Tu Lan Family Experience Tour

The 1-Day Tu Lan Family Experience Tour is a wonderful one day family trip to safely explore nature, and the beauty of the Tu Lan Cave system. Families are accompanied at all times by a team of Safety Assistants and a Tour Guide. Families will participate in activities such as: walking through the jungle, swimming in natural rivers, having a picnic lunch in the jungle, trekking and climbing to explore Rat Cave, and playing some enjoyable games.

This is a tour for family members to bond together as well as for children to experience the outdoors and learn new skills. Joining this family adventure day, guests will experience the following unique features:

  • Trekking as a family you will walk through 2 large and beautiful valleys, Tan Hoa Valley and La Ken Valley: farmlands surrounded by a chain of limestone mountains and primeval forests.
  • Explore Rat Cave: A cave has many unique and magnificent cave formations. On this family adventure tour, parents and their kids will have the opportunity to learn about and explore this million-year-old cave.
  • Enjoy swimming in the clear blue river, which flows from the limestone mountains.
  • Relax with a picnic lunch by the river, with the well-known spring roll barbecue prepared by local chefs. One of the best family experiences.

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.

TF1 trekking graph

Itinerary

The Tu Lan Family Experience schedules can be changed due to weather conditions. The jungle trail can be quite muddy and slippery when raining. The Tu Lan Family Experience itinerary, booking process, fees and other information is detailed below.

Download the itinerary

Briefing At Tan Hoa - Trekking To Explore Rat Cave Waterfall

From 07:00 to 07:30 am on the day of the tour, the bus will pick you up at your hotel in the Phong Nha area, then drive to Oxalis’ office in Tan Hoa Village, 70 km from Phong Nha. At the office, the guide will provide a safety briefing where you will hear about the rules and guidelines on trekking tours for children, and the tour schedule; sign the Release Form, pack your bag, and receive the safety equipment for the tour. (The transfer to Tan Hoa is included in the price of a 1-day Tu Lan Family Experience Tour).

After the safety briefing, the family trip will start with a flat walk across green fields for about 2.5km to reach the Rao Nan River. Safely cross the river with your safety team.

At the end of the valley, the family trip becomes more adventurous as the group will climb over a small hill to reach the Laken Valley (the name of the Mua flower in Nguon language). Walking through the grassy fields of flowers you will arrive at a small waterfall. Stop for lunch by the river, relax, swim and let the children enjoy some interesting activities such as: how to hang a hammock, how to make Cheo sauce and play some water games.

Notice

You need to be in Phong Nha before 06:30 am on the day of the tour and should not have any other plans to avoid being late for departure.

If you want to get to Phong Nha by train on the morning of the tour, you should book the SE3 departing from Hanoi/Ninh Binh to Dong Hoi station; or the SE8 departing from Da Nang/Hue to Dong Hoi station (it is recommended to book an additional pick-up from Dong Hoi station to Phong Nha). After that, Oxalis' bus for the Tu Lan Family Experience Tour will transfer everyone from Phong Nha to Tu Lan. Tu Lan is about 112 km from Dong Hoi, if you wish to travel there directly, please contact Oxalis for specific transfer advice.

Oxalis offers a free dorm room with 14 comfortable bunk beds at Oxalis Home (at Oxalis Phong Nha Office) for guests arriving in Phong Nha early in the morning of the tour. Please inform us in advance if you would like to use the free dorm room. Scroll down to Prices and availability to see the schedule for the Tu Lan 1-day Family Experience tour.

Explore Rat Cave

After having lunch at Rat Cave Waterfall, the group will hike up to the exit of Rat Cave. The guide and safety assistant will give instructions on how to use the helmets and headlights. Climb down the rocky slope assisted by the team, to explore the 300 m long Rat Cave - A tremendous cave with magnificent cave formations. Using headlights to explore the cave the children will feel like real adventurers. Reaching the entrance of the cave, you will see the whole passage lit up by the sunlight coming in the entrance of the cave. Leaving Rat Cave, the whole family trekking group will wade across the Rao Nan River again before walking back to the office.

Return to Oxalis Tan Hoa office by the same way to finish the tour. At the office, the group can take a shower, relax and watch the sun go down in Tan Hoa with a cool drink. The bus will take the group back to Phong Nha at around 17:00 - 17:30 pm, ending a great family adventure day.

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
chaylapfarmstay.com →

Weather and Climate in Tan Hoa - Tu Lan

The Tan Hoa - Tu Lan area has 4 seasons in a year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter) like many northern provinces of Vietnam. Due to the weather and for conservation, Tu Lan Family Experience Tours are only operated from December to the middle of September. 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.

Each season offers something to enjoy on this 1 day family tour. In addition, visitors can check the weather in Tu Lan- Tan Hoa through Accuweather before joining the Vietnam caving tour.

Read more

Adventure level on tour

After many years of operating adventure tours, Oxalis has created an adventure scale to help tourists visualize and choose the right trip. 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. A high level of fitness is not required for the Tu Lan Family Experience tour but guests should enjoy physical activity.

Adventure Level 1 · Introductory
The Tu Lan Family Experience Tour is rated as Easy (Level 1) 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.
Number of guests per tour: Maximum 12 guests, age 6-70 years old (Children must be accompanied by a parent).
Expect: Easy trails, some rocky sections, optional swim

  • Easy trek, suitable for children
  • 6km trekking, 300m caving
  • Swims and river crossings
  • 110m elevation gain
Adventure Level TF1 trekking graph

Read more

Physical fitness requirements for Tu Lan Family Experience Tour

The basic physical fitness requirements for participating in the Tu Lan Family 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 or walk for 45 minutes.
    - Climb 5 floors continuously without experiencing shortness of breath or dizziness.

The physical requirements mentioned above are not mandatory for children. However, they are expected to engage in sports and maintain a healthy weight.

Guests aged 6 to 70 are permitted to join the Tu Lan Family 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 Family 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/.

Read more

Safety when joining the tour

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

Risk prevention and management

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.

You can learn more about "Adventure Safety Tips" here.

Read more

Communication on tour

Tu Lan Family Experience Tour is an adventure tour with some difficulties, this tour is operated in a fairly remote location. There is no phone signal, no wifi, and no charging facilities. Some basic phones (but not smartphones) can pick up a signal, and staff would use these in the event of an emergency. The location of the family tour is not so remote, and evacuation to the road head would not be an issue.

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 may 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.

Read more

Items to bring on tour

Tu Lan Family Experience Tour involves different terrains and weather conditions, so guests need to be well prepared. They will be asked to have 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 trekking tours with your family. Visitors must choose a good and well fitting pair of shoes for rocky paths and should NOT buy waterproof footwear for river crossings as they will retain water. Please test your shoes before the trek. The Oxalis tour consultant will give you helpful advice before joining the Tu Lan Family Experience Tour.

Provided by you (required)

Essential clothing

  • 1 quick-dry, bright long-sleeved T-shirts
  • 1 quick-dry trekking pant
  • 1 waterproof jacket (in winter)
  • 1 pair of trekking shoes with good drainage
  • 1 pairs of calf-length, densely-woven socks

Accessories

  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sunglasses, sun hat, sunscreen

Personal items

  • Power banks
  • Passport

Provided by Oxalis

  • Essential gear: camping, caving, and safety
  • 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
  • First aid and medical rescue equipment
  • Secure storage at office

Optional

  • Arm cover if wearing short-sleeved T-shirts
  • Camera & Tripod
  • Backpack (20L-30L) per family

Read more

Bathing at the campsite

The lunch spot for Tu Lan Family Experience is located next to the river and pools so guests can swim here. All swimming activities are supervised by safety assistants. Soap and shampoo cannot be used in the rivers and pools.

The 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.

Read more

How to get to Phong Nha - Tu Lan

Phong Nha is located 45 km from Dong Hoi City, the capital of Quang Binh Province (about 40 minutes by car). You just need to get to Dong Hoi, and Oxalis staff can arrange the rest. You can book a carpool/private car service from Oxalis to pick you up at the airport or train station, or you can hire a taxi. There are many ways to get to Dong Hoi such as a plane, train or 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.

Read more

Tour booking process

This is an adventure tour in Vietnam and requires a lot of logistic 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.

Read more

Tour price and available dates for booking

For conservation and safety the Tu Lan Family Experience tour has a limited annual number of visitors. The tours are operated from December to mid September (closed from September to December.) Tours depart on a fixed schedule and each individual can book and join with others. Children must be accompanied by one parent and must be 8 years or older. 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.

Terms of tour cancellation

To confirm the booking, visitors will be asked to pay 100% of the tour price. Guests may cancel the trip 7 days prior to the departure date and receive a full refund. For cancellations after 7 days, no refund will be given. Please see more refund and cancellation terms here.

Tu Lan Family Experience tour price includes

The price of the Tu Lan Family Experience Tour is 2,300,000 VND (US$96) per guest and includes VAT, sightseeing fee, and environmental service fee along with the following services:

  • Logistics: Each 12-guest tour will have 1 tour guide, 4 safety assistants, 1 chef, 1 porter.
  • Meals: Oxalis provides food, tea and coffee for visitors during the journey (excluding extra requests by guests). The dishes follow a fixed menu. There are vegetarian or vegan options available. Please request in advance.
  • Safety equipment: Oxalis will provide safety equipment such as helmets, harnesses, headlamps, gloves and other safety equipment.
  • Travel insurance: Oxalis buys travel insurance for all guests 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.

Read more

FAQs

You may like

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.

Soft adventure

Overnight tours

Multi-day packages