The Kingdom of Caves Quang Binh in Central Vietnam has never stopped stunning visitors with spectacular caves – Phong Nha, Paradise, Tien Son, En, Nuoc Nut, Va and the World’s biggest cave Son Doong (Mountain River Cave). Joining an adventure tour or expedition through the caves is an exciting experience one must try once in a lifetime, and conquering Hang Son Doong is the desire of many people around the world. And me, a travel addict has put it in the top destinations list to explore before I die.
Back from Hang Va Expedition last month, I still haven’t found my lost soul since seeing the magnificent stalagmites in the cave. And just last weekend, I had another great chance to get back to Phong Nha Ke Bang to explore Dark Cave with a two-day and one-night expedition via an invitation from Phong Nha Ke Bang Tourism Center. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be there, inside the cave, staring at every single piece of the natural work along the 6-kilometer length of Dark Cave.
The expedition is for two days and one night, including trekking through the jungle and going through 6 km length of Dark Cave. To join this tour, visitors should have good health, basic swimming & climbing skills and, surely, the bravery.
There were 23 people in the expedition group, tour guide Mr. Tai, Tourism Center Leader Mr. Tho, the porters and 12 visitors. On the first day, we trekked through a very untouched jungle at Sinh Ton Valley. We had great opportunities to see the most beautiful natural lake in Hang Thuy Cung (Aquarium Cave), the marvelous sky gate carved and eroded by strong flow of flood water in rainy seasons after hundreds of millions of years (the name “Sky Gate” was given by Howard Limbert – a British cave expert, as the tour guide said).
On the second day, the more exciting day of the trip, we had to conquer ourselves by going through Dark Cave with all kinds of adventurous terrains. That included swimming nearly 2 km in the underground river, wading in sticky deep mud and climbing sharp big rocks in the cave for the rest 4 kilometers of the cave.
After such efforts, the stunning stalactites, stalagmites, the unique stone flower garden, the spectacular sharp rocks as well as all natural awesome formations inside the Dark Cave are deserving rewards for the brave explorers.
The feeling of seeing “the light at the end of the tunnel” at the front entrance of Dark Cave (as we entered the cave from the back entrance) brought about the extreme happiness for us, not only because we saw the daylight after 6 hours in darkness, but also because of the triumph for those who dare to take risks.
Phong Nha Ke Bang Tourism Center has done their best to make Dark Cave Expedition a great success for visitors. Necessary trekking costumes – clothes, shoes, socks, gloves, helmet, headlamp, harness, tents, sleeping bags as well as food & drinks for two days and one night were very well prepared and served.
Without the supports from active tour guides, hard-working porters, talented safety expert and considerate leader from Phong Nha Ke Bang Tourism Center, we could not capture unforgettable memories in our mind and in the rest of our life. And we, with few skills of trekking, climbing mountains and swimming, but brave spirits, have become successful conquerors of 6-km length Dark Cave.