Do you want to give yourself a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the world’s largest cave? Our Son Doong Expedition Cave 5D4N will fulfill your wish! Join us to explore the deepest place in the heart of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh, Vietnam.
Son Doong Cave possesses an irreplaceable beauty with its gigantic appearance and exotic landscape. For nearly 15 years, since 2009, no cave can beat its reputation as the largest cave in the world. With 9 kilometers in length, 200 meters in width, and 150 meters in depth, it never fails to impress adventurous souls.
Thus, this tour is definitely a must for adventure enthusiasts. Let’s engage in one of the most thrilling adventure tours in the world!
Before going into details about Son Doong Expedition Cave 5D4N, we would like to suggest other Phong Nha adventure tours that you might be interested in:
- Hang Pygmy Exploration 2D1N – 336 USD/person
- Hung Thoong Exploration 3 Days 2 Nights – 345 USD/person
- Tiger Cave Series Adventure 3 Days 2 Nights – 532 USD/person
- Kong Collapse Top Adventure 4 Days 3 Nights – 1522 USD/person
Note: For photography enthusiasts and professionals alike, we are continuing our Son Doong Photography Tours. This tour focuses on capturing unique images within Son Doong with lighting support and porters carrying up to 20kg of your personal equipment. Sign up now for Son Doong Photography Tour 5D4N!
SON DOONG EXPEDITION CAVE 5D4N
Tour General Information
- Operating time: from February to August (closed from September to January)
- Availability: Weekly departures
- Duration: 5 days / 4 nights (plus 1 night before and 1 night after the expedition)
- Adventure level: difficult (suitable for physically active travelers, above 50 kilometers)
- Group size: max 10 guests/departure
- Minimum age: 18 years old
- Price: 84,645,000 VND/pax = 3680 USD/pax (incl. 660 USD National Park fee)
- 50-kilometer jungle and mountain trekking
- Up-to-400-meter elevation change (between roads and valleys)
- 40-time river crossing (knee-deep, 10 to 50-meter-wide rivers)
- 10-kilometer caving (including rope climbs, rocky terrain, and scrambling)
- 80-meter rock descent with rope and harnesses
- Crossing underground rivers with strong currents
- 5-day and 4-night cave exploration
Please make sure that your health is suitable for these activities with ease.
- Regular running, trekking, caving, rock climbing, or other outdoor pursuits (at least once per month)
- Strong legs and good balance
- Previous multi-day treks
- Good general health and fitness
What To Expect?
For your 6-day tour, we provide a professional team of more than 25 porters, safety experts, and tour guides. With our team’s top assistance, you can have a satisfactory exploration of Son Doong Cave, Hang En Cave, and Ban Doong ethnic minority village.
You will have life’s greatest trek straight into the depths of the world’s largest cave on our second-to-none expedition. You can imagine Son Doong Cave’s size by fitting an 80-story building or two Boeing 747 airliners into its largest cavern.
Once you see Son Doong Cave in person, it opens to an otherworldly landscape of miraculous creations of Mother Nature. Massive stalagmites are suspended on the ceiling while stunning stalactites grow from the ground.
Moreover, you can even see a lush jungle flourishing within the cave, an unbelievably unreal scenery that you have to literally see it to believe. Also, layers of misty clouds hang around in the cave, which shows its own weather system. Plus, you will see fossil passageways that prove the great longevity of Son Doong Cave.
With such abundant properties to explore, we need a 6-day adventure to get a fulfilling experience. We mustn’t rush through this precious gift of nature but enjoy it to the utmost.
- Due to safety and conservation matters, the government of Quang Binh only allows Oxalis as the monopoly tour operator to Hang En Cave and Son Doong Cave. (Refer to Letter Number 1213/UBND-VX dated August 03, 2016, of the Government of Quang Binh Province.)
- Although customers always expect to make it to Son Doong’s entrance without expert assistance, this action is banned. Oxalis maintains the right to turn around any customers who refuse to follow the safety, conservation, and trekking rules, as well as the instructions of the guide team.
- In addition, customers who turn around will not receive a refund of any kind.
Dong Hoi – Safety Briefing – Local Hotel In Phong Nha
- First of all, you arrive in Dong Hoi (before 14:00) for the briefing day of the Son Doong Expedition Cave 5D4N Tour. The meeting place is Oxalis Home Hotel or Ho Khanh’s Homestay, where you meet your teammates and assistance team.
- Before the briefing, you have some time to relax and wander around the village of Phong Nha. On this day, you pay for your own breakfast and lunch.
- 17:30-18:00: Your team congregates in the hotel restaurant before transferring to Oxalis Headquarters, where you’ll meet your technical advisor and guide team for your safety briefing and equipment check.
- Please note that this briefing process is mandatory. Anyone who does not join the briefing may be eliminated from the tour without a refund.
- Also, please prepare all belongings you’ll be taking on the trek before the safety briefing. After the briefing, we will collect everyone’s belongings, put them in name-labeled bags, and send them to the porters to prepare for the next day.
- You will receive your belongings only each evening when you get to your campsite. Thus, anything you want to take with you during the day (e.g. cameras, tripods, or so) should be kept in a separate backpack.
- Besides, before dinner, you will get your helmet for the trip. You have to keep this helmet for the rest of the tour.
- In addition, please note that the Release Form needs to be signed at the safety briefing.
- 19:30: After all the preparation, you enjoy dinner with your team at Oxalis Headquarters.
- Later on, you will be transferred back to your hotel for a good sleep before the great trip with our Son Doong Expedition Cave.
Day 1: Phong Nha – Ban Doong Village – Hang En Cave
In the morning
- 08:00: Wake up and enjoy breakfast to start your Son Doong Expedition Cave Tour.
- 09:00: You leave extra luggage and valuable properties at the Oxalis Headquarters before picking up the porter team and setting off for the adventure.
- 09:45: After a 45-minute drive along Road 20 of the Ho Chi Minh Highway, you reach the trailhead. Then, you start trekking for approximately 1 hour downhill through the forest. This path is quite steep at times.
- 11:00: Continue to walk for half an hour along a small stream to the minority village of Ban Doong. Many people see the visit to Ban Doong Village as a real highlight of the expedition. You can learn more about this unique ethnic group and enjoy lunch beside a small river.
In the afternoon
- 12:30: After this point, you will be in the sun all afternoon for about 2 hours along a river, with very little shade. You’ll cross the river many times, so please expect to have wet feet for the whole day.
- 14:30: You reach the entrance to Hang En Cave, home to thousands of swifts. Here, you put on your headlight and go trekking about 20-30 minutes to your campsite inside the cave.
- 15:00: Arrive at the campsite. You can enjoy swimming in the underground river. Then, you have dinner at the spectacular campsite with numerous photographic opportunities.
Note: Anyone who is unable to complete any stage of this first day comfortably will be turned around to Phong Nha and will not be permitted to continue the expedition. This will be the decision of the guide team on your tour. Should you be turned around, all tour costs will be forfeited.
Day 2: En Cave – Son Doong Entrance – Hand Of Dog – SD Camp 1
In the morning
- 08:00: You begin your second day at Son Doong Expedition Cave with a delicious breakfast. It’s necessary you have a big breakfast because you’ll be in for a very tough day on day 2.
- 09:00: Start a 30-minute trek through Hang En Cave to reach its magnificent exit, which has been made famous by many photographers over the past few years. Then, you scramble down to the river valley and spend an hour walking through the river.
- 10:30: You start climbing a steep hill for about 45 minutes with some rocky sections.
- 11:15: At the top of the hill, you’ll enjoy lunch. Before continuing with the journey, you have a safety briefing, fit your safety harness, and prepare for your big journey underground.
In the afternoon
- You will confront a steep descent with a couple of short rope climbs, which finally bring you to the Son Doong’s entrance.
- With your safety harnesses, you’ll then start the 80-meter descent into the cave by making several short climbs. You will use ropes and safety lines with your guides’ assistance. There is no rappelling or abseiling at any point during the expedition.
- Then, you enjoy a few more climbs and bouldering to reach the first and second river crossings inside the cave. These rivers are no more than knee-to-thigh deep depending on the water levels. You should wash here, as it will be the last washing place for the day.
- On your way to the first campsite in the first large passage of the cave, you’ll have to be extra careful as there are a number of big drops and scrambling over boulders along a rocky path. After that, you reach one of the most spectacular views: Hand Of Dog and daylight streaming through the cave.
- 15:00-16:00: You scramble down to the first campsite of Son Doong. Then, you have the afternoon to soak up the views and rest your weary bodies. You’re in for another big meal with your team before turning in for the night.
Note: There are no washing facilities at camp on this day.
Day 3: SD Camp 1 – Watch Out For Dinosaurs – Great Wall Of Vietnam – SD Camp 2
In the morning
- 08:00: Again, your day begins with a hearty breakfast with your team.
- 09:00: Your team heads to the second campsite in Son Doong Cave. You start with some rocky climbs, which are quite steep in some places.
- 10:30: You reach the first jungle within the cave at Watch Out For Dinosaurs. You have a short break before trotting down the rocky path to reach the enormous Green Gours. It is one of the most magnificent and famous photography spots on the tour.
- A light lunch is provided with an incredible backdrop of the first doline. If you are lucky, you may even catch some sunbeams, which are perfect for truly spectacular photos.
In the afternoon
- Then, you walk through the cave past gigantic formations and plenty of cave pearls towards the light of the second doline and the main jungle within the cave. After following the path past the beautiful foliage towards the light, you reach the underground jungle.
- Your team spends around 45 minutes crossing the jungle. Then, you reach the steep and sometimes slippery path down to your second campsite within Son Doong Cave.
- 14:00-15:00: Your team reaches the campsite.
- After a short rest at your campsite, you are back on your feet and heading deeper within the cave toward the Great Wall Of Vietnam.
- You’ll pass through a very large dry passage with huge stalagmites and great views back to the second doline. Many new creepy crawlies have been discovered within this passage. So, make sure to keep your eyes open because you might face white spiders, fish, woodlouse, and shrimp species.
- After a while, you might come to one of two situations. You might reach a very large beautiful underground lake, where you’ll then paddle to reach the Great Wall Of Vietnam. Otherwise, you will find a fantastically adventurous muddy pit, where you will trudge your way through for a few hundred meters to reach the wall.
- If you come to the second situation, it is entirely optional if you wish to go further and reach the actual wall. But please note that you will get very dirty in the mud and there are no bathing facilities on this day at camp. You can pack plenty of wet wipes if you decide on the plunge.
- 18:00: You’ll be back at camp to enjoy a sensational dinner with your team. Also, you can cheer yourself up with an evening of games and entertainment. Or you can simply relax and soak up the views at what is quite possibly the very best campsite in the world.
Note: You may use a pair of dry boots on this day, as besides the mud, there are no water crossings. Also, washing facilities are unavailable at camp on this day.
Day 4: SD Camp 2 – Fossil Passage – Nat Geo View Point – Hang En Cave
In the morning
- 09:00: After refueling with another hot breakfast, you pack up your camps and start heading back to the first doline. However, this route is slightly different as you go by a small oxbow passage above the underground river. There will be a very steep drop, where you will need to use a rope and safety line.
- 11:00: Once you reach the first campsite, you will have time for a short break. Then, your team climbs down to the ancient Fossil Passage, where you can see 350-million-year-old coral fossils. You can enjoy a small wash in the pools and a hearty lunch.
In the afternoon
- Then, to descend back to the main passage, you’ll cross the river twice, climb up to the entrance, and strap in with your harness and safety lines.
- 14:00-15:00: Your group gets out of the entrance of Son Doong. Then, you can enjoy a small break and some snacks. Later on, the team heads back towards the river valley, where you can enjoy a well-deserved and refreshing wash.
- Finally, you walk along the river back to Hang En Cave for your final evening. At this underground campsite, the team can hold a celebration together.
Day 5: Hang En Cave – Ban Doong Village – Phong Nha
In the morning
- 08:00: Wake up, have breakfast, and start your 10-kilometer trek back to Road 20. You’ll follow the river along the valley and traverse Ban Doong Village.
- After that, you enjoy snacks and fruit along the way. Then, you start on a difficult climb to the mountain for the last hour of your big adventure.
In the afternoon
- Cold drinks await you at the hilltop before a 45-minute drive back to Chay Lap Farmstay where you can enjoy cool towels and a refreshing swimming pool. You will have an afternoon to relax after your long trek.
- In the evening, you enjoy a group farewell dinner with your fellow expedition team members. Then, you spend a night at Chay Lap Farmstay.
Note: Please inform our sales team in advance of your departure time so that they can arrange the logistics for your transfer back to the airport or train station. Also, if you would like to extend your holiday in Phong Nha, let us know so that we can help you book extra nights at Chay Lap Farmstay.
- You enjoy breakfast at the Chay Lap Farmstay before our driver picks you up at your departure time.
- Your Son Doong Expedition Cave 5D4N ends here.
Note: The fixed check-out time at Chay Lap Farmstay is 12:00, regardless of your departure time. If you want to stay for extra days or nights, please let us know beforehand. We will secure rooms for you.
- As there are many river crossings, you should prepare for your shoes or boots to get very wet for most of the days. It is unavoidable, yet part of the fun.
- In the summer, the rivers’ water on the way is only knee-deep, but it’s deep enough to fill Gore-Tex boots. Thus, we do not recommend you use Gore-Tex boots.