Hang Tien Exploration Tour

Journey 4 days 3 nights conquering the unique river caves of Tu Lan Cave System and discovering Hang Tien Cave which is the largest cave in the Tu Lan Cave system. Experiencing dinner at a local home and staying overnight at beautiful Tu Lan Lodge.

The Hang Tien Cave Exploration tour (HT3) is a Vietnam Adventure Tour run by Oxalis Adventure. This adventure tour is second only to the Tu Lan Expedition Adventure Tour (TL4) in terms of the difficulty and grandeur of the trip. According to the adventure scale used by Oxalis Adventure tours, this adventure tour has a challenging difficulty level of Level 4.

Hang Tien, the largest dry cave in the Tu Lan Cave System, is located about 70 kilometers west of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park in the province of Quang Binh. It is renowned for its pure beauty and formations resembling terraced rice fields.

Although this trek crosses hills and valleys and is a shortened version of the Tu Lan Expedition tour, participants will still find the route to be fairly difficult. Some experiences of Tu Lan and Hang Tien are combined in this Quang Binh adventure tour. Highlights of the trip include:

  • Explore a variety of interesting caves: On these caving trips, guests can see Secret Cave, Ton Cave, Hang Tien first and second caves. The Hang Tien Cave System, comprising the last caves of the Tu Lan System located where the stream emerges into the large river, is the tour's highlight. The ceiling of the cave has a highly unusual and unique dome structure inside. Some formations in the cave are like large terraced fields, among other unusual features.
  • Enjoy a great trekking adventure as you pass through hidden valleys and shady forests.
  • Experience a "flying fox" to cross an underground stream: Oxalis constructed a "flying fox" safety system inside Hang Tien 1, which is a mechanism for crossing streams when the underground river is high (guests walk across the stream under normal circumstances). Most people find the experience of ziplining inside the cave across the stream to be quite amazing.
  • Camping the nights in scenic locations: Guests will spend two nights camping at the Dung Valley and Hang Tien campsites during their visit trek. These campgrounds have been ranked by travelers as the most picturesque they have ever visited.
  • Swim in the infinity pool surrounded by nature: The underground river originates in Tu Lan and reappears at the Hang Tien camping area. A swimming area with a naturally blue lake where guests are surrounded by mountain views. The naturally occurring circular lake is known to many people as a natural "infinity" pool. All tour participants should make sure to visit this swimming pool. Note: On heavy rainy days, the water will not be as clear and blue as on normal days.
  • Local culture experience: At the end of the adventure, guests will have the opportunity to have dinner at the home of one of the locals. Guests will have the opportunity to learn about the life and beautiful culture of the Nguon people (considered a minority group) in the mountainous areas. Guests will understand more about how tourism activities have helped change their lives. Cycling to explore the beautiful Tan Hoa village is a peaceful experience.
  • Unique stay after the trek: You will spend one night at Tu Lan Lodge in Tan Hoa. These are the rooms Oxalis Adventures has constructed, designed to accommodate the region's yearly flooding. Constructed on a hillside on a high platform, these rooms offer stunning views of the Tan Hoa landscape.

Note: Tour takes place in remote areas with complex terrains. Customers must be physically fit.

Please carefully read the tour itinerary and honestly fill out the booking information yourself, especially your experience and health condition.

To book a tour for a group, please send the tour information to them and instruct each member to complete the booking form on their own. Our booking system lets each person fill in their own information, avoiding errors or missing details when someone else does it for you. Read more about Oxalis Adventure Level.

HT3 trekking graph

Itinerary

The schedule of Hang Tien Expedition is subject to change due to weather conditions. The path can be quite muddy and slippery when it rains.

Download the itinerary

Hung Ton – Hung Dung Campsite

From 07:00 - 07:30 am on the day of departure, the car will come to pick you up at your hotel in Phong Nha area, and take all participants to Oxalis Tan Hoa office. You will receive safety instructions here, learn about the Hang Tien Exploration tour schedule, sign the Release Form, and pack your belongings for the trek.

To get to the Rao Nan River, the group will set off on foot through fields of corn and peanuts.

After crossing the river, your group will need to ascend a short slope to reach Secret Cave, one of the Tu Lan Cave System's most stunning caves. You can exit the cave by continuing down the winding trail. From here, you can descend into the next valley and reach Hung Ton Cave, where you will also have a delicious lunch. The group will descend a 15 m high ladder while wearing safety harnesses before swimming through the cave to reach To Mo valley. Before continuing to reach Hung Dung valley campsite, you will have a short window of time to enjoy swimming.

*Due to high water levels at Hung Dung Campsite after the rainy season, you will camp at La Ken Campsite from November to January for safety reasons.

Hung Nhai - Hang Tien Campsite

The second day of the tour is the most difficult, with a total of 8 km of trekking and roughly 350m of ascent, as well as river crossings.

The group will ascend a hill and trek through the forest to reach Hung Nhai Valley - a beautiful valley with relatively flat terrain. Have lunch in the valley by the surreal waterfall. Trek down the wide flat valley with open views, before the final steep hill of the day. Follow the river valley upstream, with some stream crossings to reach your campsite by the natural jade green lake. Before the sun sets, you can enjoy bathing, swimming, and taking pictures. Enjoy this rare natural beauty to unwind and refresh after the previous two strenuous days of adventure and exploration.

Hang Tien 1 & 2 - Tu Lan Lodge (Tan Hoa)

The day begins by scrambling over the rocks toward Hang Tien 1's entrance with stunning vistas of Quang Binh’s natural scenery.

This spectacular entrance with its soaring roof and towering calcite formations turned green by plant life, is just the start. Notice the layers and stripes in the rock walls, a characteristic of the Tien Caves. Inside you will see calcite terraces and the circular ceiling dome. Further you will be given a safety harness and instructed to climb a 10 m ladder to reach the cave exit, opening out to a lush forest.

The group will arrive at Hang Tien 2 entrance after trekking through the forest for around 30 minutes. This little entrance will spiral you down into a vast passage filled with stunning stalactites. Navigate the narrow path to complete Hang Tien 2 exploration. Returning to the cave entrance, the route continues in the forest, with a steep rocky hill, followed by easier forest paths to reach the road. On the way, the party will stop for lunch.

The trekking team will be picked up and returned to Tan Hoa Office, where you will settle into a room at Tu Lan Lodge, take a shower and relax. Enjoy the beautiful views from your room, of Tan Hoa Village with limestone mountains and green fields full of cows and buffalo.

The team will dine with a local family around 6:00 pm. A chance to engage in conversation with local people about their daily lives, and enjoy some delicious local food. After dinner, return to Tu Lan Lodge to relax.

Leaving Tan Hoa

In the early morning, guests can enjoy watching the sunrise over the beautiful Tan Hoa green fields, or cycle to explore the Tan Hoa village. Then enjoy breakfast prepared by the chef from your tour at Tu Lan Lodge.

OPTIONAL: For those still very passionate about adventure, you can register for the ATV - Moto off-road tour to explore Lim forest and Kong's home, right at Tu Lan Lodge, for two hours. These are sports tourism activities where clients can ride the ATV upon slopes, fording streams, crossing green fields, and especially passing through the man made cave, the home of King Kong.

Tu Lan Lodge check-out time is 12:00 pm. There will be a shuttle service from Tan Hoa to Phong Nha or Dong Hoi City at 12:30 pm after the Hang Tien Exploration tour. If you leave Quang Binh that day, make sure your flight/train/bus is scheduled after 4:00 pm. If you want to stay a few more nights at the hotel or are interested in other sightseeing activities in the Phong Nha - Ke Bang area, please contact your Oxalis Adventure Consultant in advance so she or he can help to arrange that. Or talk to the front desk for last-minute arrangements.

Suggested accommodations before and after the tour:
Chay Lap Farmstay is an ideal place to stay before and after joinging Oxalis cave tours. High quality rooms, swimming pool, spa, kayaking, cycling, yachting... Specially discount rate for Oxalis customers are 1 million VND/room for 2 people. Check availability here
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Weather and climate in Tan Hoa - Hang Tien area

Like many northern Vietnamese provinces, the Tu Lan - Hang Tien region experiences four distinct seasons each year: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The Hang Tien tours only run from November to the end of September each year because of the weather and to give the Tu Lan cave system a rest period to balance the environment.

From January to March: There are pleasant, sunny days as well as spells of frigid weather that sweep across the entire region. Visitors can see the sight of numerous wildflowers blooming during the warm, not too hot, months of April and May. Although the hot summer months are from June to September, most of the time the trip will be trekking in the jungle, under the shade or inside the cave when the temperature is between 22 and 25 degrees, so it does not seem so hot. Besides, customers can swim in the cave and in the river at the campsite.

Each season will have its own unique features for visitors to explore. In addition, visitors can check the weather in Tu Lan- Tan Hoa through Accuweather before joining the Vietnam caving tour.

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Adventure level on tour

After many years of adventure tourism activities, Oxalis Adventure Tours Vietnam has created a Level of Adventure scale to assist guests taking Oxalis tours in visualizing the complexity of each tour and choosing which is best suited for your health and fitness and interests. Other units or alternative terrain cannot be accommodated by this adventure-level table. Additionally, long-distance runners and anyone who engages in strenuous sports may not find this adventure-level chart to their liking.

From level 1, which is the easiest for everyone to participate in, to level 6, which is the hardest, Oxalis tours Vietnam offers 6 adventure levels. The Hang Tien Exploration Tour is simple to join for those who regularly engage in physical activity or trek through the forest or climb mountains.

Adventure level 4 · Challenging
The Hang Tien Exploration Tour is rated as Challenging (Level 4) on the Oxalis adventure level system. The difficulty of the tour is based on the physical fitness and health of average active people, not runners, athletes, or intensely active individuals.
Activities: Rocky terrain, long trek and short ladder climb
The number of guests per tour: Maximum 10 customers; Age 16-70 years old.

  • Moderate trekking - very rocky terrain
  • 3,5km caving
  • 28km of trekking in the jungle with rocky terrain
  • 840m elevation gain
  • River crossings
  • Swimming in caves (100m)
  • There will be some rocky terrain, steep hills and two ladder climbs of 15m and 10m with a safety rope, operated by the safety team
Adventure Level HT3 trekking graph

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Physical fitness requirements for Hang Tien Exploration Tour

The basic physical fitness requirements for participating in the Hang Tien Exploration Tour include:

  • Trekking experience requirements: Within the last 12 months, it is required to have trekking experience, at least one overnight camp trek, OR 1-2 day-treks with the following tour elements: trekking routes through forest/mountain/rocky/steep terrains, covering a minimum distance of 8km per day (equivalent to 5 miles per day), with an elevation gain of at least 300m.
  • Fitness Preparation: Engage in strenuous sports such as football, and skiing, or regularly participate in outdoor activities such as walking or running (3-4 times per week, covering 4-5km each time) to maintain physical fitness. This ensures that they are able to:
    - Run continuously for 5km in 50 minutes or walk for 75 minutes.
    - Climb 5 floors continuously without becoming out of breath or dizzy.

Guests aged 16 to 70 are permitted to join the Hang Tien Exploration Tour, which demands good physical fitness and prior trekking experience. Those with experience in mountain trekking and good physical health, as well as those who engage in regular sports training, could easily complete this tour.

Some guests on the Hang Tien Exploration Tour may find it not particularly challenging, while others may encounter difficulties and require assistance from many safety assistants to complete the tour. The tour regulations allow safety experts and/or guides to temporarily suspend the journey, and escort guests out of the forest if significant difficulties are encountered on the itinerary. Refunds or rescheduling are not applicable in such cases.

For more information on the necessary physical activities for a successful trip, please refer to: https://oxalisadventure.com/getting-ready-oxalis-tour/.

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Safety on the tour

To ensure the safety of both explore trekkers and staff while on any trekking adventures, Oxalis Adventure places safety at the top of its priority list. Only top-notch, international-standard equipment, primarily from countries in Europe like France, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland, is used by Oxalis. The entire group of guides must complete formal training and routine skill evaluations.

Only competent and experienced guides are appointed to conduct the exploration adventure of Oxalis Adventure; anyone who is inexperienced or unsatisfactory is not permitted. Visitors can discover more about the "safety management" and "safety equipment" Oxalis employs in this location.

If an accident happens, Oxalis Vietnam starts an "Emergency Response Procedure" that includes rescue efforts and on-the-spot first aid. Every year, Oxalis Vietnam Adventure Tour sets up its own rescue team for each operating area and conducts numerous training sessions on first aid, first aid, and rescue. The rescue tools that Oxalis trekking tour imported from abroad are following British cave rescue standards and are suitable for difficult cave terrain. Due to the remote location, it will take anywhere between 30 and 2 hours for the rescue effort to arrive at the outside professional medical forces. As a result, protecting visitors' safety is Oxalis's first priority. To help the experts and guides, guests are also requested to fill out their own health and fitness information honestly and needed for advice tailored to each client. For the tour staff at Oxalis, guests must update their fitness and health information 45 days prior to the tour's departure date.

Dangers, risks and how to avoid them on tour

People are exposed to dangers with every activity, which might become risks if safety measures are not implemented. Moving through the forest or inside a cave will expose you to more dangers than usual when engaging in adventure tourism. Sudden floods, insect bites, snakes, centipedes, accidents, illness, and many other things are possible risks. In this link, you can learn more about "risks and prevention".

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Communication on tour

Hang Tien Exploration Tour is an adventure tour in Quang Binh with a challenging difficulty level. And it takes place in a deep forest remote from any outside assistance such as medical, emergency, or other support services. Hang Tien Exploration Tour travels on footpaths that frequently climb and descend hills; there is no designated path for automobiles, motorcycles, or bicycles.

No wifi, phone connection, or other standard hotel services will be available for the duration of the trip. Each Oxalis cave tour includes a satellite phone that the tour guide can use to contact the firm in the event of an emergency or other situation that requires assistance. Before leaving the hotels and after leaving the woodland, guests can still use the internet and phone there. The service groups will use walkie-talkies to communicate with one another during the tour.

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Items to bring on Hang Tien Exploration tour

It is necessary to have complete preparation for the trip because the Hang Tien Exploration Tour is a long hiking tour with a variety of terrain. Visitors will be required to prepare appropriate clothes to protect themselves making sure to navigate through the jungle, cross streams, or investigate tunnels while avoiding any snakes, insects, or stinging plants that may be present. Trekking shoes are also a very important aspect of Hang Tien Exploration Tour, you should choose the right type of shoes which are suitable for the environment of steep hills, rocks, and even wading streams. Visitors must prepare personal items to use during the three days and two nights they will spend in the forest and in the cave. Before beginning the exploration trip, your tour guide will give you detailed instructions.

Provided by you (required)

Essential clothing

  • 2-3 quick-dry, bright, long-sleeved T-shirts
  • 2-3 quick-dry trekking pant
  • 1 waterproof jacket (in winter)
  • 1 pair of trekking shoes with good drainage
  • 1-2 pairs of calf-length, densely-woven socks
  • 1 campsite clothing set
  • 1 pair of sandals/slides for campsite
  • Swimwear

Accessories

  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sunglasses, sun hat, sunscreen
  • Mini fan

Personal items

  • Towel
  • Underwear
  • Nature-friendly shampoo & soap
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Power banks
  • Passport

Provided by Oxalis

  • Essential gear: camping, caving, and safety
  • PVC backpack
  • Basic trekking shoes (size 36-46)
  • Meals included
  • Water bottle (1L) and filter
  • Compost toilet, toilet paper, hand cleaner
  • Guided tour with chef and porter team
  • Shared dry box and semi-dry bag (15L)
  • First aid and medical rescue equipment
  • Portable fan (in summer)
  • Secure storage at office

Optional

  • Arm cover if wearing short-sleeved T-shirts
  • Camera & Tripod
  • Reusable bags for dirty clothes

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Campsites on the tour

The Hang Tien Exploration tour's first camping location is in the Dung valley region. The Hung Dung campsite is situated immediately adjacent to the La Ken valley's Rao Nan stream. Below the stream is a jade green lake with ancient trees around it to provide shade, where you may calmly swim or try SUP paddling along the pure blue stream. Note: On days with heavy rains, the water may not be clear.

The following campground is most likely the most beautiful one that Oxalis runs. The Hang Tien campground is situated directly alongside the Rao Nan River, which serves as the final major river that a subterranean river system enters before emptying into the sea. A lake that flows underground from the cave and is located next to the campsite is referred to by many guests as an "infinity pool" in the center of nature.

The campground is in a foreboding mountain environment, where you can see the starry sky at night and dawn in the morning through the tent door.

The average temperature ranges from 30 to 38 degrees Celsius in the summer and 15 to 18 degrees Celsius in the winter. In the winter, guests are given warm sleeping bags, and in the summer, a battery-powered tent with a fan is available. More information about the "unique campsites in Tu Lan Cave System" - camping inside Quang Binh forest is available here.

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Bathing at the campsite

The campground on Hang Tien Exploration Tour is located next to the river and pools so guests can swim there. All swimming activities are supervised by safety assistants. Soap and shampoo cannot be used in rivers and pools. At the campsite, there are water storage tanks to store clean water for drinking and cooking. During heavy rain, the river may turn brown and muddy. For conservation reasons, visitors are encouraged to use bio-shampoos and soaps. Washing should be done at the campsite and not in the river.

Toilet at the campsites

Hang Tien Cave tour occurs in a remote jungle with no power or infrastructure and for conservation and hygiene Oxalis has created environmentally friendly toilets, called "Oxalis Composting Toilets.".

The toilet consists of a normal toilet seat on top of a box. Inside the box, is a bucket and waste bag to collect all waste and toilet paper which is provided. Nearby is a container of rice husks. After finishing, cover the waste with a generous scoop of rice husks. This ensures a dry composting process, which does not smell, and covers the waste from insects.

When the buckets are full, the porters will change them and bury the waste in a designated location in the jungle. This will biodegrade and turn into fertilizer.

Visitors are required to use the composting toilets for both urination and defecation. Urination outside the toilet or inside the cave is not allowed because of the smell and impact on cave formations and the cave ecosystem.

Hand washing facilities are provided.

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Directions to Phong Nha

Phong Nha is 45 kilometers from Dong Hoi city, the headquarters of Quang Binh province (about 40 minutes by car). You can travel to Dong Hoi in a variety of ways, including by flight, train, and luxury bus.

* Visa: Vietnam provides visa exemption for citizens of ASEAN countries (30 days), and 45 days for citizens of (United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belarus, Russia).

* International airports: There are 3 main international airports for international flights: Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN), Noi Bai International airport (HAN) and Da Nang International Airport (DAD). From Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) or Ha Noi, travellers can book domestic flights to Dong Hoi Airport (VDH). From Da Nang, traveler can catch a train or bus to Dong Hoi/Phong Nha.

  • Flight: Daily flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are operated by Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, Pacific Airlines, and Bamboo Airways. To Dong Hoi from Ho Chi Minh.
  • Train: From Hanoi to and from Ho Chi Minh City, there are numerous SE trains that travel every day. Dong Hoi station is where Ho Chi Minh has a stop.
  • Bus: Buses from Hanoi to Phong Nha, Dong Hoi, or from Da Nang, Hue to Phong Nha run often during the day or at night.

The information regarding the means of transportation “to Phong Nha" can be found here. Early in the morning of the tour's departure, all participants will be picked up from a hotel in the Phong Nha region.

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Tour booking process

This is an adventure tour in Vietnam and requires a lot of logistic support. To avoid disappointment and complications on any exploratory trip, guests should choose the best tour for their fitness, abilities and interests. Reading the tour information carefully will help visitors make the right choice for their trips. The booking process includes the following steps:

  • Visitors carefully read the tour program and self-assess their health and physical fitness. Appropriate training and preparation may be necessary.
  • Guests carefully read the tour highlights and activities to ensure they choose the tour that most interests them.
  • Guests fill in the personal information on the booking form themselves. They are asked to give honest answers about their fitness and health.
  • After the reservation is made, the Oxalis consultant will contact you within 48 hours to review the information and give guidance for the next steps. If you have not received any news from Oxalis’ within 48 hours, please give us a direct call or check the spam box in case Oxalis’ emails are in there.
  • After approval, guests will be asked to pay 100% of the tour cost to confirm the booking.
  • Leading up to the departure, your Oxalis consultant will regularly contact you to support you with the preparation of items as well as physical fitness. Or you can contact us for questions.
  • 45 days before departure of the exploring day guests are asked to update their health and fitness to Oxalis.

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Tour price and available dates for booking

The cost of the Hang Tien Exploration Tour is 9,900,000 VND (~US$413) per person. For conservation and safety at Tu Lan - Hang Tien, the tour has a limited annual number of visitors. The tours are operated from November to September (closed from September to October.) Tours depart on a fixed schedule and each individual can book and join with others. In addition, Oxalis also has a small number of tours for special groups or filming crews. Please see the tour departure schedule in the calendar below, the dates in bold are available. If you don't see the calendar appear, please wait a few seconds or press F5. The date in bold is the first date of the tour schedule.

Terms of tour cancellation

After completing the reservation, visitors will be required to pay 100% of the tour cost to confirm the booking. Guests can receive a full refund if the cancellation is 7 days before departure. Any cancellations less than 7 days before the departure date are non-refundable. Please see the cancellation terms here for more information.

Hang Tien Exploration tour price includes

Tour price includes VAT, entrance fee, and service fee for the protection of the forest ecosystem. The following package services are included in the journey tour:

  • Logistics: Each 10-guest tour will have 1 tour guide, 2 safety assistants, 1 chef, 2 camp guards, and 4 porters as well as food and camping equipment.
  • Food and Drink: Oxalis provides food, water, tea, and coffee during the journey (not including extra requirements). Dishes are based on fixed menus, vegetarian and vegan will be provided if ordered.
  • Safety equipment: Oxalis will provide safety equipment such as helmets, harnesses, headlights, gloves etc.
  • The tour includes 2 night’s camping, and the final night at Tu Lan Lodge.
  • Travel insurance: Oxalis buys travel insurance for all guests participating in the tours with a maximum compensation of VND 10,000,000. Visitors are asked to buy comprehensive travel insurance for themselves before joining the tour.

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FAQs

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