About this activity
What's included, what's not
Camping gear: tent, sleeping mat, pillow and sleeping bag
Caving & safety gear: caving helmet, caving headlight, harness and gloves
Meals: breakfast (day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5), lunch (day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5), dinners (briefing day, day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
1.5 L bottled water at the top of the trailhead/trekking point
Base Camp water filter and purifier (application by guide and porters)
Basic camping facilities with eco-friendly compost toilet using western toilet seat
First Aid Kit, Medical Rescue Equipment & Satellite Phone (application by technical advisor and tour guides only)
1 Technical Advisor (member of the British Cave Research Association)
1 professional English-speaking tour guide, 5 safety assistants and 2 chefs
22 porters to carry all gear and prepare all meals
Know Before You Book
Confirmation will be received at time of booking
Not wheelchair accessible
2 – 3 long quick dry, full length pants and 4 – 5 (easy to dry) shirts to wear during the trek; thick athletic leggings/running tights/yoga pants are acceptable if they are full-length and not see-through. Jeans are not acceptable. You may feel more comfortable packing a set of clothes for each day, but most people re-wear trekking clothes for multiple days. Please see the Son Doong FAQ: Packing section for more information
1 – 2 pair of shorts and t-shirt to wear at campsite (plus your swimsuit for Hang En); warmer camp clothes suggested for colder months
1 Fleece and 1 lightweight windproof/jacket (February – April only)
Trekking boots/shoes – difficult terrain, good footwear necessary. Recommended: Five-Ten Canyoneer 3. Gore-Tex/waterproof boots are NOT recommended as they do not drain well. Also consider bringing a backup pair of shoes. Refer to Son Doong FAQ: Packing section for more information
1 pair of flip flop (sandals) for campsite
1 medium size towel
4 – 5 pairs of calf-length close weave socks (not ankle socks or waterproof socks – no neoprene; SmartWool is a good brand; if you go with cotton, make sure it’s composed of 50% or less cotton)
Anti-fungal foot powder (talcum powder)
Wet wipes (very limited bathing inside the cave!)
Biodegradable soap and shampoo for use in rivers (only eco-friendly soap is acceptable, otherwise please plan to wash with wet wipes or just water)
Medium sized rucksack/backpack for daily belongings (most people find 25 L adequate; backpack must fit the helmet we will provide for you and cannot be strapped to the outside; you will also be responsible for carrying your own tripod in your backpack)
Water bottle at least 1.5 L
Personal items – toiletries, medication, camera, tripod, spare batteries (toiletries should also include feminine hygiene products for ladies, even if it’s “just in case”)
Sunscreen and hat
Small head-torch for use around camp
Medication – bring any essential medication and anything you take regularly (e.g anti-inflammatories). We supply drugs for emergency/unexpected conditions only.
AA/AAA batteries if needed (low quality only available locally)
The following items are not required but highly recommended:
Dry bag in the event of rain (for camera, clothing, and personal items within your daypack); alternatively, a backpack cover would be a good idea especially for the rainier months of February – April
Gloves, as ours are one-size-fits-all (if you bring your own, please choose gloves with fingertips)
Cotton or silk sleeping bag liner
Swimwear (for Hang En)
Ankle gaiters to help prevent silt/gravel inside shoes (especially if you have shoes instead of boots)
Trekking poles; please only bring them if you are accustomed to using them
If you are serious about photography, please bring your tripod along with your camera (this must be able to fit in your daypack)
Not recommended for pregnant travelers
No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
Travelers should have a strong physical fitness level
This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
Departure time: Briefing day: Arrival Phong Nha Farmstay at 2:00 pm
Day 1: 9:00 am for the first leg of the expedition.
Day 2: Start your trek at 9:00 am through Hang En Cave. Be back around 4 -5pm.
Day 3: 9:00 am departure towards your second camp site in Son Doong Cave.You’ll be back at camp again around 5 pm
Day 4: 9:00 am you’ll pack up camp and start heading towards the Wall of Vietnam.
Day 5: Check out at 12:00 am transfer to Airport or Train Station
What you can expect
BRIEFING : Dong Hoi–Safety Briefing–Chay Lap Farmstay
Arrival in Dong Hoi by no later than 2 pm and transferred to Chay Lap Farmstay. You will congregate at the Expedition restaurant within Chay Lap Farmstay at 6pm to have a meeting with the technical advisor and guide team for the safety briefing and equipment check.
DAY 1: Chay Lap Farmstay-Ban Doong Village-Hang En Cave
Along road 20 of the Ho Chi Minh Highway you’ll reach the trail head, where you’ll start trekking for approximately 1 hour downhill through the forest, which is quite steep at times. Walk for half an hour along a small stream to the minority village of Ban Doong, which is a real highlight for many on this expedition.
You’ll then reach the entrance to Hang En Cave, home to thousands of swifts. Here you’ll be given your headlight and you will trek/boulder approximately 20-30 minutes to your camp site inside the cave. You can enjoy swimming and washing within the underground river.
DAY 2: Hang En Cave - Son Doong Entrance - Hand of Dog - SD Camp 1 - Fossil Passage
Start your trek at 9:00 am through Hang En Cave for about 30 minutes to reach the magnificent exit, made famous by many photographers over the past few years. You’ll scramble down to the river valley and then it is an hour walk through the river, a couple of short rope climbs brings you at last to Son Doong entrance.
Explore one of the most spectacular views: Hand of Dog and daylight streaming through the cave in fronT of your eyes.
DAY 3: SD Camp 1 - Watch Out for Dinosaurs – Garden of Edam – SD Camp 2
You’ll start with some rocky climbs, which are quite steep in some places, as you reach the first jungle within the cave at Watch Out for Dinosaurs, you’ll be going down the rocky path to reach the enormous Green Gours, one of the most magnificent and famous photography spots on the tour.
If you are lucky you may even catch some sunbeams, which make for truly spectacular photos. Follow the path past the beautiful foliage reaching towards the light, to reach the underground jungle, unlike anything you could experience on the planet! You are back on your feet and heading deeper within the cave.
DAY 4: SD Camp 2 - Wall of Vietnam - Son Doong Exit - Chay Lap Farmstay
To start heading towards the Wall of Vietnam. Scaling this wall will use a combination of ladders and ropes, but you will always have a safety line and people to look after you. After this strenuous ascent, you will see the light from the exit.
A short but fairly rocky path will lead you down to the bottom of the hill, and a short hike to the road. Cold drinks await you at the top of the hill before a 45 minute drive back to Chay Lap Farmstay. End trip!
Day 5: Transfer to Airport or Train Station
Check out at 12:00pm and transfer to airport or train station.
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