Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh, Vietnam has a long acclaimed reputation for its significant geological values with an enormous collection of karst formations and caves. This site has become even more well-known since the discovery of Son Doong – the world’s largest cave in 2009. Ever since 2013 when the cave was opened for tourists for the very first time, it has become a haunting destination for nature exploration thanks to its one-of-a-kind natural settings. In the following post, helloVietnam will show you the 8 common misconceptions about an expedition to Son Doong Cave that people tend to hold.
Son Doong is the world’s largest cave
Bookings to Son Doong Cave have been full til 2020
Oxalis is the one and only Vietnam local tour operator that is allowed to run an expedition tour to Son Doong Cave. In the past, the expedition would last 6 days and 5 nights but now, the itinerary has been deducted to 4 days and 3 nights, and the number of clients allowed has been increased twice. Recently, the agency has just started to receive bookings for Son Doong expedition in 2019. According to Oxalis, unlike what rumors said, there are still many empty slots left to book.
Travelers need to register soon and wait for up to a year
Son Doong is open for tourists from January to August but bookings are available all year round via the tour operator’s website. In other words, travelers can book a day that suits the availability as well as their working schedule. For example, you can book in September 2018 for a tour that departs in 2019.
You are only able to start your tour right after booking in case there are any sudden cancellations from other travelers.
Majestic natural settings inside the cave
Travelers must undergo a strict medical check before going
According to the cave-exploring experts, Son Doong is not as tough and challenging as people often think. If you are able to walk up 6 flights of stairs without stopping and without getting out of breath or walk confidently on uneven ground, rough trails, and over rocks, Son Doong expedition is absolutely possible to carry out.
The thing that makes Son Doong tour a challenge is that there are some dangerous sections such as climbing the cliffs and stepping down the cave’s entrance. Still, you will be supported by safety equipment to overcome those challenges.
The number of travelers allowed to get there is limited
When registering for a Son Dong expedition tour with helloVietnam, travelers are required to do a questionnaire about health problems to see whether they are physically fit for the trip or not. You will be asked whether you are suffering from any diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, and arthropathy. This is not a strict medical examination but just a way to help the tour operator make a better travel plan and services.
Travelers have to know how to swim
No, you are not required to know to swim when taking a Son Doong expedition because the water level is only up to your knees. Travelers will not need to swim here. Even when you have reached the camping site and would like to swim, you will be equipped with life jackets to prevent any unexpected problems. According to Vietnam travel reviews, visitors do not need to worry as it is not really a serious problem.
Travelers have to carry their own luggage all the way
Indeed, travelers only need to bring along the water, camera, and personal stuff for daily uses. Things like gadgets, safety equipment, food, and other stuff will be carried by porters.
Only foreign travelers can join in
Again, another misconception. Statistics from the tour operator show that the number of Vietnamese travelers has increased each year. Up to now, there have been 220 Vietnamese people taking Son Doong Cave tour in 2018, which accounts for 25% of the total guests. And this number is expected to also rise in 2019.
The camping site
The $ 3,000 USD fee is all for the tour operator
It would cost around $ 3,000USD/person for an expedition in this mysterious cave and this number is divided into smaller parts: 10% VAT, $660 USD for the entrance fee and environmental services, wages for the porters, safety assistants, tour guides, cave experts, chefs, forest rangers. It is estimated that a group of 10 travelers will be accompanied by 22 assistants.
The money is also for transportation, accommodation, food & drinks, and operating and administrating expenses.
There will be no additional expenses
$ 3,000 USD is the tour price only. It does not include the transferring expense to get there. Aside from the tour rates, many foreigners also need to cover the flight tickets, transportation from the airport to Quang Binh, etc. For a Son Doong tour, a traveler is expected to prepare up to US$ 5,000 – 6,000 for the whole trip.
Still, if you see this amount is out of your budget, consider some expeditions offered by helloVietnam tour operator. You will also be able to explore the marvelous settings of caves and streams in Phong Nha – Ke Bang – the home of Son Doong Cave. Rest assured, the beauty of this land will never disappoint you.