Tu Lan Expedition
4 days / 3 nightsReturn to
6:00 pm - 6:30 pm at any local hotel in Phong Nha.Time of departure
8:00 am - 8:30 am from any local hotel in Phong NhaGroup size
2 pax - 8pax. Minimum Age: 16 yearsTelephone
Tel: +84.52.3677678. Sales hotline: +84 (0) 919 900 163 (Ms.Yen); +84 (0) 919 900 423 (Jamie); Operation hotline: +84 919 900 357 (Ms.Hai)Fax
Tour description provided by Oxalis
Our most adventurous Tu Lan experience, this mini-expedition is led by a caving expert from the British Cave Research Association, along with a skilled adventure guide and porter team and cooks made up of local jungle men.
This caving adventure takes you into remote areas of this unique caving region, home to the most spectacular jungle and caves of Vietnam! You will also learn some caving techniques, and see how to set up jungle camps. Cave photography is an option and the guides will be able to assist you producing top quality images in the caves. On this tour we will bring 2 very high power 2,500 lumen flood lamps to make photography and video possible.
On this 35 km tough jungle and cave trek, there is plenty to keep your heart racing with some dark cave abseiling, bouldering, climbing and a lot of swimming through the caves. Our secluded jungle campsites are breathtaking and mostly different from those visited on our shorter treks in the same region.
Our Tu Lan Expedition will take you to Hang Tien Cave, one of the largest caves in the region, and with your caving expert you’ll explore up to 2 km of this huge and impressive cave, which is certainly a highlight of the expedition!
- Duration: 4 days / 3 nights
- Adventure Level: Moderate-to-hard (35 km) for physically active guests (swimming necessary)
- Availability: Weekly departures on Sundays
- Small Group Tours: 2 pax - 8 pax
- Minimum Age: 16 years
- Tour Starts: 8:00 am - 8:30 am from any local hotel in Phong Nha.
- Tour Ends: 6:00 pm - 6:30 pm at any local hotel in Phong Nha.
- Price: 14,000,000 VND or US$656/pax
Day 1: Phong Nha - Tan Hoa - Secret Cave - Tu Lan
The expedition takes off with pick up from your hotel in Phong Nha between 8:00 am and 8:30 am, before transferring to the village of Tan Hoa. Following a comprehensive safety briefing, which will include abseiling from a cliff 15m high, the trek gets underway with a hike across peanut and buffalo fields (2.5 km) to the Rao Nan River.
After crossing the river, it’s a 50 m climb up to the entrance of Secret Cave. Then, climb down to Hung Ton Valley (100 m), where lunch will be served picnic-style. Cross Hung Ton Valley and conquer Hung Ton Mountain. A 2 km trail leads the way to Mango Mountain, It’s 2 km more to Tu Lan Valley and then arrival at Tu Lan Valley campsite for swimming around the cooling waterfall before a well-earned dinner with the team.
Day 2: Tu Lan - Hang Ken - Hang Kim - Hung Ton Valley
Breakfast starts this adventurous day off right, with a trek to Tu Lan Dry Cave and an abseil 15m into Tu Lan Wet Cave followed by a 1.5 km journey through the cave on small rafts to the underground waterfalls.
At the time of writing this has only ever been visited by the original 4 explorers. This is very exciting caving and very different from all other tours. Return to the campsite for swimming before a picnic lunch at camp. Continue the fun with a 200 m swim into Ken Cave for further cave exploration. Again we will take you much farther into this beautiful cave including long swims and short climbs in very well decorated and pristine cave passage.
After returning to camp, head out for Hang Kim (500 m trek) and proceed with further cave exploration. Swim and climb through Hang Kim (1 km) and exit at To Mo Valley. Trek to Hung Ton Wet Cave and swim through to the Hung Ton Valley Campsite, where another amazing BBQ (or vegetarian) dinner will be served. Sleep under the blanket of stars in Hung Ton Valley.
Day 3: Hung Ton Valley - La Ken Valley - Hung Nhai
Start off with breakfast and a 2.5 km trek across Hung Ton Valley and over the hill into La Ken Valley. Enjoy the cool river before trekking uphill and over the mountain to Dung Valley (2 km) where you will enjoy lunch en route.
Follow the river and then prepare for a challenging rocky hill climb to get to Hung Ran Valley. Visit a small cave and waterfall before arriving at another beautiful valley Hung Nhai. This leads to an uphill trek where a panoramic view of Cao Quang can be seen. We continue to reach our campsite next to a beautiful blue lagoon for dinner and a well earned rest.
Day 4: Hung Nhai - Hang Tien - Phong Nha
Breakfast begins the day, and straight away we climb up to the impressive huge entrance to Hang Tien. This is the only tour that visits this amazing cave.
With help from the cave experts it will be possible to explore deep into the cave. This will be a tough 4 hour cave tour to the far reaches which involves climbing through some exceptional pristine cave passage. Very few people have ever seen this remote cave and this tour gives you the chance of seeing and doing something very few people have done before.
This is a fitting climax to the tour before we finally walk along a river with a final river crossing to meet our pick up to transfer to Phong Nha before 7pm.
The Tu Lan Expedition is moderate-to-hard for anyone who considers themselves physically fit and who participates in regular outdoor activities, and is not suitable for those without trekking experience. You will trek approximately 30 km via overgrown jungle paths and valleys, and scramble over many boulders within the caves. You should be able to swim confidently as you’ll explore a number of wet caves, up to 1.5 km in some cases. You should also feel comfortable having to climb through some small passages, and also up/down a 15 m ladder (with safety rope). You will be abseiling inside the cave, and whilst no experience is necessary, you should be ready for a tough adventure requiring both mental and physical strength.
Never forget you are deep in the jungle and the difficulty of this tour is also very dependent on the weather. It can get very cold during December to March (8 – 15 degrees Celsius) and very hot during June to August (32 – 38 degrees Celsius), not to mention anytime it rains the jungle becomes very slippery and muddy! It will certainly add to the adventure.
Safety is absolutely paramount on all trips operated by Oxalis Adventure Tours, and along with having the best caving equipment, you’ll be led by a cave expert from the British Cave Research Association and one of our local adventure guides. It is not suitable for those under 16 years.
British Cave Research Association
All our tours are designed by cave experts who are members of the British Cave Research Association, and who have spent over 20 years discovering the caves around Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park and Tu Lan Cave System.
All our guides are trained in both cave conservation and cave rescue by our cave expert team.
We will provide
- Camping gear: hammock/tent, camp light, sleeping bag
- Caving & safety gear: caving helmet, caving headlight, life jacket, gloves
- Light PVC backpack (if you do not want to take your own, as it will get wet)
- Dry bag (for clothing and personal belongings excl. electronics)
- Basic canvas trekking boots (only if you do not have your own pair) sizes 38 – 46
- Meals: picnic lunches, breakfast (day 2, 3 & 4), dinner (day 1, 2 & 3)
- Caving expert from the British Cave Research Association
- Professional English-speaking tour guide and guide safety assistant
- Porter team to carry all camping gear and prepare all meals
- Shared dry box for phones and small cameras (limited availability for larger cameras)
- Katadyn (Swiss-made) water purifier (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 (application by guides and porters only
- Secure Storage Facility at Oxalis Headquarters to store all luggage you will not be taking on the trek.
You will need
- 2 long (easy to dry) pants and 2 long sleeved shirt to wear during the trek (quick dry)
- 2 pair of shorts and t-shirts to wear at campsite and swim suit
- 1 pair of trekking boots/shoes (if you prefer your own comfortable pair)
- 1 pair of flip flops (sandals) for campsite
- 1 medium size towel
- 3-4 pairs of calf length close weave socks (not ankle socks!)
- Personal items: mosquito repellent, sunglasses, hat, camera, underwear, toiletries
Pricing and availability
Our Tu Lan Cave Encounter is available with weekly departures on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays, on a join-in basis (minimum 2pax). It is advised to book in advance as this is a popular tour and we are strictly limited to 8 guests per departure.