(Phong Nha Cave, Dark Cave & Bicycle Ride Back)
For those looking for the true Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park experience this tour is the option to choose. The Boat & Bike Tour offers the perfect combination between the exciting adventure feeling and a feeling of soothing relaxation.
The tour starts between 08:00 AM & 09:00 AM, participants will be picked up by a tour van from the Heritage By Night Hotel and brought to the boat station at the Phong Nha-Ke Bang Tourism Center ticket office. At the boat station a traditional Vietnamese dragon boat will be waiting and drive them on the Son river to the entrance of the Phong Nha Cave. The Son river is not a regular river, it is a river of which origin is located underground. On this boat ride participants get the chance to fully wake up and see what’s going on beyond the touristic center of Phong Nha.
There are many people living on each side of the river bank as for most people in this area the rivers are a crucial source of food, and for some income. The local people keep fish farms inside the river, these fish need to be fed and therefore the owners go out on traditional boats to find river-weed to feed their fish. They take out the weed from the bottom of the river with two long sticks, almost like giant chop sticks. This is a daily activity which requires a lot of energy, participants will often think of this as the “other side” of Vietnam (the hard working).
Subterranean River Inside Phong Nha Cave.
Once arrived at the Phong Nha Cave’s entrance it’s time to venture inside the big gazing hole (entrance) and explore the cave by boat. The Phong Nha Cave is not a regular cave, it is the longest subterranean river system and longest underground river cave in the world and also known as “The First Wonder”. It opened up for tourism in 1995 and has been the #1 tourism site in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park ever since.
Before entering the boat driver will shut down the engine and continue with a paddle, this is because we want to visitors and tour participants to truly experience the cave, and thus its silence. A artificial lighting system was installed in 1998 and renewed in 2013, this creates for gorgeous scenery inside the cave and allows visitors to see more of the cave than usual. The first formation that visitors see while diving deeper inside is usually welcomed by a “whooaa”. This extremely large stalagmite formation rises high up in the air and lighted in a mysterious way. After 1.2km the boat turns around, visitors are dropped off before the exit and are allowed to walk around in the cave and take pictures of the enormous stalagmite and stalactite formations while slowly making their way back to the boat station at the entrance of the cave.
The Phong Nha Cave is not just a beautiful cave, it also has a rich history and has had many purposes in the past. Inscriptions and old artifacts are found inside the cave. These belong to to the Cham people who inhabited the area thousands of years ago. This ancient culture had it’s own alphabet which till the day of today still hasn’t been fully decrypted!
A picture of the beautiful limestone
After successfully discovering the Phong Nha Cave it’s now time to sit back and enjoy another boat ride to Dark Cave. This time the boat driver will take participants upstream on the Chay river, another amazing river that runs through the national park. The Chay river is known for its deep blue water. Along the way children will be playing games in the water, ride buffaloes across the river and wave happily at the tourists passing by. The cool breeze will allow people to embrace the tranquility of the area while seeing the “mini halong bay” formations that rise up from the water surface. On the boat ride to Dark Cave two villages will be passed; Cam village & Ne village. Our tour guides will tell participants more about the history of these villages and their area. This boat ride is the last chance to relax before the big adventure waiting at Dark Cave!
Dark Cave 400m Zipline
Once arrived at Dark Cave’s boat station it’s time to get geared up for the exploration. Dark Cave was first discovered in 1990 by the same man that discovered the biggest cave in the world: Son Doong. In 2014 the 400 meter double zip-line was build and since then Dark Cave became one of the most popular tourism sites in the area. The zip-line is currently the longest zip-line in Vietnam and the Phong Nha-Ke Bang Tourism Center received a Vietnamese Guinness Records award in the 2015 Quang Binh Cave Festival. During this festival a new Dark Cave tour was launched (6 km Dark Cave exploration) and a new obstacle course above the water was built (the adventurous bridge).
The entrance of the cave is located near the end of the zip-line, a short 20 meter swim is required in the cool emerald green sometimes blue water of the Chay river. While venturing deep in to the cave our professional English speaking tour guides will provide visitors with plenty of information about the cave and its history. At the end of one of the narrow passages there’s a natural mud-bath waiting and we assure that it’s a lot of fun! There’s more to the cave than just the mud bath. It is home to many different lakes and ancient fossils are forever embedded in to the rock walls of the cave. With it’s stunning length of 6 kilometers the Dark Cave is a truly magnificent sight without any artificial lighting installed which creates for a TRUE cave experience.
After successfully exploring Dark Cave it’s time to take a short kayak ride back to the boat station. Next to the boat station a shorter zip-line is located and visitors can release themselves in to the water. For those who still have energy a shot at conquering the adventurous bridge will be very tempting. There are not many people who actually make it across!
At Dark Cave restaurant visitors can order a cold drinks & some very tasty traditional Vietnamese dishes prepared by our professional staff.
Buffaloes & Bikes!
After the lunch it’s time to head back to the Phong Nha village by bicycle. However, instead of driving on the regular boring road to Dark Cave our tour guides will take participants off –road through the many villages along the river. The locals warmly welcome foreign tourists, especially the children. The children often ask for candy so we encourage participants of the Boat & Bike Tour to take some sweets and hand them out to the children in these villages. Our guides will take participants to places which tourists are not likely to go on their own, that’s why this tour is so unique and exciting. Our guides will provide information about the history rich area, and stop at the wine-cave which was used in the war. To get to the Phong Nha village participants will have to cross the suspension bridge followed by a ferry crossing. Once the opposite side of the river bank has been reached it takes just 20 more minutes to arrive in the village, however along the way there are plenty of interesting stops.
The Boat & Bike Tour is another Phong Nha-Ke Bang Tourism Center EXCLUSIVE Tour. This tour creates the perfect mix between exciting adventure and relaxation.
Tour Itinerary & Price
08:00 – 09h00: Pick up visitors from hotels within Phong Nha area.
– Boat Ride on Son river to visit Phong Nha Cave-First Wonder
– Boat Along Chay River To Dark Cave
– Have Lunch At Dark Cave
– Explore Dark Cave, zip-line, take mud bath inside the cave, see fossils, kayak, play water games
– Bicycle Back To Chay Village & See Many Fields And Children Playing And Riding Buffaloes
17:00 Return to Phong Nha area to end the tour
Price Per Person: 1,350,000 VND/67,5 USD
– Transportation (boat&bicycle)
– Tour Guide
– Specialized Equipment
– Zip-Line Ride
– Mud Bath
– All Entrance Fees
– Lunch & Drinks (water!)
– Tour Insurance
– Unforgettable Experience!!
**Tour price excludes VAT and other expenses.