A muddy quest into the dark heart of Vietnam
Take a walk on the dark side
In the pitch black Hang Toi Cave you’ll encounter an unforgettable adventure full of zipline thrills and muddy spills
In northern Vietnam, where tranquil rivers meet cascading waterfalls and sweeping landscapes, you’ll find an experience guaranteed to kindle your sense of adventure: Hang Toi Cave. But beware, this excursion is not for the faint-hearted. Tucked away in Phong Nha Ke Bang, a scenic national park, this cave experience, combines action sports with pitch-black spelunking (cave exploration) through thick mud. Get ready for some good, not so clean, fun.Dark, muddy adventure in Hang Toi CaveHang Toi Cave was discovered in 1990 and has been a popular attraction ever since. Better known as 'Dark Cave', unlike some other caves in the national park, no artificial lighting has been installed. Although Hang Toi leaves adventurers in the pitch black, it only adds to the sense of excitement. To reach the cave, you initially descend Vietnam’s longest zipline – over 400 metres of airborne excitement. After splashing down into the tranquil green-blue Chay River, next you need to complete a short swim to the narrow cavern entrance.Equipped with helmets and headlamps, carefully pick your way through the narrow caverns. Along the way, you’ll see otherworldly rock formations and fossils, some of which are over one million years old. The path eventually widens to what can only be described as a natural mud bath. Once you make it through, you can ward yourself with a cool dip in the Chay River. To round off the adventure, head back along the river in a kayak. For those thrill seekers who just can’t get enough, there’s an adventure obstacle course to end the day. A local restaurant is also on hand for much-needed replenishment.A cave explorer’s paradiseAs national parks go, Phong Nha Ke Bang has a lot to offer. It was the first national park Vietnam had designated as a UNESCO world heritage site back in 2003. This nature reserve is characterised by mountains, tropical forests, and underground rivers. It is most known for its ancient limestone rock formations and vast network of caves. As the world’s biggest natural cave Hang Son Doong has to be seen to be believed. At more than 200 metres high, 150 metres wide and 5km long, the Hang Son Doong Cave is so gigantic it has its own river, jungle, and microclimate. It’s arguably the most impressive cave Vietnam has to offer. Australian photographer John Spies aptly described seeing it as: "With ceilings towering over 200 metres high in places, the cave is a humbling and belittling experience."
Explore Vietnams Spectacular HTC
Known as the world’s biggest natural cave: Hang Son Doong
Paradise Cave is visually just as impressive as Hang Son Doong. Visitors descend the wooden staircase to be greeted by colossal stalactite and stalagmite structures, reminiscent of Gaudi’s masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia.
Phong Nha Cave
Phong Nha Cave
Phong Nha Cave can only be reached by boat. After cruising past limestone outcrops and local churches, you’ll silently enter a vast, illuminated cavern. Other popular activities here include wandering around the national park and botanical gardens, where you’ll discover crashing waterfalls and a plethora of rare plant species.
With ceilings towering over 200 metres high in places, the cave is a humbling and belittling experience
John Spies | Photographer
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