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“Drop Whatever You Are Doing - GO TO SON DOONG CAVE NOW !!!!!!!”
Review of Son Doong Cave

Son Doong Cave
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Son Doong Cave is in the heart of the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province. This incredible cave was only explored in 2009/2010 by the British Cave Research Association. Situated in the deep jungle, the entrance to the cave was found by a local jungle man Mr Ho Khanh. Son Doong Cave is now the largest cave in the world and has understandably been the attention of many film companies such as the BBC, National Geographic, Japanese and Brazilian teams. It also featured in National Geographic Magazine in 2011. Son Doong cave is unlike any other caves on the planet. Inside this giant cave are two huge daylight windows which allows the light to enter many parts of the cave. At the base of these windows are large jungles which use the available light and so trees up to 30m tall are present. But Son Doong is not only about its immense size, the cave has amazing examples of some of the best speleothems in the world. Giant stalagmites up to 80m high and enormous rimstone pools are present throughout the cave. There are also excellent examples of giant cave pearls and a newly discovered side passage is full of large fossils over 300 million years old. As well as rare species of plants in the cave a number of new species of animals have recently been discovered. Monkeys, hornbills and flying foxes have all been seen in the jungle section of the caves.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed 7 December 2017

Okay everyone, this should be #1 on everyone's bucket list. Whatever your thoughts, expectations, or concept of how incredible this experience may be, it will be exceeded ten-fold. This is truly one in a once in a lifetime experience that very few will have the chance to experience. The Cave is truly spectacular. The pictures you can research on the WEB are incredible but pale in comparison to being there. We had Deb and Ken as our guides. Not only did they make the challenging journey a joy, but were beyond knowledgeable of everything Son Doong. The entire safety staff was there to assist whenever needed. The entire support crew, from porters to cooks provided for any and every need you could possibly think of. The food, or should I say "cuisine" was delicious and plentiful.

Hints: follow all preparation and equipment recommendations. Do not fool around or get "cheap" or overly frugal. Footwear is by far the most important item on the list - take it seriously. If you have any questions or concerns email Mo (her assistance is invaluable - love her). Travel light and lightweight - get quality "stuff". For me practicing Bouldering is much more valuable than technical climbing. Cardio - the Stairmaster will not only get in condition but build strength as well - use it often. Best recommendation I have is getting some brand of electrolyte tablets - we used Hammar brand. The powders are not practical in the cave. The tablets were fantastic and easy.

The Journey: the Cave is Humongous. I mean really Humongous. No claustrophobia here. The cave is expansive and full of wonders. The views from everywhere are breathtaking. Be prepared for the incredible photo opportunities. The guides know all of them and will help you take great photos. Make friends with those with the better cameras - and find a way to bring a good one yourself - well worth it. Ask questions and learn the history of the cave. Learn about Dolines, Cave Pearls, Flying Foxes, Swift Birds, Stalagtites and Stalagmites. Be prepared to be fascinated at every turn.

Challenges: Okay I will be honest I had "Great Wall" anxiety from the moment I signed up and paid. There was a part of me that was hoping the cave would be closed or flooded when I arrived because in general I don't like heights and was "concerned". Let me put your fears aside. You can and will be able to climb the Great Wall of Vietnam. The three days leading up to it will 100% prepare you to accomplish it. The guides are experts and supportive. It happens so quick you'll forget about your worries before you have time to worry.

Recommendation - take a lot of photos of the hike itself - not just the scenery of the cave. We didn't and regret it. Especially the hike out of the cave to the final pick up point; the trail was remarkable and indescribable - afterwards you'll never be able to explain just what you accomplished without the photos of the journey itself.

This is truly a once in a lifetime journey - we've done a lot of famous hike - Machu Picchu, etc. - this is by far the most unusual exciting adventure we've ever done. I could not recommend anything more to the adventure traveler. Although the cost may seem "pricey" - the truth is that it is remarkably inexpensive for what you get and the lasting memories it will leave.

21  Thank Paul C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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23 - 27 of 117 reviews

Reviewed 17 August 2017

This trip is really really hard so you have to train yourself well before taking. There's so much to talk about Son Doong itself, biggest cave in the world, stunning views of stalactite and stalacmite, jungles inside 2 dolines, cave pearls, the great wall of Vietnam, etc. Oxalis does a perfect job in tour organizing, which will guarantee anyone unforgetable experiences and challenges. Must-take trip for everyone.

20  Thank Ama A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2017

I went this caves with other friends three months ago. That is really huge caves and beautiful. You will never regret once you be here!

1  Thank NamLonghotel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2017 via mobile

My tour of Son Doong started with a full course lunch at the well- landscaped restaurant adjoining the loading area for the motorized bancas bound for the caves.

Lunch , though late due to our leisurely road trip schedule, was delicious and was more than enough for my healthy appetite.

The banca ride to the caves was pleasant with fascinating views of the fisherfolk and the hillside with seemingly limestone trees "growing" leaves! As photos speak louder than words, a few photos have been attached to this review. These photos include shots of the mouth of Son Doong caves and of some of the awe-inspiring stalactites/stalagmites (and there are hundreds more of these magnificent natural creations! A photo buffs paradise!)

Suffice to say, photos can give the viewer an idea of why I use the adjective "awe inspiring" but only an actual view of, and experience inside the Son Doong caves, will justify the use of such adjective and provide the visitor with his fill of Nature Appreciation/Admiration, to last his lifetime.

13  Thank BenMa R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 12 July 2017 via mobile

I see a few reviews about the price (some from people who didn't even do it? Why do you get to review this cave if you haven't gone...) and yes it IS pricey. This is a trip you have to save for and make some sacrifices to be able to go. and I will say that it is not great that it is unaffordable for most Vietnamese, which is my only criticism of the entire operation/setup between the government and Oxalis in terms of exclusivity.

However, it is an incredible incredible experience and the company does a LOT to create a thrilling, enjoyable and SAFE experience for those that go in. There are no trails and a lot of dangerous parts to this trek. And when your body is pushed to the limit everyday, you really appreciate all that the porters and guides do to help setup camp and make sure you're watered and fed and healthy while in the cave. Sorry, but that all takes a lot of money to operate and at the very least you should know that the company employs hundreds of locals and some of your money is directly helping to raise the living standards of many families in that area.

Some tips:

Yes you should be somewhat physically fit. Make sure your body is at least capable of rock climbing, endurance hikes, sustained cardio and then the rest is mental.

Don't forget the talcum powder.

Yes people get leeches, but it's no big deal. Overall, it's probably best you get over your fear of bugs. Oh and snakes. We saw a west corral?snake in the cave that was pretty dangerous..

Don't spend too much on shoes. Good hiking boots will do (my partner bought some last minute North Fakes and they worked great).

Everything gets wet so having clean underwear and socks everyday was so worth it. But overall, pack less than you think you need. Quick dry clothes and things are awesome if you're prioritizing what to buy/pack.

Honestly I preferred long sleeves (and I went in June!) because it kept me cooler, protected against sun and bugs, and offered handy sleeves for wiping sweat, etc.

If you bring biodegradable soap, everyone will be your best friend haha.

Bring candies or pencils or something small for the village you stop at on the first day. You don't have to but it's a nice thing to do.

Bring rehydration tablets so you don't cramp up at inconvenient times.

The last day involves a really tough sustained climb back up to the road. I brought headphones and played music, which made it bearable and gives you mental energy.

I found that by the end of the first day I was already really sore and that my core strength was shaky, I wish I had brought some Advil or muscle rub, maybe tiger balm, to give my body a way to recover faster at night between days. By day 5, I swear I was walking on toothpicks.

Come with an open mind, a flexible attitude, your sense of adventure and an appreciation for beauty (although that last won't be hard to do ;).

48  Thank Shivani B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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