Are you an explorer at heart? Does the thought of spelunking into a cave tickle your heartstrings? If so, then Son Doong Cave is the destination of choice for you.
As one of the largest caves in the world, it features caverns large enough to house a Boeing 747 airliner as well as a flowing subterranean river, with verdant greenery and moss dotting the landscape. The reason for this is that the cave contains two massive dolines, or cave ceiling collapses, which allow sunlight to penetrate through the forest floor and illuminate large swaths of the cave system.
This phenomenon has allowed underground rainforests to take root and prosper within the large caverns. It also contains many beautiful natural formations such as enormous cave pearls and soaring stalagmites. If any of these appeal to you, you should know that visiting this cave can be a very rewarding and memorable experience.
However, it is also quite difficult to set up full expeditions at Son Doong Cave, with your only choice being a 4-day expedition. If you are content with exploring smaller areas of the cave system, you can join in 1,2, and 3-day tours for certain locations nearby. The 4-day expedition is very difficult and you will spend a lot of time hiking through harsh but beautiful environments. Here we will go over some common questions you may have for the full 4-day Son Doong Cave Expedition.
How difficult is the expedition?
Despite the strict instructions in the region, this expedition is still one of the most difficult trips you will undertake. We recommend you should be in good physical condition at the very least so that you can last more than 30km total distance.
What will the weather be like?
Lying in thick jungles, you can expect the weather to fluctuate between being very hot (32-40°C) during the summer months and quite cool (8-15°C) during the winter months. The presence of rain will also make the trip more difficult as the trial will become slippery and muddy. Inside the cave, you will find the temperature to be more comfortable (18-25°C) depending on the season. For this reason, you should pack your clothes accordingly.
Will I be required to have experience in swimming and rappelling beforehand?
You cannot require to swim as that is not a part of the tour unless you do it recreationally in the rivers. There will be portions of rock climbing as you descend into the cave’s 80-meter entrance.
What kinds of safety measures can I expect?
This is a very difficult and strenuous adventure, however, your safety will always be the priority of your guides. The expedition will always have 7 team members for every 10 guests. Their knowledge and numbers will ensure that you always have a pair of eyes on you. However, there will always be an element of risk on an expedition like this. This is why it is important to always follow directions and keep a line of communication with your team.
What kind of vaccinations should I look into getting before going on this trip?
It is recommended to obtain your typhoid and hepatitis A vaccinations before traveling to the region. Malaria is also extremely rare. However, it is important to consult your travel doctor for any medical advice on any health conditions or vaccinations.
What kinds of personal hygiene and sanitation measures can I expect?
Toilets will be available throughout the trip at each campsite as well as during lunch stops. Antiseptic hand gels will also be available. It is recommended to bring basic necessities such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, sunscreen, bug spray, deodorant, baby powder, anti-fungal/medicated powder, wet wipes, necessary medications, and feminine hygiene products.
What will the sleeping conditions be like at the campsites?
The guides will provide you with individual tents unless you wish to share bedding with a travel companion. The guides also offer you sleeping mats and bags which are sanitized between each tour.
What kinds of dietary options will be provided during the Sơn Doong cave trip?
There will be a variety of different cuisines throughout the trip, and the team will make sure to comply with most dietary restrictions. Kosher/Halal food is the only dietary restriction that the team will be unable to assist with. It is recommended to bring your own snacks if you feel you will need them.
What happens if I am not fit enough to continue the tour?
The first day will be a test of your physical condition! Anyone who is unable to complete this stage will unfortunately be sent back to Phong Nha and finish the trip. Extra accommodations will be your responsibility, and no alternative tours can be done in exchange for your trip. However, the staff can give you recommendations for the area.
What are the biggest medical concerns that I will face?
Dehydration and athlete’s foot are the most common medical conditions faced by travelers. This is why it is important to drink at least 3L of fluids a day. We recommend that you should bring your own 1.5L bottle to accommodate this. The anti-fungal powder is also a good choice to reduce the chances of developing an athlete’s foot.
For further concerns, we will be more than happy to answer your questions about Son Doong Cave and we recommend checking our website for more details. Overall, this is one of the most rewarding and memorable trips that you can possibly attend, and it really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you shouldn’t miss. As long as you are ready, you will be able to witness the beauty and awe-inspiring nature of Son Doong Cave in person.
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