Our Tu Lan Expedition is led by a Vietnamese – English speaking skilled adventure guide, with support from a safety expert from the British Cave Research Association, along with a porter team and cooks made up of local men with many years of jungle experience.
This skills-based caving adventure provides a highly informative insight into this unique caving region, home to the most spectacular caves and jungle of Vietnam!
On this tough jungle and cave trek there is plenty to keep your heart racing with some dark cave abseiling, bouldering, climbing and a lot of swimming through the caves. Our secluded jungle campsites are spectacular and mostly different from those visited on our shorter treks in the same region. Extra lighting will be brought in to provide many chances for epic photography.
Within 4 days and 3 nights in the wild and 2 nights in cozy comfort at Chay Lap Farmstay, our Tu Lan Expedition will take you to almost all of the explored caves and jungle in Tu Lan area and give you a dose of indulgence at our rural retreat. It will certainly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the Cave Kingdom of Vietnam.
Dong Hoi – Safety Briefing – Chay Lap Farmstay
Arrive in Dong Hoi by no later than 2 pm on the afternoon of your briefing day, where you will be met by our driver and transferred to Chay Lap Farmstay. The hotel is located just next to the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park. Upon arrival, hospitality services will be happy to help you plan your extra time there. You can spend the rest of the day resting, relaxing, riding a bike around the Chay village, or splashing in the pool with views of karst mountains surrounding you. You will be required to purchase your own breakfast and lunch on this day.
Around 5:30pm – 6:00pm you will congregate at Expedition Restaurant within Chay Lap Farmstay, where you’ll meet your cave safety expert and guide team for your safety briefing and equipment check. The briefing is mandatory. Anyone who chooses not to join the briefing may be eliminated from the tour without refund. Please have all belongings you’ll be taking on the trek prepared and leave them in your room ready for the next day. We will collect everyone’s belongings in individually labeled large plastic bags, and send them to our porters to prepare in the morning. You will receive your belongings each evening once you get to your campsite. Therefore, anything you want to take with you during the day you should keep in a separate backpack (e.g. cameras, tripods etc.). Please note that the Release Form needs to be signed at the safety briefing. After that, enjoy dinner with your team at around 7:30 pm at Expedition Restaurant.
Luxuriate in your comfortable bed that night at Chay Lap Farmstay before your 4-day jungle and cave adventure!
Chay Lap Farmstay – Tan Hoa – Secret Cave – Hung Ton Cave – Tu Lan Campsite – Hang Ken
The expedition takes off with a pickup from Chay Lap Farmstay at 8:00 am and a transfer to Tan Hoa village. You’ll do a final check on gear and equipment at Tu Lan office prior to trekking. At 10:00 am, the trek gets underway with a hike across peanut and buffalo fields (2.5 km) to the Rao Nan River.
After crossing the river, the group will go through the first cave of this expedition called Secret Cave at 11 am. The journey within Secret Cave then proceeds forward with a trek to Hung Ton Cave entrance. The journey within Secret Cave and the following trek to Hung Ton will take from about 11:30 am – 12:00 pm. At the entrance of Hung Ton you will take a break and enjoy lunch until about 1:00 pm.
From Hung Ton, trek through the jungle to Tu Lan Campsite. At camp, you’ll get settled and have time to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee before swimming into Ken Cave to the photo viewpoint where a famous picture of this cave was taken. There will be more time for swimming afterwards at the small waterfall by camp, while our porter team prepares a delicious dinner.
Tu Lan – Hang Kim – To Mo – Hung Ton – La Ken – Hung Dung Campsite
Breakfast starts this adventurous day around 8:00 am. Then, the expedition group will see the namesake of the tour, Tu Lan Cave. Visit Tu Lan Dry Cave and abseil down (10 m) into the river passage of Tu Lan Wet Cave with the support of our guide team. You will either swim or boat out of the cave (exit mode depends on season/weather).
Hang Kim is next, and you’ll enter via the dry entrance, follow the dry passage to the underground river, and swim through the cave to exit into picturesque To Mo Valley. We will have lunch here from about 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Then, we will swim into Ton Cave, explore the dry passage and climb up the ladder to exit the cave.
It takes a further 2.5 hours to trek to La Ken Valley and then you’ll reach the Hung Dung Campsite (around 5:30 pm) where everyone can enjoy swimming in the natural pools. In cooler weather, you can spend this extra time taking photos of the waterfall and drinking more cups of coffee or tea. Enjoy a fulfilling dinner at around 6:00 pm.
Hang Doi – Hung Nhai – Tien Valley – Tien Campsite
At 8:00 am, the day starts with breakfast ready when you wake up. Around 9:00 am, trek over the hill and through Hang Doi, known as Short Cave or sometimes Bat Cave. This will include a very short swim. When you exit the cave, you’ll see a beautiful waterfall and have time to stop and take some photos.
At 11:00 am, cross Hung Nhai Valley to the bottom of the hill. Lunch will take place from 12:00 – 1:00 pm near the river. The next few hours will be spent trekking up and over the hill into Tien Valley. After the hill, it’s about 30 more minutes to campsite which will be reached around 5:30 pm. Enjoy swimming in the gorgeous natural lagoon and soak up the surrounding beauty. Capture some excellent photos before getting distracted with a delicious dinner under the stars.
Hang Tien 1 – Hang Tien 2 – Tan Hoa – Chay Lap Farmstay
Have a big breakfast to gear up for this big, final day of the trek. Hike to the largest cave in Tu Lan Cave System, Hang Tien. Known as Fairy Cave, Hang Tien has two sections and you will explore both from about 9:30 am – 1:00 pm.
Hang Tien 1 lies beyond a field of boulders and the entrance is magnificent. Rimstone pools are stacked high and add to the magical feeling of this cave. Journey through Hang Tien 1 to its exit and then through Hang Tien 2 before making your way back.
Lunch will take place on the return through Hang Tien, at the exit of Hang Tien 1. Then the group will proceed back through Hang Tien 1. Trek over the hill to the road where you’ll be picked up and returned to the office around 4:00 – 4:30 pm.
At Tan Hoa office, you will have time to take a proper shower that you have been waiting for many days, have a cold drink, collect your luggage and be transferred to Chay Lap Farmstay. Check in at the hotel around 6:30 pm, and then enjoy a gala dinner with your expedition team around 7:30 pm. The night will be spent at Chay Lap.
Departure Day: Transfer to Dong Hoi
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, take a swim in the pool at Chay Lap, or enjoy Chay Lap water sports center before leaving. Off-property excursions are available as well and can be booked directly through Chay Lap Farmstay. Please contact our sales executive to be served. We will arrange 2 group transfers from Chay Lap Farmstay to Dong Hoi; the morning transfer is at 7:30 am and the afternoon transfer is at 2:00 pm. Please inform your departure time to your tour guide the night before to arrange transfer service. We wish you all the best in your onward travels.