Phong nha - kẻ bàng

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World Heritage Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, with its karst mountains, underground rivers, historic sites, extensive sầu caves và unspoilt jungle, is packed with opportunities to hike, xe đạp, paddle or relax in one of Vietnam's most spectacular và interesting regions.

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The national park is famously trang chủ lớn Hang Son Doong, discovered in the early 1990s & confirmed as the biggest cave sầu on the planet only in 2009. In recent years the cave sầu has become one of the hottest tickets in travel for in-the-know adventurers. Negotiating its 5km-long cavern is superbly exciting, but guided tours are limited and beyond the budget of many. Luckily there are many other activities – both below & above ground – to occupy travellers in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang area.


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Grab a quirky hand-drawn maps from either the Phong Nha Farmstay (phong-nha-cave.com) or the Easy Tiger hostel (easytigerhostel.com), & spover a day exploring the Bong Lai Valley. Meandering tracks and back roads made for mountain bikes weave sầu through local villages & along sleepy rivers, passing by an ever-expanding array of laidbaông xã attractions. Lunch on grilled chicken with peanut sauce at the Pub with Cold Beer, or spkết thúc a relaxing afternoon in a rustic riverside shelter at the Wild Boar Eco-Farm.

Meeting the challenge of Hang Toi

Kick off a visit to lớn Hang Toi (Dark Cave) with a soaring zipline flight above a forest-shaded river, before a brief but bracing swlặng inlớn the mouth of the cave sầu. Natural light soon fades as visitors are led further into the cavern, through narrow passageways filled with a mini-ocean of gluggy mud, before soaking và swimming in the underground waters of Thuy Tien lake. Upon exiting the cave sầu, it's a short & very scenic kayak paddle baông chồng to lớn the Dark Cave's main jetty.


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Arrange a tour with the Phong Nha Farmstay khổng lồ explore the region's wartime history, either in a restored US Army jeep or in the sideoto of Soviet-era Ural motorbike. Tours negotiate winding roads past roaring rapids & sheer cliff faces around rugged Highway 20, và sections of the famed Ho Chi Minch Trail, which was vital khổng lồ the Vietnamese war effort. You can also visit poignant Hang Tam Co (Eight Lady Cave), now a memorial lớn eight Vietnamese pioneer soldiers who perished in 1972 after a US bombing raid sealed the entrance lớn the cave sầu.


Hiking the jungle above the caves

Join a jungle hike with one of the region's excellent local trekking guides. Hai’s Eco Conservation Tour involves a day exploring the jungle và a visit khổng lồ Phong Nha's Wildlife Rescue và Rehabilitation Centre. You'll find the friendly Hai at his relaxed Bamboo Cafe in the town of Son Trach most evenings. Another trekking option is with Dzung of Jungle trùm cuối Trekking, who runs a one-day tour around the Ho Chi Minh Trail, also visiting the remote Abandoned Valley area of the national park.

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Relaxing by the river

After active days underground or trudging through the jungle, a more relaxed pursuit is to spkết thúc a few hours at the Nuoc Mooc Ecotrail. A series of linked walkways and bamboo bridges winds through a forested limestone labyrinth of pristine pools & turquoise springs. Kayaking is available on a small lake, & there’s a rustic rope bridge – a bit of a thrill after a lazy lunch in one of Nuoc Mooc's open-air gazebos.


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One-night/two-day tours of the wider Tu Lan Cave sầu system commence with a full-day hike through rustic countryside, before a campsite with hammocks is set up adjacent lớn the beautiful cave Hang Ken. Day two includes exploration of Tu Lan, & the challenging combination of trekking & swimming through the Kyên and Hung Ton caves. For the even more adventurous, there is a longer và more challenging two-night/three-day tour option.

Camping underground in Hang En

Located cthua kém khổng lồ renowned Hang Son Doong, Hang En is currently regarded as the third-largest cave sầu on the planet. One-night/two-day tours give sầu travellers the opportunity lớn camp at a spectacular riverside location within the cave sầu, & visit the remote ethnic minority village of Ban Doong. Fossils up to 300 million years old have sầu been found in the cave sầu, but present-day wildlife includes thousands of swifts, which dart amid the diffuse shafts of sunlight projecting inkhổng lồ Hang En's giant cavern.


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Discovered in 2012, & only opened lớn visitors in năm ngoái, Hang Va is the newest underground adventure in the Phong Nha region. Leading caving outfit Oxalis runs two-day/one-night adventures that include travelling along an underground river in the nearby Hang Nuoc Nut cave. After overnighting at a jungle camp near Hang Va's entrance, visitors explore the cave's spectacular partially submerged stalagmite field. Bring a sense of adventure – ropes and harnesses are used extensively during this experience.


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Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park abuts the village of Son Trach, about 50km from Dong Hoi, in Vietnam’s north-central region. Regular local buses links the two towns. Hotels can also organise lifts in private cars from Dong Hoi. Son Trach has an ATM, và a growing range of accommodation and eating options.

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Access to the park is quite tightly controlled (the park is still riddled with unexploded ordnance). Officially you are not allowed to lớn hike here without a licensed tour operator. You can travel independently (by motorbike or car) on the Ho Chi Minh Highway or Hwy 20, both of which cut through the park.