Day 1: Phong Nha – Tan Hoa – Tu Lan
You’ll be picked up at your hotel in Phong Nha between 7:30 am and 8:00 am, before venturing off to the village of Tan Hoa, located 70 km away. After a safety briefing and gear check, you need to sign our Release Form before it’s off and away for a full day of trekking. The trek begins with a 2.5 km march across fields of peanut crops, giant water buffaloes, towering corn stalks, and down to the Rao Nan River. The adventure accelerates with a 30 m climb up a rocky hill to a small jungle opening where you can catch your breath before a 100 m descent in elevation down to Hung Ton Valley.
Lunch will be enjoyed in the Hung Ton Cave opening and then the adventure picks up again with some serious trekking from Hung Ton Valley and over to Mango Mountain, then back down into Tu Lan Valley (3 km). By midafternoon, Tu Lan campsite will be on the horizon, where swimming can be enjoyed in the beautiful waterfall. Afternoon activities include exploring and swimming through Ken Cave, located next to the campsite, and after that it’s back to camp for a delicious BBQ dinner. Sleep will come easy in comfortable hammocks or tents set up amongst the trees.
Day 2: Tu Lan – Tan Hoa – Phong Nha
The second day starts with a hearty breakfast, and more cave exploration. Starting with a brief swim across the river into the heart of Tu Lan Cave System, you will break to enjoy the blue lagoon entrance before making your way 180 m downstream through Tu Lan Cave entrance. Make your way up to explore the dry part with some climbing and squeezing, at which point you will reach the dry exit and trek a short way through the valley into Kim Cave dry entrance. Stay for a while to watch out for a natural window in Kim Cave and you’ll then be off on a swim (450 m) and trek (500 m) through Hang Kim to To Mo Valley. A picnic lunch will be served next to a stunning waterfall by Hung Ton Cave mouth. Then, you will try to follow a dry path before swimming out through Hung Ton wet cave. Following this is the exploration of a dry passage, and then a trek down into Hung Ton Valley (800 m). Arrival in Tan Hoa is followed by a chance to take in the scenery with a cold drink in hand. Showers are available for those who would like to clean up and change, then back to Phong Nha is at around 4 pm and arrives at Phong Nha by 5:30 pm (Note: 6:00 – 6:30 pm from November to March).
Tu Lan Cave Encounter is easy for anyone who considers themselves physically fit and participates in regular outdoor activities and moderate for anyone with limited outdoor experience. Please make sure that your health is suitable for these activities, you have some basic trekking experience and you are able to swim before taking part in the adventure.
- 12 km jungle and mountain trekking, rocky terrain
- 3 km caving
- 1 km swimming in caves (from 200 m – 500 m each cave)
- Elevation change up to 150 m (between valley and top of mountain)
- 2 days and 1 night in jungle and caves
Any member of the Oxalis guide team reserves the right to turn around any person at any time without compensation or refund as deemed necessary for safety or conservation reasons.
We will provide you with the following:
- Camping gear: tent, camp light, sleeping bag, mattresses, pillow
- Caving & safety gear: caving helmet, caving headlight, life jacket, gloves
- Light PVC backpack (if you do not want to take your own, as it will get wet)
- Semi dry bag (for clothing and personal belongings excl. electronics)
- Basic canvas trekking boots (only if you do not have your own pair) sizes 36 – 46
- Meals: picnic lunches (day 1, day 2), dinner (day 1), breakfast (day 2)
- Professional English-speaking tour guide and guide safety assistant
- Porter team to carry all camping gear and prepare all meals
- Shared dry box for phones and small cameras (limited availability for larger cameras)
- Water filter and purifier (used only by guide and porters)
- Basic camping facilities with eco-friendly compost toilet using western toilet seat
- First Aid Kit and Medical Rescue Equipment (application by guides and porters only)
- Secure Storage Facility at Oxalis Headquarters to store all luggage you will not be taking on the trek
Please also bring with you the following:
- 1 long (easy to dry) pants and 1 long sleeved shirt to wear during the trek (quick dry)
- 1 pair of shorts and t-shirt to wear at campsite plus your swimsuit
- 1 pair of trekking boots/shoes – difficult terrain, good footwear necessary. Gore-Tex/waterproof boots are NOT recommended as they do not drain well (if you prefer your own comfortable pair)
- 1 pair of flip flops (sandals) for campsite
- 1 medium size towel
- 2-3 pairs of calf-length densely woven socks (not ankle socks)
- Personal items: mosquito repellent, sunglasses, hat, camera, underwear, toiletries
If you are trekking in the colder months (November – March) please bring additional warm clothes for the evening and an extra change of long pants and shirt for swimming.