Tour type: Group tour, single day trip
Detailed time plan:
07:45: You will be picked up by our tour guide(s) in Dong Hoi hotels.
08:15: You will be picked up by our tour guide(s) in Phong Nha village.
The tour will start at the boat station which is located at the Phong Nha-Ke Bang Tourism Centre’s ticket office. You should have a big breakfast before the trip.
After a short introduction participants will enter a tour van which will take them to another small dock located 10 minutes from the boat station and here they will use a boat to get to the mouth of the Phong Nha Cave.
The Phong Nha Cave is the most well-known cave inside the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and world’s largest wet cave! The subterranean river system can be followed all the way to what is supposedly the end of the cave 8 kilometers from the entrance. This amazing tour will take participants 4.5 kilometers deep inside the cave.
At the Phong Nha Cave’s boat station every single participant will be equipped with high quality gear required for successfully exploring the Phong Nha Cave. After successfully gearing up having checked all the equipment, the assigned tour guide will provide general information about the cave and critical safety briefing. When everything is approved by the tour guide, it’s time to start the exciting day!
Depending on the size of the group the cave will be entered either by kayak or boat. On the way in, the first two zones of the Phong Nha cave will be passed: The entrance zone & twilight zone. The entrance zone is home to many different animals like birds, fish, snakes, monkeys. Every animal that lives in the sunlight can seek shelter in the entrance zone of the cave. Not far from the mouth of the cave, the Twilight zone starts. This is the zone in which the carefully placed artificial lighting system is installed. Grand stalagmite and stalactite formations are beautifully lit up by this system as it creates a spectacular ambiance. The twilight zone stretches for about 1.2 kilometers. After the last lamp in the twilight zone, the dark zone officially starts. This zone is not artificially lit or modified in any way (except for one or two ropes to safely guide visitors descending the slippery rocks).
After venturing approximately 500 meters into the dark zone the kayaks/boat will be left behind and participants will have to make their way over enormous boulders, narrow passages and huge stalagmites & stalactites. It’s a game of climbing and descending while our tour guide provides a large amount of interesting information about the Phong Nha Cave. The first hundred meters often leaves our visitors speechless, just being able to look at how enormous some of the formations are. It’s amazingly overwhelming!
After making it through the first kilometer of the dark zone a simple lunch will be served to regain some of the used up energy. Next up, it’s time to enter the subterranean river once again, however, this time participants will have to swim. The temperature of the water is very pleasant and the view is once again spectacular. After swimming approximately 200 meters a sandy beach will be reached and from that point on it will be swimming and walking on the gorgeous beaches that can be found inside the cave. At one point the river current gets stronger and one of the tour guides will span a rope between one side of the river and the other to successfully get participants across.
After 2~4 hours the 4.5km point will be reached. Here the participants will be awarded certificates for successfully exploring the Phong Nha cave. After taking pictures with the certificates it’s time to head back to the kayaks/boats. However, the way back seems to be completely different. Although partly the same route will be walked viewing the cave from the other way is completely different. This is also caused by the fact that on the way back participants are usually more confident and now take the time to look up more than watch their step. Another great thing about the way back is that participants will be travelling downstream and the river will carry them down for the largest part of the way.
Back at the kayak/boat there is time to relax and swim before slowly returning to the boat station. At this point the tour is not over! The twilight zone will also be visited including the amazing By Ki chamber where the Cham people have left a thousand year old inscription. The twilight zone will be explored by foot and the artificial lighting system will create for another entirely different caving experience. It’s almost like visiting two different caves in the same day.
Cost per pax
At Dong Hoi: 2,000,000 VND/pax (or 91 USD)
At Phong Nha: 1,700,000 VND/pax (or 78 USD)
- Boat Ride From Phong Nha centre to the cave entrance
- Kayaking into the cave
- Swimming inside the cave
- Exploring several chambers
- Free pick up service from 6:30 am to 7:30 am at the train or bus station; if required
- Pick up and drop off by van in Dong Hoi city or Phong Nha village.
- Vietnamese or English speaking guide
- Drinking water
- Lunch (Vietnamese style dish)
- Travel insurance
- First aid kit available
- If you require an invoice, there will be an additional 10% VAT charge