A Travellerspoint blog

Phong Nha caving

The Tu Lan cave system, spectacular!


Phong Nha was a trip based on a recommendation from another backpacker, Nickie, so we had high hopes. It didn't disappoint! We went on a two day caving trek in the Tu Lan cave system.

The first day consisted of a hard trek/climb/scramble over rocks and through jungle to reach our evenings camp site. I can honestly say, at times it was the hardest thing I've done (Sophie typing). It was mosquito infested and the humidity made the inclines really testing. The reward at the end was a campsite by a natural waterfall and pool, to which the whole group dived straight into. We also had our first taste of caving. Pitch black, head torches on, bats swooping down to mosquitos in your headlight and wow!!!!!! A scene like I have never seen before! You float and swim through cathedral sized caves that's formations are unworldly. Truly breathtaking.

We had an evening feast of BBQ pork, morning glory greens, tomato chilli tofu, fried rice, egg noodles, omelettes, loads! Of course, they also open the local rice wine too. Then to a night in a hammock in the rain with a plastic sheet over the top, where I became an evenings feast for mosquitos. I woke up with 7 bites on my face...not impressed!

Day 2 involved lots of cave swimming around the Tu Lan system. One of its rock formations made it to the front cover of the National Geographic magazine and photo of the year. Our photo doesn't quite look the same. We had a brilliant couple of days led by Oxalis trekking and would like to come back to do their Hang En trek to spend the night on a beach in the middle of a cave. Oxalis are also the only company to trek to the biggest cave in the world, Song Doong (?spelling), but there's an 18 month waiting list and $3000 price tag to do this.

There's plenty of tourist caves to visit in the area if you don't want to trek. Paradise cave is beautiful and even though there's a lot of local tourists there it can't distract from its impressiveness. We hired a motorbike for the afternoon and took in the scenery and stopped for an iced coffee or two.

Next stop....

Posted by bloorsontour 06:48 Archived in Vietnam

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What a great adventure you're having! Wonderful! Take care, love you loads. Xxx

by Ma and Pa

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