of the screen. The Oxalis consulting team is always ready to assist and answer any questions.

The Oxalis Experience.

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Whether you prefer long treks, camping in a cave, sleeping under the stars in the jungle, swimming underground in river caves, explore the huge dry caves or just taking an exploratory day trip, Oxalis Adventure Tours can provide the right amount of adventure just for you.

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