Hang Son Doong: How to Visit the Biggest Cave in the World

Quang Binh attracts tourists with its beautiful beaches, wonderful caves, and friendly local people. When talking about cave expeditions in Vietnam, perhaps everyone thinks of Phong Nha–Ke Bang National Park, which owns hundreds of beautiful caves. Typically, Son Doong is the biggest cave in the world and contains a forest inside itself.

Son Doong Cave - Hang Son Doong
The Gate at Son Doong Cave -Photo cropped from video of Ryan Deboodt

However, traveling to Hang Son Doong is a complex experience. This post will introduce you to some of the most essential travel experiences that can help you have a memorable journey.

Brief information about Son Doong Cave and a tour to visit it

Son Doong Cave (Hang Son Doong) is located in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park in Son Trach Commune, Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province. Hang Son Dong is currently the biggest natural cave in the world, with an estimated length of 5km, a height of 200 m, and a width of 150m.

Son Doong Cave Map
Son Doong Cave to see from Dong Hoi, Quang Binh

In 1991, a local farmer, Ho Khanh, discovered the cave; however, until 2009, Son Doong Cave was known to the world for the trip of the explorers of the Royal British Cave Association.

Currently, Oxalis is the only company allowed to organize the Son Doong Cave tour to join a group of a maximum of 10 guests. All tickets to the cave must be booked in advance but often run out quickly.

Although the tour is expensive, many adventurous tourists who love to explore nature and caves are willing to spend money to conquer the largest and most beautiful cave in the world.

This tour requires more than 25 people supporting the discovery, including the transportation staff, a cave expert, and a guide.

Each year, a few hundred tourists are limited to exploring Son Doong Cave because of the protection of cave nature, the big budget of the tour, and the health required to trek.

Short notes about Hang Son Doong:

  • Time for exploring Son Doog Cave: from January to August
  • Duration: 4 days and 3 nights (additional 2 nights at the hotel, before and after the tour)
  • Level of adventure: Difficult (30 km+) and only for physically fit guests
  • Number of tours: Departure weekly
  • Number of guests: Tour departure from 6 – 10 guests
  • Age limit: 18 years or older
  • Price: $ 3,200/person ~ VND 80,000,000
Hang Son Doong
Exploring Hang Son Doong – photo: @linhbaobui

The best time to visit Son Doong Cave

The company organizes a tour to explore Son Doong cave, which can be exploited from January to August yearly. The remaining months are the rainy season in Quang Binh, so it is not safe to explore Son Doong Cave.

Based on our experience, the best time to explore it is from the end of February to April. This duration is the most beautiful time with cool and pleasant weather, which is going for trekking.

Prepare before traveling to Hang Son Doong

The items are necessary, such as clothes and personal belongings. The most crucial point is that you must train and maintain good health and fitness. The journey to conquer Son Doong Cave involves challenging trekking, walking in the forest, and overcoming many hills, rivers, and cliffs requiring a suitable condition.

Before taking part in this tour, health professionals will check your wellness by asking about your health status. You should answer these questions correctly.

Before joining this conquest, you must practice walking and running at least 10 km/day for about 3 to 6 months to comfortably join the tour. These things aim to give you the best preparation for your fitness. When you take the average speed to walk up the stairs of a 10-storey building and you feel alright, you can join the Son Doong Tour.

Hang Son Doong Cave Vietnam – the Biggest Cave in Vietnam
This photo is collected from the internet.

Journey to explore the biggest cave in the world

After you’ve had the best preparation for your physical state, it’s time to start your journey to explore the fascinating Son Doong Cave. The company van can only take you to kilometer 39 of Ho Chi Minh Road, and then from here, you will start your exploration to conquer Son Doong Cave.

  • The cave is further in the primitive jungle, so you must walk a long distance to reach this cavern.
  • You will walk down the valley and through the village of Van Kieu ethnic group.
  • As usual, you will have lunch and rest here and then continue to En Cave (Hang En).
  • The group has dinner and spends overnight at En Cave to power up an adventurous journey for the following day.
  • Exploring Hang Son Doong takes about 4 days and 3 nights, and there are many difficulties, but it is an exciting and valuable discovery for people who love nature.
  • The mysterious and charming world inside the cave makes you feel breathtaking and impressive.

You will admire the incredible stalactites and a primeval forest with rich and unspoiled vegetation. The inside of the cave is a different life from the outside. You will discover the creativity of nature.

Top 5 highlights inside Son Doong Cave

  1. Son Doong is the largest natural cave in the world, with a height of 200m, which is enough to accommodate 40-storey buildings or dozens of big Boeing types.
  2. Eden garden in the ground: The landscape inside Son Doong creates an incredibly majestic scene with rivers, mountains, and a forest with an immensely unique and diverse ecosystem.
  3. The Great Wall of Vietnam: This area is known for its system of natural cliffs, which rise more than 80m.
  4. Large stalactite system: In Son Doong, the stalactite system resembles strong giants, with stalagmites up to 70m high and different shapes.
  5. The biggest grotto pearls are found in the cave. And many of them are more extensive than a baseball.
Hang Son Doong
Hang Son Doong is the biggest cave in the world. Photo: @bbaum.rtw

Some notes you need to remember when traveling to this cave

  • A tourist experiencing Son Doong Cave does not carry anything. There are members of staff who support you.
  • The travel office also prepares your tents to rest. Several public toilets are also set up in the cave to ensure hygiene for visitors and the surrounding environment.
  • Comply with all the regulations set by the company to have a perfect excursion.
  • If a problem makes the journey impossible to continue, travelers have to return, not go on.
  • Usually, this nature tour includes activities such as climbing and wading streams. So, some essential items, including soft shoes, flashlights, anti-squeeze drugs, and anti-fungal drugs, are needed.
  • Clothes should be light and easy to dry. Thin and warm coats are the most convenient for the night.
  • You should choose shoes that are easy to drain for trekking because they will have to operate in a humid environment for a long time.
  • There is no bathing room in the cave. There is only a limited amount of water to eat and basic personal hygiene. If you want to be cleaner, you can bring a lot of wet towels and hand sanitizer with you.
Hang Son Doong Cave
A great photo inside Son Doong Cave – Photo: @yaurowen

Tips to take pictures in the dark cave

The techniques for taking photos in the cave are different because the environment of Hang Son Song is very dark, completely wild, and wet. Thus, in addition to cameras, lenses, and brackets, you need to prepare robust lighting systems for lamps.

Teh largest cave in the world - hang son doong
Swimming in Son Doong Cave – Photo: @linhbaobui

These activities often consume camera batteries very quickly and certainly can’t just take a photo. It would be best if you carried enough of them to get more pictures of your wish.

When broadcasting live inside Son Doong Cave in the United States, ABC TV shows need 150 people to carry goods and equipment for their work.

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