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Highlights

Swim, walk and wade through 8 caves on our longest expedition in the Tu Lan cave system. Spend three nights under the stars in three different campsites, scramble over jungle-carpeted hills, and discover Hang Tien – the biggest cave in the system. This tour is for adventurous travelers who want to switch off from the modern-day, embrace the wilderness, and see the full extent of the Tu Lan cave system.

  • Swim and wade through underground rivers.
  • Explore 8 wet and dry caves in the system.
  • Trek over jungle hills and mountains.
  • Sleep soundly in three different campsites.
  • Relax in natural swimming pools at the end of each day.
  • Abseil inside Tu Lan Cave – a thrilling highlight! (You can decide not to participate this activity as you wish).
  • Unearth Hang Tien. The only Tu Lan tour to include this huge cave.
  • Tuck into freshly cooked meals during the journey, plus snacks.
  • Marvel at the full range of different cave formations.

Key Information

  • Four days exploring, three nights camping
  • Tour type: Join-in tour; Private tour
  • Only available January – August due to annual flooding, depart every Thursday and Sunday
  • Difficulty: Level 5 · Hard
  • Group size: 8 people maximum
  • Age: 16 years and above
  • Distance: 22 km trekking, 5km caving, 1km swimming (50-200m), 900m elevation gain, two 10m ladder climbs, 15m abseiling
  • 2 nights stay at Chay Lap Farmstay before and after the tour
  • Transport from Dong Hoi airport to Chay Lap Farmstay and vice versa

Itinerary

Due to the weather conditions, the itinerary may need to be changed at short notice. The paths can be muddy and slippery after rain. Lifejackets are required while swimming in the cave.

Arrival date in Phong Nha

Oxalis's transport will pick you up at Dong Hoi airport or train station and transfer to Chay Lap Farmstay for check-in procedures.

You can experience free activities while staying at Chay Lap Farmstay including 1-hour kayaking on the Chay river, 2 hours cycling on peaceful village roads, or participate in other activities such as gardening, herbal sauna, and water skiing. In the evening, you can enjoy dinner with a variety of local dishes at Chay Lap restaurant (at your own expense) and prepare yourself for the trip the next day.

Day 1: Chay Lap - Secret cave - Tu Lan Campsite

From 8:00 on Day 1, we will pick you up at Chay Lap Farmstay and take a one-hour drive to the Oxalis Adventure office in Tan Hoa, located 70km from Phong Nha. Here you will have a tour safety briefing, sign the release form, and receive the required equipment for the tour.

After the briefing, the trek starts with a flat path past peanut fields and grazing buffalo and cows. A river crossing leads to a short but steep and rocky uphill section, Secret Cave is waiting for you ahead. Secret Cave is quite small but extremely magnificent with unique stalactites and cave pearls. It was formed many years ago but has just been discovered by the porter of Oxalis in recent years. Highlight paths are set to minimize erosion and protect formations within the cave. After the exploration, the crew will turn back and have a picnic lunch at the cave entrance.

More hills and jungle trekking before you drop down to Tu Lan Valley and your camp for the night. Finish the day with a swim into Ken Cave. Dinner is prepared and served by the porter team. After dinner enjoy the evening before sleeping in your comfortable tent. Composting toilets, changing tents and drying racks are provided at camps.

Day 2: Tu Lan cave- Hang Kim Cave - Hang Hung Ton Cave - Hung Dung Valley Camp

The following day you will trek and swim through three caves: Tu Lan Cave, Kim Cave, and Hung Ton Cave. After breakfast, you will have a briefing and practice using the abseil equipment. From the campsite trek across the valley and into the dry entrance of Tu Lan Cave. Follow the dry passage to the end. Here the safety team will help you put on the abseil equipment. Enjoy the 15m abseil into the lower river passage with only your headlight to illuminate the chambers. Our guide and safety team will assist you all the way. Land on the raft and paddle out of the wet entrance.

The crew continued to swim through Kim cave and explore about 300m of this dry cave. You will have the opportunity to witness natural sunlight shining in the cave's bed through the collapse thousands of years ago. Lunch at picturesque To Mo valley with waterfall and jade lake among the mountains awaits after Kim cave. Cross the valley and enter Hung Ton Cave next to the small waterfall. Swim 100m along to the dry passage, where you will climb a metal ladder with the extra protection of a safety line. Follow the dry passage to the exit. The final hills of the day follow with a steep 150m climb and descent into the La Ken valley followed by a small hill into Hung Dung and camp. Enjoy your dinner after a long and challenging day.

Day 3: Hung Dung Valley Camp - Hung Nhai Valleyt - Hang Tien Cave Campsite

The third day is a long trekking day over hills and through beautiful valleys and jungle. You will cover a total of 8km with an ascent of around 350m. From the camp you head uphill and trek through the jungle to Hung Nhai, a pleasant and mainly flat scenic valley. Lunch will be next to the river, before the last big hill of the day. Ascend and descend around 200m to arrive at a different river valley. A short trek upstream leads you to Hang Tien campsite and a pretty blue lagoon. Here the underground river wells up providing a cool natural swimming pool. Relax and enjoy after your long hike.

Day 4: Hang Tien 1 - Hang Tien 2 Cave - Chay Lap Farmstay

The pace continues on the fourth and final day. After breakfast, you will follow a very rocky trail to the entrance of Hang Tien, the largest cave in the Tu Lan System. Pass inside the spectacular entrance and proceed through the cave to the exit after a 10m ladder climb with a safety rope. A short jungle section leads you to the second dry cave, with amazing rock patterns and cave formations. Then the crew return to the cave entrance and start the final challenge of the expedition: climbing 200m and passing two rocky mountains. Take your time, this is not a race. Lunch will be prepared in the valley along the way. You will soon join an old logging trail, and then a fairly flat forest walks back to the road. Here you will be picked up with a welcome cold drink.

Return to the office in Tan Hoa, take a shower and transfer to Chay Lap Farmstay and enjoy a gala dinner with your guide at 19h30. If you wish to go directly from Tan Hoa to Dong Hoi, please notify Oxalis for assistance.

Departure: Stay or transfer to Dong Hoi

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, take a swim in the pool at Chay Lap or enjoy Chay Lap water sports center before leaving. Off-property excursions are also available and can be booked directly through Chay Lap Farmstay.

Please contact our adventure consultant and inform your tour guide of your departure time the night before to arrange a transfer. We wish you all the best in your onward travels!

Adventure Level

Adventure Level 5 · Hard

  • 4-day tour
  • Moderate to hard trekking- very rocky terrain
  • 22km of trekking including 5km of caving
  • Total elevation gain: 900m
  • River crossings
  • 1km swimming (50-200m)
  • 15m underground abseil using ropes and harnesses (with instruction and supervision)
FAQs
  • How do I get to Phong Nha?

    If you are arriving from oversea, there are two main international airports connect with Dong Hoi Airport: Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi Capital) in the north and Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City) in the south. There’re many daily flights connecting between 2 main airports with Dong Hoi Airport. From Dong Hoi airport you can get a taxi or shuttle bus to Phong Nha which takes around 45 minutes. You can choose other means of transportation. From Hanoi, Ninh Binh, Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An to Phong Nha by sleeper bus, or to Dong Hoi City by train. If you are planning to our tour once arrived in Phong Nha then please make sure your bus/train arrives before 6:00 am to take your tour on time.

    If your arrival time is too early, please contact us to get a FREE dorm bed at Oxalis Home to have a few hours rest before taking the tour. We have gathered all information regarding arrival and departure in the link below, please check for more details.
    https://oxalisadventure.com/arrival-departure-guide/

  • What is the weather like?

    The weather in Phong Nha is quite mild and divided into 4 main seasons.
    • Mid-November to early March: the weather is quite cold, the temperature ranges from 12-15°C;
    • Mid-March to late June: dry season, quite stable weather, light showers, temperatures in the range of 22-38°C (May to June is usually the peak heat wave, the temperature can rise up to 38 degrees);
    • Mid-July to mid-September: hot season, increased rainfall, temperature ranges from 25-35°C.
    • Mid-September to mid-November: rainy season, usually with prolonged heavy rain, possible flooding.
    (For safety reasons, Oxalis Adventure closes all tours during this time every year).
    In addition, typhoons, droughts or floods may occur in Phong Nha if the weather conditions are erratic. Prior 1 day to your arrival to Phong Nha, you can conveniently check the weather forecast and prepare for your trip accordingly, here: accuweather.com
    This website shows an approximately accurate weather forecast of the area.

  • My child (under 16 y/o) is accompanying me. Can they join the tour?

    If your child is in the age bracket of 11-16 y/o, we offer a private tour option. Feel free to contact our adventure consultant team for assistance in this regard.

  • What benefits will I enjoy if I book multiple tours and services with The Oxalis Group?

    The Oxalis Group has four primary members:
    Oxalis Adventure: Asia’s biggest adventure tour operator, conducting jungle and cave tours in the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park and Tu Lan Cave System.
    Chay Lap Farmstay & Resort: One of the top accommodations in Vietnam, blending a rustic countryside aura with luxury.
    Di Di Thoi: A full service tour operator located in Phong Nha, Quang Binh, offering a variety of classic tours, soft-adventures and inspiring local experiences.
    Son Đoong Bungalow: Based in the prime location of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, Son Doong Bungalow offers unique features of indigenous culture, magnificent landscapes and hospitable locals.

    • You will receive a 10% discount for the second tour and onwards for Oxalis Adventure - Xiều Oxalis.
    • A special room rate at Chay Lap Farmstay & Resort at just VND 1.3 million/night, discounted from the original price of VND 2.6 million/night.
    • You will also enjoy a 10% discount on all Di Di Thoi tours.
    • Discount for room bookings at Son Doong Bungalow at VND 1.540 million for Family Room (maximum 4 adults), VND 1.120 million/night for Deluxe Rooms (1-2 adults) and VND 910.000/night for Superior Rooms (1-2 adults). Applicable to all guests booking tours with Oxalis Adventure or Di Di Thoi during the tour processing time.

    Our consultant will happily assist you, should you need further details on these benefits.

  • Where would the excess luggage be kept and how much luggage would the porters carry on tour?

    Your luggage will be kept at the offices in Phong Nha and Tan Hoa. For high-value belongings, please inform the staff, so that it can be stored safely in the locker.
    With 1-day tour, guests' items are not too many, so safety assistants can assist guests. In case guests have a lot of items, they will prepare a medium-sized backpack (type 15-20L) and bring it on their own during the journey.
    For 2-3 day tours, guests' equipment used at the camp will be supported by Oxalis porters, the maximum weight is 3kg / person / tour. The daily necessities will be brought by guests, Oxalis provides floating backpacks for visitors to Tu Lan and Hang Tien tours, guests prepare their own medium-sized backpacks (type 15-25L) when participating in Hang En and Hang Va.
    Similar provisions for the Tu Lan 4-day tour, however, luggage used at the camp has a maximum weight of 5kg / person / tour.

  • What if I am a solo traveler, can I join a group?

    Solo travelers are most welcome and make up a large percentage of most groups.

  • Why do I have to sign your Release Form?

    We require customers to sign our Release Form to confirm they accept this is an adventure tour and they have to follow our guide’s instructions and safety rules. Customers also accept they have some responsibilities for their own safety.

  • I was wondering what the swimming is like in the trip? Will there be life jackets?

    It is true that you will swim up to 1 km on the Tu Lan Cave Encounter 2 days in 4 river caves. The shortest part is 70 m and the longest part is 250 m and all customers are required to wear a life-jacket while on tour due to safety purpose, regardless of swimming abilities. If you cannot swim at all but insist in doing the Tu Lan tour, your tour guide and safety assistant can assist you in the swim portions.

Preparations

Please visit our FAQ general page to read our specific What to Bring list before departing for Vietnam and your cave expedition.

WE WILL PROVIDE

  • 2 night’s accommodation at Chay Lap Farmstay (single or double room)
  • Transfer between Chay Lap Farmstay and Dong Hoi City center before and after the tour
  • 1 hour complimentary kayaking at Chay Riverside
  • Camping gear: tent, camp light, sleeping bag, mattresses, pillow
  • Caving & safety gear: caving helmet, life jacket, gloves, safety harness, ropes..
  • Professional caving headlight (Hope Technology headlights – 1500 lumens)
  • Photography lighting supports (Hope Technology – R8 3,000 lumens)
  • Light PVC backpack (if you do not want to take your own, as it will get wet)
  • Biodegradable plastic bag (for clothing and personal belongings)
  • Basic canvas trekking boots (only if you do not have your own pair) sizes 36 – 46
  • Meals on tour: breakfast, picnic lunch and dinner (day 1, 2, 3 & 4); and breakfast on departure.
  • Gala dinner on day 4
  • Professional English-speaking tour guide and safety assistants
  • Porter team to carry all camping gear and prepare all meals
  • Porter team to carry all your personal belongings to camp
  • Shared dry box for phones and small cameras (limited availability for larger cameras)
  • Water filter (used only by guide and porters) and water bottle
  • Basic camping facilities with eco-friendly compost toilet using western toilet seat
  • First Aid Kit and Medical Rescue Equipment, satellite phone (application by guides and porters only)
  • Secure Storage Facility at Oxalis Tan Hoa office to store all luggage you will not be taking on the trek

YOU WILL NEED TO BRING

  • 2 pairs of long pants and 2 long-sleeved shirts (quick dry) to wear during the trek.
  • 2 pair of shorts and t-shirts to wear at the campsite and swimsuit
  • 1 pair of trekking boots/shoes – difficult terrain, good footwear necessary. Gore-Tex/waterproof boots are NOT recommended as they do not drain well (but you may wear them, if you prefer your own comfortable pair)
  • 1 pair of flip flops (sandals) for the campsite
  • 1 medium-size towel
  • 3-4 pairs of calf length densely woven socks (not ankle socks!)
  • Antifungal foot powder (talcum powder)
  • Personal items: mosquito repellent, sunglasses, hat, camera, underwear, toiletries
  • Shoe pads (inner soles) and thick socks if using Oxalis canvas trekking boots

Pricing and availability

Please choose your departure date using the calendar below.

  • This tour is operated from January to August (closed from Sep to Dec.)
  • The days in bold are still available
  • All the bookings in 2020 are full, see the schedule below for your adventure in 2021.new_releases
  • 10% off for Xiều.

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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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