Inside Vietnam: Cambodia Laos

Caving at Phong Nha National Park

Explore vast caverns filled with sculpted stalagmite and stalactite formations, or kayak down jungle-fringed rivers.

Caving doesn't have to mean crawling on your hands and knees - and here at Phong Nha that couldn't be any further from the truth! Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a Natural World Heritage Site and home to some of the world's most dramatic caves, including the largest cave in the world - Son Doong.

While Son Doong probably won't be on your itinerary (prices are vertiginously expensive, and only a handful of passes are handed out each year), some of the most beautiful caves in the park are actually very accessible to tourists.

To visit Paradise Cave (Thien Duong), you'll wind through sheer limestone peaks rising up from the jungle, where huge buttress-rooted trees, festooned with vines, clad the mountainsides. Dropped off at the foot of the mountain by a golf buggy, you'll climb the half-kilometre of steps (or wander along a less challenging, winding path) to reach the cave entrance - near the top of the vast cavern. From here you'll descend into the cathedral-like space below, wandering along wooden walkways to admire the truly stupendous rock formations that earned the cave its name.

Easily combined with a visit to Paradise Cave is Phong Nha Cave, a so-called 'wet cave' with a river running through it. After puttering along from Phong Nha town in a longtail boat, your driver will cut off the engine and being rowing as you drift quietly into the mouth of the cave. After floating along the main passageway, you'll return and disembark to explore the dry section of the cave. Though the stalagmites and stalactites here aren't as vast and numerous as in Paradise Cave, they're still incredible, as we're sure you'll agree!

If, however, crawling through mud is your idea of a caving experience - we can arrange that too!

When to go:

Caving at Phong Nha National Park

located in Phong Nha National Park

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