Traveling to Vietnam means a vacation full of opportunities to see some incredible sites, sunbathe on the unspoilt white sand beaches, go shopping in the bustling cities, take a few days to go trekking and go explore the many caves of Vietnam. The country is blessed with some of the world’s most spectacular subterranean landscapes and Mother Nature has certainly made her mark here in Vietnam. As for the caves, it’s difficult to describe the beauty and the feeling of entering some of the biggest caves in the world – you just have to go see it for yourself. Here are some of the caves you have to visit when you’re in Vietnam.
1. Son Doong Cave
This cave is like an unexplored world, possessing a unique beauty, a perfect natural cave system and is also the largest cave in the world. It was only discovered in 2010 and opened up for the public in 2013. There’s a limited availability for the treks so make sure you book it well in advance. You have to do a tour if you want to explore the Son Doong Cave. The trek lasts about 2 days and 1 night, where you get the chance to camp inside the cave. Sounds like a pretty cool experience, right? Note that the tours don’t operate all year due to risk of flooding during the monsoon season. Security is the number one priority.
2. Trang An Cave System
Trang An Cave System in Ninh Binh has become a favourite thanks to its natural beauty, landscape and a series of 9 caves, which you can explore by doing a boat trip down the Sao Khe River. The scenery in Ninh Binh is nothing but magnificent and has even been nicknamed as “Halong Bay on Land” due to its similarities. Each of the caves have unique features so make sure that you take the time to visit all of them.
3. Sung Sot Cave
This is one of the finest grottoes of Halong Bay, with 2 chambers which will leave you awestruck. It was first discovered by the French in 1901 and was named “Grotte des Surprises”. Why a surprise? You’ll see when you enter the second chamber. This enormous chamber is home to stalactites, stalagmites and columns which was formed millions of years ago. It’s so big that it can fit one thousand people. To light up the cave, there’s coloured lighting, which gives the caves an even more magical glow. Be ready with your camera here, so you can catch one of Vietnam’s most beautiful caves on film.
4. Tu Lan Cave
This is for the more adventurous type who wants to camp on a beach, swim through underground rivers, go see waterfalls and hike through caves. The Tu Lan cave tour is perfect if you want to go on an organised tour where you’ll get to see 4 caves in a 2 days and trek for over 12 km through the jungle. Unlike the other caves, this is more like a full adventure package where you’ll get to enjoy a tasty BBQ by the bonfire and sleep to the sound of waterfalls. This is a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity that you will regret not doing!
As tourism is increasing each year and Vietnam is welcoming millions of visitors from abroad, it’s becoming even more important to preserve the nature. Leave the place as you found it, don’t litter, be respectful to your surroundings and try to encourage others to do the same. Preservation is key to sustainable tourism.
You’ll need a Vietnam visa in order to enter the country as well. Make sure that you apply for it in good time. If you, however, forget or need a visa more urgently, you can apply for an “Emergency Visa”. There are two online options: Visa on Arrival and E-Visa. The latter is only available for certain countries in the world and is a 30 day, single-entry visa. Applying online is easy, fast and very affordable. You can get the visa within a few days. But if you are planning on arriving to Vietnam with any other means of transportation than flight, you’ll need to go to your nearest Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate and apply for a visa there. The Visa on Arrival is only valid for those who go by air to Vietnam.