Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer Tour

The journey of 4 days and 3 nights to discover wild Tu Lan is a journey that brings customers to experience the full Tu Lan cave system. With a gentle journey and not too difficult for participants, joining this tour, customers also have the opportunity to experience a dinner at local people's houses and stay overnight at Tu Lan Lodge at the end of the journey.

This Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer Tour is a shorter version of the Tu Lan Expedition Tour. The trekking is easier and the distance is shorter. This tour is suitable for guests who have less time but still want to experience Tu Lan nature as much as possible.

A level 3 - moderately difficult trekking tour, this adventure tour is suitable for most people, who may work in offices, but participate in some sports and physical activities. Over 4 days and 3 nights, this Tu Lan cave tour will visit the primeval forest and unique limestone caves. Guests are offered 1 night at Tu Lan Lodge after the tour.

Together with the Son Doong Expedition Tour, the Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer (TL3) has become the most popular of Oxalis tours. Joining this wild cave tour visitors will be able to enjoy these unique activities:

  • Swimming in an underground river inside the cave: The valleys are connected by a system of underground caves. Visitors can experience the magical feeling of swimming in the total darkness of the cave. This is one of the most unique experiences of Tu Lan tours. If you don't want to swim, you can sit on the raft.
  • Explore many beautiful caves: This is a trekking tour in Vietnam where guests will visit: Rat Cave, Ken Cave, Tu Lan Cave, Kim Cave, Hung Ton Cave, and particularly Song Oxalis Cave. Song Oxalis Cave is a dry cave located near the top of the mountain and is packed with numerous amazing calcite formations.
  • Camping at the gorgeous Tu Lan campsites: Visitors will have 2 nights camping at different locations in the jungle. The camps are in the most beautiful spots, with waterfalls, and natural swimming pools surrounded by forest covered limestone mountains.
  • Enjoy some great food: During the trek, guests can enjoy delicious meals prepared by local chefs.
  • Local experience: At the end of the adventure, guests will have dinner at one of the local homes in Tan Hoa. 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 accommodation after the trip: On this trip, visitors will spend the night at Tu Lan Lodge right in Tan Hoa. This accommodation was built by Oxalis to adapt to the area's annual flooding situation. The rooms are built on the side of the hill or with the floating house design, so that when the flood comes, the house will float up.

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.

TL3 trekking graph


The itinerary of the Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer may be adjusted according to the weather conditions. The path will be muddy and slippery on rainy days.

Download the itinerary

Phong Nha – Tan Hoa – Rat Cave – Tu Lan Campsite

From 07:30 - 08:00 The bus will pick you up at your hotel in Phong Nha and continue to the Tan Hoa office. At the office, visitors will listen to the safety briefing, including the itinerary, sign the release form, pack for the trek and receive safety equipment.

After the briefing, the trip will start with a 2.5km flat walk through fields of peanuts and corn. From afar, the entrance of Rat Cave will come into view. After crossing the Rao Nan River, the group will have a short break and lunch under the high ceiling inside Rat Cave. After lunch, the group will continue further into the cave to marvel at the magnificent stalactites. Clamber up through the exit of Rat Cave to continue the journey.

It will take the group 30 minutes to cross the La Ken Valley and reach the toughest challenge of the day – Lom Com Mountain, quite steep and rocky. After crossing the mountains, trek down to where the Tu Lan Valley appears, with the roar of the waterfall as it cascades from the cave entrance. Here the group will camp for the first night and swim in the blue pool next to the campsite. Settle into your tent and enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by the local chef.

Ken Cave -Tu Lan Cave – Kim Cave – To Mo Valley

The second day continues full of cave adventures and explores three beautiful caves of the Tu Lan Cave System; Ken Cave, Tu Lan Cave and Kim Cave. After breakfast, the group will first explore and swim into Ken Cave, which is one of the most beautiful caves in the Tu Lan Cave System.

The group will return to camp for lunch. After lunch the cave adventure carries on, to explore and swim in Tu Lan Cave - a beautiful river cave giving its name to the whole cave system. The group will climb up from the river into the dry passage and emerge into the valley. Crossing the valley, the group will reach the entrance of Kim Cave, where you will continue your journey by swimming in the dark and crossing beautiful waterfalls to reach To Mo Valley. This stunning valley is the second campsite of this Quang Binh adventure tour. Another delicious dinner will be served.

Song Oxalis Cave - Hung Ton Cave

Starting the third day, a steep hill is waiting to be conquered and it will lead you to the entrance of Song Oxalis Cave – a cave with the most unique and rare cave coral calcite formations. After contemplating the beauty of Song Oxalis Cave, trek downhill back to the campsite, and enjoy lunch, before crossing To Mo Valley and entering Hung Ton Cave beside the waterfall.

The group will swim through the cave to reach the dry passage and climb a 15m ladder with a safety harness to reach the final cave exit. Trek across Hung Ton Valley and cross the ‘baby’ hill to the Rao Nan River. From here, the group will return to the Tan Hoa office by trekking through the farm fields.

At the Oxalis Tan Hoa office, the group will check in to Tu Lan Lodge to shower and relax.

Around 6:00 pm, the group will walk to the local’s house for dinner and interact with some villagers. After dinner, the group will come back to Tu Lan Lodge to rest.

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 the 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 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
chaylapfarmstay.com →

Weather and Climate in Tu Lan - Tan Hoa area

Tu Lan - Tan Hoa has 4 seasons in a year (spring, summer, autumn and winter). Due to the weather conditions, and because Oxalis Adventure wants to protect and conserve the Tu Lan Cave System the Wild Tu Lan Explorer Tour will only be available from mid November to mid September every year. Weather conditions in the Tu Lan –Tan Hoa area are different in each season.

From January to March, there are some cold days, especially on rainy days but there are also many warm sunny days. April and May are the warmer months, and this is the time when wildflowers are blooming. From June to August are the hot summer months, but most of the time visitors are in the cave with the temperature from 22 to 25 degrees, or forest, so it should not feel too hot. In the summer months, visitors can comfortably swim in the streams and underground lakes inside Vietnam caves, so exploring Tu Lan is the ideal suggestion for you if you don't know where to go for 3 days and 4 nights.

Each season will have its own unique features for visitors to explore, and find out more about the uniqueness of nature. In addition, visitors can check the weather in Tu Lan - Tan Hoa through Accuweather before joining the tour.

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Adventure level on tour

After many years of adventure tourism activities, Oxalis Adventure has created a Level of Adventure scale to help guests participating in Oxalis tours to visualize and choose the adventure tour most suitable for their fitness and health. This scale is not to be applied to other companies or tours with different conditions and terrains. The easiest level (level 1) anyone can join, and the most difficult level - 6 requires regular exercise and some trekking experience. Those who often play sports or do exercise can complete this tour.

Adventure level 3 · Moderate
The Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer tour is rated as Moderate (Level 3) 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, steep hills, long trek or multiple swims
The number of guests per tour: Maximum 10 customers; Age 16-70 years old.

  • Moderate trekking
  • 18km of trekking including 4km of caving
  • 435m elevation gain
  • 1km swimming (50-200m)
  • There will be some rocky terrain, long and steep hills, underground swims and river crossings and a 15m ladder climb with a safety rope, operated by the safety team.
Adventure Level TL3 trekking graph

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Physical fitness requirements for Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer Tour

The basic physical fitness requirements for participating in the Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer 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 Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer 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 Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer 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

This is always the top priority of Oxalis Adventure to ensure the safety of both visitors and Oxalis’ staff on any trip, including multi 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.

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

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Communication on tour

The Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer Tour is an adventure tour with moderate difficulty, the tour area is located deep in a forest, far from external support such as medical assistance, hospitals etc. The trekking tour follows jungle trails, with hills up and down, and no paths are suitable for vehicles. There is no phone signal, no wifi, and no charging facilities.

Each Oxalis cave tour is equipped with 1 satellite phone for the guide to contact the office in case of emergency. Guests can only use the internet and phone at the hotel before and after the Oxalis tours. While trekking in the mountains and exploring the caves, the safety team will communicate with each other by walkie-talkie if necessary.

Oxalis Adventure has an established "Emergency Response Procedure" 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 Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer tour

Cave tours in Vietnam will cross a variety of terrains and customers will be asked to prepare suitable clothing for safety and comfort. Clothing should be good for trekking in the jungle, river crossings, or exploring the cave as well as avoiding dangers and risks from sharp rocks, snakes, insects, or poison ivy. Visitors need to choose a good, well-fitting pair of shoes for steep rocky terrain and they should not be waterproof, as during river crossings they will hold water inside.

You need to prepare

Essential clothing

  • Trekking clothes:
    - 2-3 quick-dry, bright, long-sleeved shirts
    - 2-3 pairs of long trekking pants (quick-dry)
    - 1 waterproof jacket (winter months November to March)
  • Campsite clothing sets:
    - Warm clothes for winter from November to March;
    - Shorts and T-shirts for summer from April to September
  • 1 pair of good gripping trekking shoes (drainable); *Waterproof/Gore Tex shoes are not recommended.
  • 2-3 pairs of calf-length, thick socks
  • 1 pair of sandals/slides for campsite
  • Swimwear using at the Campsites

Personal items

  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sunglasses, sun hat, sunscreen
  • Hand fan for summer (April to September)
  • 1 medium towels
  • Underwear
  • Personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, nature-friendly shampoo & soap, …)
  • Power banks
  • Personal medication
  • Antifungal foot powder
  • Passport

Oxalis provides

  • Camping equipment: tent, mattresses, pillow, sleeping bags
  • Caving and safety gears: helmet, headlight, gloves, …
  • PVC backpack (35L) to carry helmet, drumbox, water and things you need during the trek
  • Basic trekking boots (size 36-46 EU)
  • Water bottle (1L)
  • Water filter
  • Compost toilet, toilet paper, hand cleaner
  • Semi-dry bag (15L) for campsite clothing sets and personal items
  • First aid and medical rescue equipment
  • Satellite phone
  • Mini-size portable fan inside the tent (in summer)
  • Secure storage at office

Optional items

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

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Campsites on the tour

The campsites in Tu Lan trekking tours are situated in 2 of the most beautiful camping areas. Each campsite has its own special features that make it unique. The campsites are equipped with lightning rod systems to ensure safety for visitors on stormy days.

On the first day, visitors will camp in Tu Lan Valley. This campsite has a stream and 5m high waterfall flowing out from Ken Cave and forming a large natural pool. The camping area is a stretch of golden sand beside the lake. Here you can hear the birds chirping in the woods every morning, or watch the clouds hovering on the side of the cliff in front of Ken Cave entrance.

The campsite for the second day is in the To Mo Valley. The campsite is located next to the stream and a large lake fed by the waterfall pouring out of Hung Ton Cave. This is also where director Victor Vu filmed scenes for the 2018 movie The Immortal. Note: The water may not be clear on rainy days.

The average temperature in winter is around 15 to 28 degrees, and in summer 30 to 38 degrees Celsius. Guests are provided with a warm sleeping bag in winter or a battery fan in the tent during the summer months. More information about the "unique campsites in Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer tour" - camping inside Quang Binh forest is available here.

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Bathing at the campsite

All campsites of Tu Lan Adventure tours are located close to a river, lake or waterfall. Customers are free to swim at the camps. Oxalis staff will carry out lifeguard duties to ensure the safety of customers. At the campsites, Oxalis has prepared a number of water tanks to store clean water in case the river water is brown due to heavy rain. To protect water resources, shampoo or conditioner are not allowed to be used in the river or pools, and must be discharged onto the sandy area of the campsite. Environmental friendly biological shampoo is required on tour.

Toilet at the campsites

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.

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Directions to Phong Nha

Phong Nha is located 45 km from Dong Hoi City, the capital of Quang Binh Province (About 40 minutes by car). 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.

  • 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.

You can check out the means of transportation to Phong Nha here. “How to get to Phong Nha?". All participants of Oxalis Adventure tours will be picked up at their designated hotel around Phong Nha town on the morning of the departure day.

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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, 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

Due to limited capacity and to minimize the effect on the environment and ecosystem of Tu Lan, Tu Lan Discovery tour has a limited number of visitors each year. The tours are open for sale on a fixed schedule and individuals can join by themselves or in a group. In addition, Oxalis also has a few private tours for special groups or film crews. Please see the departure schedule in the calendar box below, the dates in bold are the dates available. If you do not see the calendar box 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 about refund and cancellation terms here.

Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer tour price includes

The cost of Wild Tu Lan tour is 9,500,000 VND (~US$396) per person, this tour price includes VAT, entrance fee and environment fee and management fee. The tour includes the following services:

  • Transfer from Tan Hoa to Dong Hoi airport.
  • Service staff: The tour of 10 guests will have: 1 guide, 1 safety assistant, 1 chef, 2 sous chefs, 4 porters and 2 supplier porters who will be responsible for carrying fresh ingredients into the camp for everyday use.
  • Food and beverage: Oxalis provides meals, tea, and coffee for guests during the trip (excluding any extra requests). Dinner with a local family after the tour. Dishes follow a fixed menu and vegetarian or vegan dishes are also provided at the request of the guest.
  • Accommodation: Oxalis offer two nights in the tent during the jungle trek and 1 night at Tu Lan Lodge after the trek.
  • Safety equipment: Oxalis will provide safety equipment such as helmets, safety harnesses, caving headlamps, gloves and other safety equipment.
  • Traveling insurance: Oxalis buys travel insurance for all tourists participating in the tour with a maximum compensation of VND 10,000,000. 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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