Tu Lan Experience Tour

Tu Lan Experience is a one day trekking tour. During this cave experience tour you will discover the unspoiled beauty of the Tu Lan Cave System - once the film set for the Hollywood blockbuster - Kong: Skull Island (2017). Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts once declared: "The world will see how beautiful Tu Lan is, they will come, experience and love Tu Lan as I did".

On this Tu Lan Experience tour you will participate in the following unique experiences:

  • Explore the magnificent natural scenery: on the Tu Lan trekking tour, visitors will trek through two large valleys, Tan Hoa Valley and Hung Ton Valley; open green fields, encompassed by limestone mountain ridges thick with primeval forest.
  • Explore 2 dry and wet caves with a unique stalactite system: Rat Cave and Hung Ton Cave with many unique stalactite structures: columns, stalactites, stalagmites and cave pearls, that make these caves look like magnificent castles. Take your time to look around and enjoy this cave experience.
  • Swimming in the underground river inside the cave: This is one of the unique experiences of tours in Tu Lan. You will be equipped with exploration lights and immerse yourself in the pitch-black space without natural light, only with mystery and curiosity.
  • Enjoy swimming in the cool blue stream: With a natural lake formed at the exit of Hung Ton Cave, visitors can immerse themselves in the cool and refreshing water, letting themselves be carried along with the stream to admire the pristine nature in the valley.
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch by the stream: A picnic lunch with the famous grilled pork with rolled in wet rice paper will be prepared by local chefs.

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.

Read more about Oxalis Adventure Level.

TL1 trekking graph


The Tu Lan Experience tour schedule may be adjusted according to the weather conditions. The trek can be quite muddy and slippery when it rains

Download the itinerary

Tan Hoa - Explore Rat Cave

You should be in Phong Nha before 06:00 AM on the tour day to ensure on-time departure. Oxalis provides dorm rooms with 6 comfortable beds available at Oxalis Home (Oxalis Office) for those who arrive in Phong Nha early in the morning of the tour and want to rest a bit before the tour (please inform us in advance if you want to use the free dorm room service).

Between 07:00 and 07:30 On the morning of departure, the guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel in Phong Nha town, and take the group to the Oxalis office in Tan Hoa Village, 70 km from Phong Nha. At the office, the guide will give you a short briefing about the trekking itinerary and safety regulations. You will sign the RELEASE FORM, and receive the necessary safety equipment. (The transportation cost to Tan Hoa is included in the price of the Tu Lan one day tour).

After the briefing, the group will start walking through the flat corn and peanut fields toward the Rao Nan River. You will cross the river and go up a small slope to get to the entrance of Rat Cave. Here, you will be provided with helmets, headlamps, and safety equipment to explore Rat Cave for about 300m long. This cave has many beautiful stalactites and a soaring dome with a unique heart-shaped structure. After the exploration, the group returns to Rao Nan river to climb up the 60m high Baby hill. Crossing the Hung Ton valley to reach the dry passage of Hung Ton Cave.

River Passage of Hung Ton Cave - To Mo Valley - Tan Hoa

Guests will descend a 15-meter ladder with safety harnesses in Hung Ton cave to continue exploring the remaining dry passage of the cave. Here, visitors will have the opportunity to see a fossil of a million-year-old marine species. The group will then move to the water passage of the cave. Customers will be provided with life jackets and start swimming in the underground river of the cave, swimming across a small reef, and at the end of the cave the picturesque To Mo Valley, is awaiting. Here, you have time to enjoy lunch and swim on the emerald-green stream before swimming through Hung Ton cave to return.

The 1-day Tu Lan experience tour by Oxalis ends with crossing the lush green valley and fields. You will return to the Rao Nan River and walk back through the farmland to the office. At the Oxalis Tan Hoa office, the group can relax and have some cool drinks.

The car will pick up the group and you will be back in Phong Nha at about 18:30 - 19:30, ending the trekking adventure to the Tu Lan caves - one of the most unique adventure tours in Quang Binh.

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 Tu Lan - Tan Hoa area

The Tu Lan - Tan Hoa area has 4 seasons in a year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter). Due to the weather and for conservation, Tu Lan Experience tours are only operated from November to mid September yearly. From December to March the weather will sometimes be cold interspersed with sunny days. April and May are spring months with cool air.

From June to August, are the warm months of summer. However, most of the time visitors trek under the forest canopy or inside the cave with a temperature of 22 to 25 degree Celsius. This is also a perfect time to enjoy swimming in the clear blue streams. The Tu Lan Experience is the ideal itinerary for your one day Quang Binh cave discovery tour.

Each season has its natural features to enjoy, and visitors can check the weather at Tan Hoa or Tu Lan via "Accuweather" before joining an Oxalis Adventures caving tour.

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Adventure level on tour

After many years of operating trekking adventures, Oxalis has created an adventure scale to help tourists visualize and choose the right cave experience for their fitness and health. This scale is not to be applied to other companies with different conditions and terrains. The easiest level anyone can join and the most difficult level 6 requires regular exercise and some trekking experience. The Tu Lan Experience Tour is easy (level 2) and suitable for reasonably active people who enjoy the outdoors.

Adventure Level 2 · Easy
Number of guests per tour: Maximum 12 guests; Age 16-70 years old.
Expect: Easy trails, some rocky sections & optional swim

  • Easy to moderate trekking
  • 9km trek through valleys forest and river crossing
  • 800m cave exploration; elevation gain 120m
  • 15m ladder climbing; 150m swimming in underground river
  • Swimming and wading at the waterfall
Adventure Level TL1 trekking graph

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Physical fitness requirements for Tu Lan Experience Tour

The basic physical fitness requirements for participating in the Tu Lan Experience Tour include:

  • Trekking experience requirements: Having experience in trekking and camping in the forest is an advantage.
  • Fitness Preparation: Regularly participating in physical activities (such as yoga, swimming, hiking, running, stair climbing, gym, and some other sports to maintain physical fitness). This ensures that they are able to:
    - Run continuously for 3 kilometres within 30 minutes.
    - Climb 5 floors continuously without experiencing shortness of breath or dizziness.

Guests aged 16 to 70 are permitted to join the Tu Lan Experience 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 Tu Lan Experience 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 when joining the tour

This is always the top priority of Oxalis Adventure to ensure the safety of both visitors and Oxalis’ staff on any trip, including one day adventures. We only use high-quality equipment meeting international standards, mainly imported from France, the UK, and Switzerland. The tour guides must undergo professional training and be tested for skills regularly. Only qualified guides may lead an Oxalis tour. Visitors can learn about the "safety management" and " safety equipmen" that Oxalis uses here.

Dangers, risks and how to avoid them on tour

Any adventure activities will always contain risks and these must be carefully managed. Oxalis tours take place in remote locations without easy access to medical care. Hence a lot of work goes into managing and reducing risks to the lowest level possible. Please always follow the instructions of the tour guide and safety assistants.

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Communication on tour

The Tu Lan Experience one day tour is an adventure tour in Quang Binh with an easy level but is still located in a quite remote area with no nearby external support such as medical assistance, hospitals etc.

The Tu Lan Experience Tour follows jungle trails, over hills and through caves, and no paths are suitable for vehicles. There are very weak phone signals, no wifi, and no charging facilities. In case of emergency the guide will use a basic phone (smartphones do not work), to contact the office. Guests can only use the internet and phone at the village before and after the Oxalis tour. During the tour, Oxalis staff will keep in touch by radio if required.

Emergency Response Process

Oxalis Adventure has an established "Emergency Response Protocol" that includes on-site first aid and rescue if an accident occurs during trekking or cave exploration. We organize many training courses for first aid, rescue, and evacuation, and have rescue teams for each tour operation area. The specialized equipment is imported from abroad and complies with European standards. Due to the remote location, rescue teams and medical assistants will take from 30 minutes to 2 hours to reach the location. Therefore, the safety of visitors is the top priority of Oxalis in any activities related to caving in Vietnam. For Experts and Sales consultants to give suitable advice, guests are required to fill in their fitness and health information in the Booking form honestly. They are also required to update the information to the Oxalis consultant 45 days before the tour departure.

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Items to bring on Tu Lan Experience tour

It is necessary to be well prepared for the trip because the Tu Lan Experience, although for one day, is still a hiking tour with a variety of terrain. Guests will be asked to wear appropriate clothing for safety reasons, good for moving in the jungle, river crossing, or exploring the cave as well as avoiding dangers and risks from sharp rocks, snakes, insects, or poison ivy. Long trousers and long sleeved shirts should be worn for trekking. Trekking shoes play a very important role in Oxalis Adventure tours in Vietnam, such as this. Visitors must choose a good and well fitting pair of shoes for rocky steep mountains and should NOT buy waterproof footwear for river crossings as they will retain water. Please test your shoes before the trek. Besides, guests also need to prepare personal items for one day’s trekking in the jungle and caves.

Provided by you (required)

Essential clothing

  • Trekking clothes:
    - 1 quick-dry, bright, long-sleeved shirt
    - 1 pairs of - long trekking pants (quick-dry)
    - 1 waterproof jacket (winter months November to March)
  • 1 pair of good gripping trekking shoes (drainable); *Waterproof/Gore Tex shoes are not recommended.
  • 1 pair of calf-length, thick socks
  • Clothes to change after the trek

Personal items

  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sunglasses, sun hat, sunscreen
  • Hand fan for summer (April to August)
  • Personal medication
  • Passport

Optional items

  • Arm cover if wearing short-sleeved T-shirts
  • Camera & Tripod
  • Bandana or headband
  • Rehydration tablets
  • Blister prevention tape

Oxalis provides

  • Caving and safety gears: helmet, headlight, gloves, …
  • Basic jungle boots (size 36-46 EU)
  • Water bottle (1L)
  • Water purifier
  • Compost toilet, toilet paper, hand cleaner
  • Floating backpack (25L) to carry stuff that you need while trekking
  • Shared dry box for electronic devices
  • First-aid kit and medical rescue equipment
  • Satellite phone

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Toilet on the tour

The Tu Lan Experience 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 is inside a tent, and 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 sleeper 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.

  • Airplanes: There are many flights with Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, Pacific Airlines, and Bamboo Airways, daily from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh to Dong Hoi.
  • Trains: Many SE trains run daily from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City stopping at Dong Hoi Station.
  • Bus: There are many day or night buses from Hanoi, Da Nang, and Hue to Dong Hoi or Phong Nha daily.

You can see more details of “transportation to Phong Nha" here.

Around 7.00am on the day of the tour, 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, and it requires a lot of logistical support. To avoid disappointment and complications, 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 their 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, guests are asked to update their health and fitness to Oxalis.

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Tour price and available dates for booking

For conservation and safety at Tu Lan - Tan Hoa, 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.

The Tu Lan Experience tour price includes

The price of the Tu Lan Experience tour is 1,800,000 VND per person. The tour price includes VAT, entrance fee and forest environment service fee. The Tu Lan one day tour includes the following services:

  • Service team: Each tour with a maximum of 12 guests will have 1 guide, 2 safety assistants, 1 chef, 1 kitchen assistant.
  • Food: Oxalis provides food, tea and coffee for visitors during the trek, (excluding any extra requests).
  • Safety equipment: Oxalis will provide safety equipment such as helmets, harnesses, headlights, gloves and other safety equipment.
  • Travel insurance: Oxalis buys travel insurance for all tourists participating in the tour with a maximum compensation of 10,000,000 VND. Visitors are advised to purchase their own comprehensive travel insurance prior to joining the tour.

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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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