Our 3 guides, Hieu, Lam and Bao, were absolutely fantastic. They were fun and made everyone introduce themselves on the bus to the office. Their safety briefing was great and I felt safe at all times with them.
The ride from the office into the park is very picturesque. The guys went out of their way (including climbing on top of a billboard to get signal on their phone) to help a girl who had left her passport in Ninh Binh.
We were given helmets before beginning our trek through the forest. The start is all downhill for around an hour and a half. We stopped halfway for lunch in a small village. Lunch was baguettes which you made yourself - delicious and plenty of snacks. The guys refilled water bottles at every stop.
When we arrived at the entrance to the cave we were given gloves and headlamps. The walk into the cave was fun and included lots of scrambling. Once we arrived we were given a tour of the facilities and then went swimming in the pool and jumping off rocks. Once changed we had dinner. There was so much food and it was all delicious. We played cards with all the porters and guides.
We were up early for breakfast which was again delicious. We then donned our head gear and walked to the exit of the cave. Absolutely stunning views of stalagmites and stalactites. The guides explained everything we were seeing and the geology of the area really well. On the way back we walked along the river bed. We left the cave just before 11am and headed back the way we came.
We stopped at the same village for lunch and had pho - the best I had in the whole of Vietnam. We then continued our trek which was all uphill this time. We were all dripping with sweat and being eaten alive by mosquitoes so make sure your bring plenty of insect repellent.
On arrival back at the offie you can use their showers if you are heading straight on a bus or train and you can also order food tgere. If you not you will be dropped back at your hostel after an exhilarating two day trip.
I cannot recommend this highly enough. For me and the rest of my group it was worth every penny! Now I just need to save enough money to go on the Son Dong trip! Thanks to all the guys working at Oxalis!
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