Today your adventure will begin proper, after taking a further one-hour transfer to the town of Phong Nha where you will enjoy breakfast before setting out to explore the nearby Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
Your discovery of the park will begin with a one-hour drive down the historic road named Victory Route 20. The road was built by volunteers during the Vietnam War and was part of the legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Along the road you’ll pass a primate preserve, a conservation project that offers sanctuary to several species of monkey and ape including two types of langur. The primates are naturally shy and seldom seen, especially in daylight, but keep your eyes peeled and you may just get a lucky glimpse of one or hear their calls during dawn and dusk when they are more active.
After starting your 4km trek, your first stop will be at Hang Tam Co (nicknamed ‘Eight-lady Cave’), a cave that has been preserved as a memorial for the eight Vietnamese soldiers that died trapped in the cave during a bombing raid in the war.
You’ll then move to Paradise Cave, known as Hang Thien Duong to locals. Paradise Cave is one of the largest currently open to visitors in the picturesque National Park. Discovered in 2005, the 31km long cave is jaw-droppingly impressive and after climbing several hundred stairs to the entrance you’ll be treated to sensational views of the spectacular rock formations along a 1km wooden walkway.
Once you’ve soaked up the breathtaking views of stalactites and stalagmites inside the well-lit cave you’ll then take lunch at a small local café.
In the afternoon you’ll go to visit Nuoc Mooc Springs, which originates in a nearby underground cave. The water that emerges is usually a striking light blue and is a steady 66F (18.8Â°C). On your walk you’ll cross bamboo bridges and large rocks as you make your way to a refreshing swimming hole or, if you prefer, you can trek to Hang Toi (Dark Cave), a small but impressive cave.
Later in the evening as the sun sets, you will be taken by your guide to investigate Phong Nha cave, a vast cave that gives its name to the park in which it rests. The 7,729m long cave contains 14 grottos and has an underground river running beneath and through it.
You’ll be able to kayak through the cave (or travel by a larger wooden boat if you prefer) equipped with a head lamp to discover the spectacular rock formations that have been shaped by the Chay River. Along the way you’ll make two brief stops to walk in dry areas of the cave to see the glittery nooks and crannies of the grottos more closely.
After you’ve fully explored the natural wonder of the cave you’ll paddle back to the banks of the river to enjoy a barbecue under the clear night sky before retiring to your accommodation for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Total trekking time today: 4km
Overnight in Phong Nha
Meals included on this day: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner