Five wonders at Son Doong

This is a destination that Western tourists are willing to pay $3,000 for a tour, but they will have to wait until 2016 since the tours have been fully booked. Below are the five interesting facts about the cave. 1. Being discovered on a rainy day In 1991, Ho Khanh, a local man accidentally discovered Son Doong cave when he sought shelter from the rain. It wasn’t until 2009 when the explorers of the British Royal Cave Exploration Association came, Ho Khanh told them about the cave. Part of the cave roof collapsed a few centuries ago. As a result, rain water and sunlight can reach here, creating favorable conditions for plant development in the grotto. Ho Khanh struggled to find the entrance which is located deep in the jungle with rugged terrain, far away from the main road and could not be seen with Google Earth. Thanks to his guidance, the British explorers went deep into the cave to take photographs, survey and collect scientific data. 2. Can accommodate a 40-storey building Son Doong has a width of 150m, over 200m tall, at least 5km long. The actual length of the cave may be even longer but the British explorers could not explore the entire length of the cave due to technical limitations. Still, with the recognized size, Son Doong has passed Deer in Gunung Mulu National Park in Malaysia (120m tall, 150m wide, 2km long) to become the largest natural cave in the world. Some sections inside the cave are up to 140mx140m, including 14m high stone columns. Photographer Carsten Peter took a photo of a cave section with a width of about 91.44m, a height of 243.84m, which means that it can accommodate a 40-storey building inside. 3. Formed five million years ago According to scientific documents, Son Doong cave was formed when river water flowed through the limestone buried along a fault line. After millions of years, water currents eroded and created a giant tunnel in the ground below the mountains. In the areas where rock was soft, the ceiling collapsed, creating holes which gradually became giant domes. 4. Rich fauna Son Doong cave's ceiling collapsed centuries ago, creating a lush forest inside the cave, which was named by the British explorers as Eden forest. This forest is inhabited by monkeys and flying foxes. Many types of ferns, palms and vines cover from outside to the inside of the cave. The ancient lakes, waterfalls, rivers inside the grotto have formed rich algae and flora systems. In particular, the explorers also discovered a species of pearl which is formed from the process of dripping water, creating calcite crystals on the sand. 5. Why are visitors to Son Doong Cave restricted? Son Doong cave does not welcome many visitors because it must be protected for research. Currently, the mysterious world inside the cave has not been decoded completely. Therefore, Son Doong cave welcomes explorers and scientists rather than curious visitors. … [Read more...]

Launch helicopter tours in Quang Binh

Quang Binh province and the Vietnam Helicopter Company (VHC) have just reached an agreement to use helicopters for tourism. Under the agreement, VHC will organize helicopter tours to world heritage site Phong Nha – Ke Bang national park, En cave and Son Doong cave in Bo Trach district, Tu Lan cave in Minh Hoa district and Vung Chua – Dao Yen in Quang Trach district where General Vo Nguyen Giap is resting in peace. VHC will also offer helicopter medical services for those on adventure tours to Son Doong cave in Bo Trach district. Mr.Nguyen Huu Hoai, chairman of Quang Binh People’s Committee, says the province wants to exploit Dong Hoi airport and its tourism potential through helicopter services. … [Read more...]

Son Doong is list of the 12 most spectacular caves in the world

The Business Insider magazine of the US has announced the list of the 12 most spectacular caves in the world, including Son Doong in Vietnam. According to the magazine, Son Doong Cave is now the largest natural cave in the world, created by a underground river under a limestone mountain range about 2-5 million years ago. The cave is 150 meters in width, over 200 in height and at least 5 km in length. … [Read more...]

Slogan and Logo contest for Phong Nha- Ke Bang

The contest, launched by the provincial People’s Committee and aimed to better promote tourism in the UNESCO-recognized park, runs from now until the end of the month. The winning entries will be officially used for all promotion and conservation activities of the park and its tourism. The winning logo is supposed to generically demonstrate the park’s hallmark geological features, biodiversity and grottoes, while the winning slogan must accentuate the park’s tourism potentials and trademark. The first prize for logos is worth VND30 million (US$1,442), and for slogans VND20 million. Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park, some 500 km south of Hanoi, is situated in a 2,000 km2 limestone zone in Vietnamese territory that borders another, similarly sized limestone zone named Him Namno in Laotian territory. The park was founded to preserve one of the world's two largest karst regions, with 300 caves and grottoes, as well as the ecosystem of the limestone forest of the Annamite Range region on the north-central coast of Vietnam. Phong Nha-Ke Bang is noted for its cave and grotto systems, as it is composed of 300 caves and grottoes with a total length of about 70 km, of which only 20 have been surveyed by Vietnamese and British scientists. Prior to the discovery of Sơn Đoong Cave, Phong Nha held several world cave records, as it boasts the longest underground river, as well as the largest caverns and passageways. The park was listed among UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in 2003 for its immense geological value and rich biodiversity. … [Read more...]

Inside world of Son Doong cave

These breathtaking images capture the hidden depths of the world's biggest cave passage - so large the end is yet to be found. Hidden in the depths of the Vietnamese jungle lies The Hang Son Doong, part of a network of over 150 caves. Surrounded by jungle and used in the Vietnam war as a hideout from American bombardments, the cave passage is so large that it could hold a block of 40-storey skyscrapers. Its entrance was only rediscovered by British cavers in 2009. To enter the cave, explorers had to use ropes to drop down 80m depth to begin the journey to explore the world in Son Doong cave. Four years after the cave was revealed to the world, the tour to conquer Son Doong cave was tested in August, opening up the opportunity to explore the cave for tourists. The test will continue in February and March 2014. Each group of tourists will have up to six people, with the cost of $3,000. More than 100 international visitors have registered for the tours in 2014. … [Read more...]

Tu Lan 4Days – Jungle & Cave Ultimate Adventure

Tour Code: IGT-CAV-19 Duration: 4Days / 3 Nights Price: US$656  per person, departures every Wednesday at 8:00AM from local hotels in Phong Nha (minimum 2 pax) SMALL GROUPS – WEEKLY DEPARTURES – BEST JUNGLE & CAVE ADVENTURE IN VIETNAM Join us on the ultimate adventure of the Tu Lan Cave System with 4-days trekking, swimming and camping deep in the remote jungle and caves of Central Vietnam. You will be challenged with 27kms of difficult terrain, underground rivers and deep dark caves, home to stunning formations and plenty of creepy crawlies. We will visit hidden valleys and secret caves only accessible on this special 4-day adventure. Gaze up the stars at your secluded campsites, besides stunning waterfalls and towering limestone mountains. You might even be lucky to spot a flying fox dart across the cliff tops at dusk! Feast on the most delicious Vietnamese BBQ prepared each evening at the campfire and learn more about the local minority people of Tan Hoa, who will escort your group through the jungle and prepare all meals. Your expert-English speaking guide will introduce you to their customs and translate some of their stories. It really is an experience unlike any other in Vietnam! You will go deeper then any other tour we offer and at some points a raft is required to negotiate the underground rivers, where you will come across the most beautiful formations and underground waterfalls. Kim Cave, found by one of our guests, and Ken Cave are also on the itinerary, showcasing more amazing cave formations. If you can fit, you’ll also squeeze down a small hole to our secret cave, which we only visit on our 4-Day ultimate adventure! Safety is absolutely paramount on all trips operated by iGrandtour and you will be provided with helmets, life jackets, headlights and trekking boots (sizes 38 – 46). All camping gear will also be provided and carried by your local porters. The minimum age we accept is 16 years. This is designed to be an adventure tour and you must have a decent level of fitness to feel comfortable trekking each day. Adventure Level: Moderate-to-High (27-30km). This is an adventure tour and designed to be difficult. Highlights: Primary Forest; Tu Lan Cave, To Mo Valley, Hang Kim Cave, Swimming in Caves (weather permitting), Ken Waterfall, Hang Ken Cave, Hang Chuot, Secret Cave, Overnight in jungle. Trekking Gear: Helmet, Trekking Boots (sizes 38-46), Headlight, Life Jacket, Hammock, Sleeping Bag. ITINERARY: Day 1: Phong Nha – Tan Hoa – Tu Lan Valley (L,D)   08:00  - Pick up from local Phong Nha hotel and transfer and equipment check. 09:00  - Depart for Tan Hoa Village and drive 70kms through the spectacular Da Deo Mountain Pass. 10:30  - Arrive in Tan Hoa and start walking through the village and fields to the old cow trail (2km). 11:00  - Arrive at the old cow trail and start trekking across a rocky path (2km) towards the Tan Hoa dam. 12:30  - … [Read more...]

Tu Lan 3 Days – Jungle & Cave Exploration

Tour Code: IGT-CAV-18 Duration: 3Days / 2 Nights Price: US$335 per person, departures every Monday , Wednesday and Fridayat 8:00AM from local hotels in Phong Nha (minimum 2 pax) SMALL GROUPS – WEEKLY DEPARTURES – BEST JUNGLE & CAVE ADVENTURE IN VIETNAM Spend three-days and two-nights deep in the remote jungle and caves of Tu Lan, located on the border of Laos, and just 70km North-West of Phong Nha. With an expert English-speaking guide and jungle porter team from the local minority village experience the very best camping and caving adventure in Vietnam. Our three-day tour is a more difficult trek (up to 18km) with a number of steep inclines over limestone mountain trails. You will have time to explore almost all of the caves in the area (that we know of) including Tu Lan Cave, Hang Kim and Hang Ken, which was featured as the National Geographic Photograph of the year in 2011. You’ll see many beautiful cave formations, swim through underground rivers and visit spectacular waterfalls inside the caves and surrounding valleys. With two nights camping in the great outdoors you will have plenty of time to soak in the jungle atmosphere and learn more about the local people of the area. The food is a highlight for many, with an amazing BBQ prepared each evening by our expert jungle men. This is not a walk in the park and is setup as a real jungle adventure. You will swim through caves, traverse wide rivers, and negotiate rocky trails, but it will no doubt be a highlight of your travels in Vietnam. Safety is absolutely paramount on all trips operated by iGrandtour and you will be provided with helmets, life jackets, headlights and trekking boots (limited sizes 38 – 46). All camping gear will also be provided and carried by your porters. The minimum age we accept is 16 years with no exceptions. All tours are on a join in basis and we do not accept private tours. On this tour you will have more time to explore the caves and go deeper then our 2-day discovery. Adventure Level: Moderate-to-High (16-18km). Must have decent level of fitness. Highlights: Primary Forest; Tu Lan Cave, To Mo Valley, Hang Kim Cave, Swimming in Caves (weather permitting), Ken Waterfall, Hang Ken Cave, Hang Chuot, Overnight in jungle. Trekking Gear: Helmet, Trekking Boots (sizes 38-46), Headlight, Life Jacket, Hammock, Sleeping Bag. ITINERARY: Day 1: Phong Nha – Tan Hoa – Tu Lan Valley (L,D) 08:00  - Pick up from local hotels in Phong Nha and transfer. 08:30  - Transfer to Tan Hoa Village by air-conditioned vehicle. 10:00  - Arrive in Tan Hoa and trek 2km across the peanut and buffalo fields to the Rao Nan River. 10:30  - Cross the river and climb 200m up a rocky hillside to Hung Ton Valley. 10:45  - Trek 1km through thick scrub across Hung Ton Valley and climb moderate Hung Ton Mountain. 11:30  - Follow the trail and mountain ridge (3km) and trek up to Mango Mountain. 13:00  - Arrive at the top of … [Read more...]

Son Doong, Prepping For First Public Tours

The Son Doong Cave in Vietnam is the biggest cave in the world. It's over 5.5 miles long, has a jungle and river, and could fit a 40-story skyscraper within its walls. But nobody knew any of that until four years ago. The newly discovered cave has been touted as the largest in the world, although other caves vie for the title of longest (Mammoth Cave in Brownsville, Kentucky nabs that title with about 400 miles of passageways) and deepest (Krubera Cave in the nation of Georgia). A local man discovered the cave entrance in 1991, but British cavers were the first to explore it in 2009. Now, tour company Oxalis is running trial tours of the cave and accepting sign-ups for real six-day tours to take place next year. The man who discovered Son Doong didn't go in because the entrance he found had too steep a drop. On next year's tours, visitors will rappel 80 meters to enter Son Doong. … [Read more...]

Tu Lan 2Days – Jungle & Cave Discovery

Tour Code: IGT-CAV-17 Duration: 2Days / 1 Night Price: US$254 per person, departures every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 8:00AM from local hotels in Phong Nha (minimum 2 pax) SMALL GROUPS – WEEKLY DEPARTURES – BEST JUNGLE & CAVE ADVENTURE IN VIETNAM Explore the fascinating jungle and cave area of Tu Lan, a one and a half hours drive from Phong Nha Town. With your expert English-speaking guide and also porter team from nearby Tan Hoa minority village, you’ll spend two-days and one-night deep in the jungle, exploring wild caves with underground rivers, waterfalls, awesome cave formations and rare cave pearls. Our two-day discovery will include about 12 kilometers of trekking and a few hundred meters of swimming through caves. You will also cross the river a couple of times and enjoy swimming in pristine lagoons. It’s the perfect trip for those short on time but still keen to do a real jungle and cave adventure in Vietnam. Spot flying foxes in the early evening as you enjoy a delicious BBQ meal cooked over the fire by your porter team. You’ll explore the depths of Hung Ton Cave where you must descend a 15m ladder with our safety rope, before jumping in the river and swimming about 100m. Look out for the bats! You will emerge from the cave in the stunning To Mo Valley, which is somewhat hidden from the world as it is surrounded by towering limestone mountains. Kim Cave, found by one of our guests, and Ken Cave are also on the itinerary, showcasing some amazing cave formations. Safety is absolutely paramount on all trips operated by iGrandtour and you will be provided with helmets, life jackets, headlights and trekking boots (sizes 38 – 46). All camping gear will also be provided and carried by your porter team. The minimum age for this tour is 16 years with no exceptions. All tours are on a join-in basis (we do not accept private tours) with minimum of 2 people to depart. Our group sizes are usually no more than 8 people. Adventure Level: Moderate-to-High (12km). You should have a decent level of fitness as this is a real adventure!. Highlights: Primary Forest; Tu Lan Cave, Hung Ton Cave, To Mo Valley, Hang Kim Cave, Swimming in Caves (weather permitting), Ken Waterfall, Overnight in jungle. Trekking Gear: Helmet, Trekking Boots (sizes 38-46), Headlight, Life Jacket, Hammock, Sleeping Bag. ITINERARY: Day 1: Phong Nha – Tan Hoa – Tu Lan Valley (L,D) 08:00 - Pick up from local hotels in Phong Nha and transfer. 09:00  - Depart for Tan Hoa Village and drive 70kms through the spectacular Da Deo Mountain Pass. 10:30  - Arrive in Tan Hoa Village and trek across peanut and buffalo fields to the Rao Nan River (2.5km) 11:00  - Cross-river and climb rocky hill before descending into Hung Ton Valley (1km). 11:30  - Arrive at Hung Ton Cave and explore its depths before swimming through the cave to To Mo Valley (200m). 12:00  - Lunch in To Mo Valley at the impressive waterfall … [Read more...]

Hang En 2Days – Ultimate Cave Adventure

Tour Code: IGT-CAV-16 Duration: 2Days / 1 Night Price: US$278 per person, departures 2-3 times a week at 8:00AM from local hotels in Phong Nha (minimum 2 pax) SMALL GROUPS – WEEKLY DEPARTURES – ONE OF THE MOST CAPTIVATING CAVES IN THE WORLD Experience one of the biggest WOW factors in Vietnam on this two-day tour to one of the largest caves in the world. You’ll meet a remote minority ethnic group living deep in the jungle, visit the jaw-dropping exit made famous by National Geographic, and spend the night inside a massive chamber with thousands of darting swifts overhead. On this trip you’ll spend your first day scrambling down a jungle mountain from an elevation of 500m, before passing through a remote mountain tribe of only 42 people in Ban Doong Village. Look out for the crazy owl! After which you will follow a spectacular river valley to reach Hang En Cave, which has been recognized as one of the most captivating caves on earth by National Geographic! Hang En Cave is an incredible feat of nature and you will not see anything like it anywhere else in the world. With your expert English-speaking guide and porter team, you’ll explore this magnificent cave and see some fascinating fossils, which are over 300 million years old. You will follow the river through the cave before coming across your campsite on a sandy beach, below a collapsed section of the cave, where you can gaze out to the stars in the evening. You’ll enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner with some local rice wine and hear stories from your guide about the local people and their culture. This is designed as an adventure tour and not a walk in the park. Be prepared for a difficult trek up the mountain on the second day! Safety is absolutely paramount on all trips operated by iGrandtour and you will be provided with helmets, life jackets, headlights and trekking boots (sizes 38 – 46). All camping gear will also be provided and carried by your porter team. However, you will be responsible for carrying your own clothes and camera etc. Adventure Level: Moderate-to-High (16km). You should have experience trekking before attempting this tour with Us.  It is a tough walk out the following day! Highlights: National Park, Ban Doong Village, Rao Thuong River Valley, Hang En Cave. Trekking Gear: Helmet, Trekking Boots (limited sizes 38-46), Headlight, Life Jacket, Tent, Sleeping Bag. ITINERARY: Day 1: Phong Nha – K35 – Ban Doong Village – Hang En Cave (L,D) 08:00 - Pick up at local Phong Nha Hotel. 08:30 - Collect equipment at Oxalis HQ and depart in vehicle for trekking point. 09:30 - Arrive at trekking point at K35 on Ho Chi Minh Road and start trekking. 11:30 - Arrive at Ban Doong Minority Village with picnic lunch at nearby river location. 14:30 - Arrive at Hang En Campsite. 15:00 - Explore Hang En and visit Hang En Exit. 18:00 - Enjoy BBQ Dinner and watch the thousands of swifts overhead and maybe a flying fox. 20:00 - … [Read more...]