Tu Lan Cave Expedition is a group tour, taking you into remote areas of this unique caving region, home to the most spectacular jungle and caves of Vietnam – 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!
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.
Day 1: Phong Nha – Tu Lan Cave.
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 Cave – Hang Ken Cave – Hang Kim Cave – 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. Trip ends.
Occasionally our tour itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travelers’ comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the service proposal. It’s very important that you print and review a final copy of your itinerary a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!
Please note that while we operate successful trips in Vietnam throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
Depending on the proposed option (semi-guide tour or all-inclusive package tour), the price may include the following services. Please bear in mind Lotussia Travel is specialized in tailor-made trips. Trip cost vary depending on group size and other details.
- Car transfers.
- Local tour guide. The English-Speaking guide is provided by default. Other language may be available upon request (with extra charge).
- Entrance fees.
Unless required most of the following services are usually not included in our tour price.
- Flight/Train tickets.
- Tour leader.
- Local porter(s).
- International travel insurance.
- Personal expenses.
Our tour guides speak English or French. They hold a university degree in tourism and national license as a guide. If you wish to send a tour leader along with any group, he or she can fully rely on the knowledge and experience of our local guides.
Remote treks are always accompanied by a local representative to deal with permits and authorities and manage the porter team. They speak the local dialects, know the cultural traditions and give tips on suggested behavior in fragile ecological areas and tribal communities. For some itineraries, the role of tour leader and representative is combined.
Principally, Lotussia Travel requires all the trip associates to know the destinations well by any means of traveling or enquiry to the local suppliers to figure out all the relative details of any trip. For adventure tours such as jungle trekking, mountain hiking, sea kayaking, river rafting or biking, cycling tours, LOTUSSIA Travel will never add any new routes into available schedule until survey or pre-view it.
Lotussia Travel carefully choose all the hotels, guest-houses or home-stays based on service quality, location, and characteristics, doing best to make the accommodations in the remote small places as comfortable as possible. Please bear in mind that hotels in Vietnam might not be in the same standard in other country. Generally hotels in major cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city, Hoian, Hue…are much better than hotels and guest-houses in mountainous areas.
Lotussia Travel take dinning as an indispensable experience to clients since it is an important part in Vietnamese culture. Therefore, Lotussia Travel will not intend take clients to the most expensive restaurants but non-touristy local ones which offer delicious, local food, with nice or interesting atmosphere. The restaurants might be simple in the country but LOTUSSIA Travel guarantee is sanitary and cleanliness. Or even on our trek, we encourage our cook offer client food with new tastes from day to day. During adventure itineraries to mountainous or remote areas, there is sometimes no choice for hotel and restaurants. We will try our best to bring you the best taste of local food.
As the tap water in Vietnam is undrinkable, Lotussia Travel recommend clients to drink bottled water throughout your trip, or boiled water on treks. Lotussia Travel offers bottle water all the day, and soft drinks like Cola, Sprite or Vietnamese Tea or if possible juice in restaurants (if mentionned in itinerary). This is not automatically included in the packages. In simple restaurant or on camping, Lotussia Travel offers boiled water, instant coffee or juice, wrapped milk (Details are confirmed in bottom of your itinerary).
In most destinations of Vietnam, all the roads are well paved though the traffic is quite messed up like in Hanoi, Hai Phong… We use proper vehicles, car, minibus or coach in good condition based on the size of the groups. We use 4WD only on the rough road where the other vehicles could not pass through or based on clients requirement on overland journeys or treks. For cycling itineraries, we usually use our support minibus or minibus with support truck. For sea kayaking, river rafting trips, diving packages we use standard boat as support. Detailed information is provided on our service proposal.
We use drivers who are native or local of each travel destination and maintain good safety records for all trips. Most of our drivers can speak English but a little bit. This is just enough to understand basic words such as “time of departure”, “stop”, “restaurants”, “hotels”…If you want to learn more about Vietnamese culture and information about sightseeing sites, booking a tour guide is highly recommended.