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“Just unbelievable. Needs to be experienced as it can hardly be described!”
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 21 May 2018 via mobile

This is honestly one of the most beautiful and mesmerising places I've ever been - I found myself (and other tour members) just standing and staring at the sites in awe uncountable times during the four day tour. Oxalis made the trip even more so memorable: their professionalism made me feel as safe as can be, and their eye for quality was suberb (oh my god the food...).

We hesitated at first to book the tour as it is quite pricey, however we don't regret even an inch that we did it in the end. This is definitely a trip I'll still talk about for many years to come. Anyone out there who is hesitating: put it at the top of your list and just do it!

Note though that this tour needs to be pre-booked online, it is not (yet?) available for last-minute booking in Phong Nha.

The Oxalis packing list was quite helpful, I was very happy with my smartwool socks and salomon speedcross shoes, which had a good grip on the often very slippery rocks. Quick drying clothes are a must and will make your trip all the more comfortable. Other things I was happy to have with me was my sweatband to keep the sweat out of my eyes, and the card games we brought to enjoy the cave camping evenings with fellow group members. 

Beforehand, I was slightly worried that the hot climate would be an issue for me - knowing that I get overheated and dehydrated easily in hot tropical weather. I filled my 1-l water bottle each morning with ORS powder to keep hydrated well which was very helpful, and luckily inside the cave the temperature dropped somewhat to a more agreeable level. The physical activity itself was not an issue for any of our tour members; I think that with reasonable fitness and relatively strong legs the tour is very doable. We trained with a few multiday mountain tracks over two months prior to the tour and this was sufficient for us. The most strenuous activity of the whole tour I'd say is climbing the great wall at the end, however this is quite doable too since it requires only about 5-10 minutes of your strength ;-).

Ah man just writing this review makes me want to go again!

3  Thank Kim J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 14 May 2018

I highly recommend the Son Doong Cave Experience with Oxalis. This is one of my most memorable trips I have ever taken, the pictures are unbelievable, and the staff & guides are tremendous!

1  Thank Jarod Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 May 2018

If you are on the fence, just go!! Just got back to the States from Asia and was on the April 17 trek to Son Doong Cave. My friend and I wanted to do something out of our comfort zones and this was definitely it in the best way possible. It was the highlight of our 3 1/2 week trip through Asia, and we felt empowered when we finished. We were both scared about the physical demands of the trek prior to departure, and for me it was certainly a physical and even mental challenge at times, but the guides really help you through every step of the way. They really do. Dang was an excellent guide, and I felt completely safe the whole time with him watching out for me. If you are on the trek and feel like you need some extra attention helping you through, a guide will be there for you. We would not have been able to do it without Dang. Out of the group of 10, my friend and I were probably the slowest, but it really didn't matter. It wasn't about racing, we just went at our own pace and arrived when we arrived. I got the Solomon shoes they recommended and I thought they did the job - I didn't get any blisters and my feet didn't hurt. There are some slippery parts, and I can't say whether a different shoe would have had better grip, but 5 our of the 10 people on our trek had the solomon shoes. I did get a leech and it wasn't that big of a deal, and if nothing else I now have the bragging rights, haha! I also got sick on the last day of the trip, and I really felt like I was taken care of. Who knows the cause: new foods, new environment, etc, but it was certainly mitigated by the fact that the guides really attended to me to give me everything I needed, and it didn't diminish my experience in the slightest. The food is really good, so be prepared to eat! The only food item that I didn't care for was the french toast that I had one morning, but the pancakes (they are crepes) are amazing. One thing I wish I had was a clear pouch to hang around my neck to put my iPhone in. Every time I wanted to take a photo, I had to take it out of my backpack, and it would have been easier if I just had something around my neck for easy access. Remember to bring up backup batteries for charging your phone at night -- you will want to take a lot of pictures, and my phone was down to less than 10% every night. If you are already signed up for the trek, you are going to have an amazing time, and feel free to message me with any questions!

6  Thank tap1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 May 2018

If you're not sure whether you want to do this, but you like any of:

hiking
camping
one-of-a-kind experiences

Then just do it. You don't need to be an elite athlete, you just need to be in reasonable shape. If you work out and regularly do physical activity and are in decent shape, you'll be fine.

The cave is absolutely amazing, the experience is unique, and you will not regret it.

3  Thank Jon S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 April 2018

This is an email I sent the Soong Dong represenative after she asked me how my trip went.
As far as the cave and all of the nature that I I experienced whilst on the expedition those aspects were phenomenal! I just had an issue with the amount of cigarette smoking there was. We had one smoker in our group, 1 out of 10! And he was a chain smoker. Any time we stopped for a break he was smoking. Before and after dinner or lunch or any type of break he was smoking, In the outside bush this was annoying but not horrible. But inside the caves, it was terrible as the smoke seemed to linger all around us! All of us. Cigarette smoke including second hand smoke has been shown to cause cancer plus I am super sensitive to it, I was breaking out in hives the entire trip! Now not only did he smoke, but almost if not all of the porters did as well! Which made it very hard to escape the toxic smell and affects! Being that we were roped off to certain areas. I pretty much spent the entire time in camp in my tent unable to enjoy the company of anyone outside the tent! As I did not want to inhale the cigarette smoke. And inside my tent I was still not 100% protected from it! I paid 3 grand for a trip that I felt as if my lungs were on fire the entire time.
Which leaves me to my second point! The food is cooked with propane! And the porters are not very far from the tanks at all whilst they are smoking! This is not only a fire hazard but also an explosive hazard! I made it known to Watter and 7 on numerous occasions that I wish I could enjoy just a moment in camp and or resting periods without having to inhale cigarette smoke! And no one ever mentioned it to the smokers, ever! I am very upset that I spent that amount of money on something that I could not enjoy due to other people’s bad habits!
So, if I had known that their was not a non smoking stipulation on the expedition, or at the very least a designated area far away from the non smokers I would not have went, period! That is why I am writing this review, as to give the non smokers out there a heads up! You might think, now how bad could the cigarette smoke be in the largest cave in the world? Well, when you have twenty porters smoking here and there not even in one area or at the same time, on the camp periphery, (Which you are not allowed to go beyond) and a guest smoking at the one gathering area that they provide at each camp site, it can be very overwhelming. As I mentioned the smoke lingers inside a cave it does not dissipate, I am sure their is some scientific reason for this!

26  Thank greeneyedgrl1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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