The big Indochina trip: caving in Phong Nha 

Phong Nha national park is home to the largest cave in the world, Hang Son Doong. It would be extremely cool to go there but it takes seven days and costs 3000 USD per person which is just not feasible for me right now. There are plenty of other caves in the area however, and I visited two of them.

The Dark Cave is set up as an adventure, they kit you out with a life jacket, a hard hat with a light on it and a climbing harness then send you off with a guide. The trip starys with a zip line across the river, then you swim the last few meters to the entrance. From there, there is boardwalk a few hundred meters into the cave. When the boardwalk ends you have to swim a bit further into the cave before the guide takes you through a narrow, muddy side passage. At the end there is a pool where the water is so saturated with mud that you kind of float on top of it. I could actually lie on my stomach with both hands and feet out of the water. The feeling is something like a mix between flying and lying on an extremely soft bed…if that makes any sense. Once you get out of the cave you paddle a kayak back to the starting point where you can keep swimming if you want. It’s a very special experience,  and while it is slightly expensive it’s worth every penny.  Because of the swimming I was unable to bring a camera so no photos. 

After the dark cave I also visited Paradise cave. They have set up boardwalks and plenty of electric lights inside so you can walk through at your leisure. On one hand it’s pretty touristic but on the other hand it allows you to see all the stalagtites and stalagmites in all their splendor. Not as special as the dark cave but well worth a visit none the less. 

Entering the cave

Stalagtites and stalagmites

Further into the cave 

More stalagtite and stalagmites

On the way out

The national park is gorgeous and there are plenty of things to see but the two caves took most of the day. Tomorrow I will keep exploring the park.

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