are these tours advertised real?
anyone been to Son Doong Cave with a tour?
That cave was open for awhile last year and tours were run by Oxalis Tours but I'm not sure they're still running them as I believe the government has stopped the tours for some reason. Check their website and email them.
i think i'll do the farm stay and do paradise caves as the reviews are good :-)
So, guys, is here some one who can share his personal experience about Son Dong cave?
I've discussed this tour with some travel agencies, including www.phong-nha-cave.com and got different reports about this adventure. Some companies say they can organize this; other, including www.phong-nha-cave.com, say it is strictly prohibited.
Also I raised this topic with my Vietnamese friend - he knows something about tourist business in the country, and he answered like this:
"Probably only a few companies can organize such kind of tour. And even more: there are two ways to cheat the client. 1) The company brings you to the different cave, like Paradise or similar, but not Son Doong. 2) The company brings you to Son Doong, but doesn't allow you to enter inside or they can let you down and bring up in 10-15 minutes".
Now I'm looking for some real feed-back, cause I want to do this tour in June.
Thanks a lot, dear friends.
Up to now there's no possibility to go inside Son Doong cave. No company has a permit to go inside this cave so if anyone promote this tour, they lie or they will only take you to Hang En. You need very special permit issued directly by the president of Quang Binh province.
Last year I did a trek to the entrance of Son Doong with some guys from the National Park. The trek was very interesting along Rao Thuong river with lost of stream crossing or going inside thick bushes. The main aim was to discover Hang En cave. We stayed overnight at the cave entrance. A tough, but every interesting trip. The scenery along the way is nice as this part is in the heart of Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park. The limestone karst is very scenic as well. Hang En itself is very impressive. It's massive, nearly 2km long with the river running through it. There's no way to explore Son Dong now but if you are trekker and cave lover, Hang En is highly recommended. This cave is not like Phong Nha or Paradise, no so many stalactites but it very wild, huge and completely different to the cave that I have seen. Also the river running through it make it unique. When I was there, the lever of water is very low so there are many emerald clear water lakes inside. En means swallow. There are thousands of swallows living in this cave.
The picture in the link below is the entrance of Hang En Cave: …nationalgeographic.com/2011/01/largest-cave…
Hope that helps.
I'm going to Vietnam tomorrow. In your opinion, what's the best accessible cave in the country if Son Doong is not a viable option ? Thanks :)
Quebecois, Paradise cave is a quality cave but you will need to be tolerant of crowds as it does attract a lot of local tourists. If you are in the Phong Nha - Ke Bang area to see Paradise Cave, you may as well get on a trek to Hang En cave. My daughter did the same trek that hoangnguyen describes above and she said it was pretty special. Contact Ben at the phong nha farmstay for details on the tours/treks in the area.
We was inside Son Doong Cave last Tuesday and it was difficult but awesome.
Hi Bethoenissen could you give a bit more information on your trip, how do you get there, how much time do you need? How did you get the permit?
Our tour guide Mr. Thang call and visit us one day before, we start the Son Doong Cave Discovery Tour, at our hotel to give us some last minute instructions and answer our questions. In the next morning at 8 p.m. he and a driver pick us up at the hotel and we drive a couple of kilometres to a small village close to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, where we pick up our team of porters and an official from the National Park. Once we reached the starting point we prepared our stuff and ourselves for a 10 km hike through the jungle of Phong Nha-Ke Bang, which was quite comfortable and in the same time stunning. Reaching Hang En Cave, our crew set up the tent and make us feel like home.
In the next day we make our way to Son Doong Cave (approximately 3 km, one way) together with Mr. Thang, Mr. Ho-Khanh and two supporters. Not only the way to the cave even to discover the inside of Hang Son Doong was a unique and unforgettable experience for my wife and me, which we are still talking about. After 7-8 hours we arrived back at the camp, where our crew prepared dinner during our swim at a close by river.
Around 9 a.m. we start our hike back to the meeting point where our driver pick us up. Everything was perfectly time and we never had the feeling that anything run out of control.
Thanks ActiveTravel Asia (especially Ms. Candy) to make this happen and a big thank you for the great team around Mr. Thang and Mr. Ho-Khanh