Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country full of natural wonders - from some of the most picturesque beaches in the world to the largest cave in the world. It has been UNESCO World Heritage inscribed since 2003 and offers breath-taking natural beauty. It is a rare national park that is visually stunning on both the surface and underground.

For a very different cave experience in northern California and the Pacific Northwest, consider exploring the incredible lava tube caves - like around Mt Shatsha. Caves are a constant reminder that there is always so much more than what meets the eye. They are also an important aspect of learning about the Maya who thought of caves as the holy conduits to the underworld.

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The Remarkable Beauty of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

"The Park’s landscape is formed by limestone plateaux and tropical forests. It features great geological diversity and offers spectacular phenomena, including a large number of caves and underground rivers. The site harbours a high level of biodiversity and many endemic species."

- UNESCO

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is located around 500 kilometers south of Hanoi and borders the Hin Namno National Park in Laos. The park was created to protect one of the world's two largest karst regions with 300 caves and grottoes and its remarkable ecosystem of limestone forest.

  • Size: 85,754 hectares - Extended to 123,326 hectares
  • Designated: World Heritage Since 2003
  • Caves: 300 Caves and Grottos
  • Undiscovered: Only Around 70% of The Jungle Here is Explored

While the park is known to have some 300 caves and grottos, there could be a lot more. It is believed that around 70% of the jungle here remains unexplored. The world's largest cave - Sơn Đoòng Cave was only discovered here in 2009. It boasts some of the world's largest cave systems, longest passageways, and underground rivers.

Related: These Tours Of Kentucky's Mammoth Cave Are Worth Taking, Ranked By Difficulty

Exploring The Caves Of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

One of the main draws to the national park is the caves. These need to be explored as part of an organized tour and for some of them like Sơn Đoòng Cave, Oxalis Adventure is the only organization permitted to offer tours. They have exclusive tour rights to Son Doong Cave (the largest cave in the world), Hang En Cave (the third-largest cave in the world), as well as the Nuoc Nut and the Tu Lan cave systems.

Oxalis Adventure is the leading adventure tour operator in Vietnam who has pioneered caving and jungle experiences in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. They offer multi-day tours of some of the caves in the park that include camping within the caves at night.

  • Camping: They Also Offer Cave Camping
  • Expeditions: One Day to Four Day Expeditions

Oxalis Adventure takes safety seriously and works closely with experts from the British Cave Research Association. Additionally, they only use quality equipment from France, Switzerland, and the UK in an effort to meet international safety standards.

Their more demanding expeditions include cave experts, porters, a professional guide, cooks, and medical staff. That have cave tours ranging from easy family tours that one can take the kids along with to very difficult tours where one needs to be in good physical shape and maybe to have some practice.

Caves That Can Be Explored With Oxalis Adventure:

  • Son Doong Cave
  • Tu Lan Cave System
  • Hang Tien Cave
  • Hang En Cave
  • Hang Va Cave
  • Nuoc Nut Cave

Related: Check Out These 'No Time To Die' Cave Hotels In Matera, Italy

Son Doong Cave - The Largest Cave In The World

The Son Doong Cave is so large that its cross-section is thought to be around twice the size of the world's next largest passage. It is also thought to be the largest cave in the world by volume - and it has been named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest since 2013. It has only been open to the public since 2013.

  • Name: Hang Sơn Đoòng Can Be Translated As "Cave of the Mountain River" or "Cave of The Mountains Being Đoòng [village]"
  • Age: It is Thought To Be Between 2 and 5 Million Years Old
  • Subterranean River: The Rao Thuong River Has Carved Out The Cave
  • Volume: 38.5 million cubic meters
  • Guinness Book of World Records: Listed As The Largest Cave In The World In The 2013 Edition

The only option to visit the Son Doong cave is on four-day expeditions with Oxalis Adventure. It is rated as hard - adventure level 6 so one much have a good level of fitness and previous trekking experience.

While the Son Doong Cave is the biggest and baddest of the many caves in the national park, it is far from the only one worth exploring.

  • Duration: 4 Day Expedition
  • Trekking Length: 17 Kilometers (10 Miles) Of Trekking Over Very Rocky Terrain
  • Caving Length: 8 Kilometers (5 Miles) Of Caving With Rope Climbs, Scrambling, At A 90 Meter Ascent of The Wall of Vietnam
  • Camping: 3 Nights of Underground Camping

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