Tu Lan Cave System In Quang Binh Vietnam


Tu Lan Cave System is located in the primaeval forest and limestone mountains of Vietnam with an area of ​​more than 650 hectares in Tan Hoa Commune, Minh Hoa District, Quang Binh Province. The area covers 8 different valleys and mountain ranges connected by an underground river and cave system.

The Tu Lan Cave System comprises more than twenty caves and was first explored by the British - Vietnam Caving Expedition Team in 1992. It was surveyed more extensively in 2010 with several subsequent surveys. The system lies outside of the Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park.

Tu Lan is an independent cave system formed by the Rao Nan River, which originates from Thuong Hoa, Trung Hoa, Dan Hoa, Hoa Son and Tan Hoa Communes in Minh Hoa District. The entire system of limestone caves is gathered in the area of Tan Hoa commune, about 70 km northwest of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park along the legendary Ho Chi Minh highway, next to the communal area of Tan Hoa, Minh Hoa District, Quang Binh Province.

Some of the caves in the area were discovered by local people of Tan Hoa many years ago, some other caves have traces of human habitation hundreds of years ago. In 2009, Dinh Hong Nham a local man discovered Tu Lan Cave and the small and large To Mo Caves whilst going in the jungle and fishing at the entrance of the caves. These caves were then widely reported and introduced by the domestic press.

The origins of the name Tu Lan

There are many stories and rumours related to the origin of the name and the history of the name Tu Lan. However, according to the elders of Tan Hoa village, the meaning behind the name Tu Lan Cave System comes from the Nguon language. “Lan” represents the Nan river that flows into Tu Lan Valley.

After going underground, this branch of the river flows into the Tu Lan Cave, which looks from the outside like a tongue sticking out from the mouth of the cave. "Tu" may refer to the form of limestone mountain ranges encircling the valley, stretching far into the distance with magnificent parallel lines.

Most of the caves in this cave system are connected by the same river and this river disappears at the end of Tu Lan Cave therefore the meaning behind the name Tu Lan Cave System is based on this.


Morning: Tan Hoa - Explore Rat Cave

Today you will be picked up between 07:00am to 07:30am at your hotle in Phong Nha. We journey to the Oxalis office which is 70km from Phong Nha. At the office, the guide will give you a short briefing about the trekking itinerary and safety regulations. You will sign the release form RELEASE FORM, and receive the necessary safety equipment.

After the briefing, the group will start walking through the flat corn and peanut fields toward the Rao Nan River. You will cross the river and go up a small slope to get to the entrance of Rat Cave. Here, you will be provided with helmets, headlamps, and safety equipment to explore Rat Cave for about about 300m long.

This cave has many beautiful stalactites and a soaring dome with a unique heart-shaped structure. After the exploration, the group returns to Rao Nan river to climb up the 60m high Baby hill. Crossing the Hung Ton valley to reach the dry passage of Hung Ton Cave.


Afternoon: River Passage of Hung Ton Cave - To Mo Valley - Tan Hoa

Guests will descend a 15-meter ladder with safety harnesses in Hung Ton cave to continue exploring the remaining dry passage of the cave. Here, visitors will have the opportunity to see a fossil of a million-year-old marine species. The group will then move to the water passage of the cave. Customers will be provided with life jackets and start swimming in the underground river of the cave, swimming across a small reef, and at the end of the cave the picturesque To Mo Valley, is awaiting.

Here, you have time to enjoy lunch and swim on the emerald-green stream before swimming through Hung Ton cave to return. The 1-day Tu Lan experience tour ends with crossing the lush green valley and fields. You will return to the Rao Nan River and walk back through the farmland to the waiting vehicle to journey to your hotel at 19:00. (Lunch is included)

We will provide:

Essential gear: caving and safety, basic trekking shoes (size 36-46), meals, water bottle (1L) filter, compost toilet, toilet paper, hand cleaner, guided tour with chef and porter team, shared dry box, first aid and medical rescue equipment, satellite phone

What to take:

- Backpack (20L)

- 1 quick-dry, bright long-sleeved T-shirts

- 1 pair of quick-dry trekking pants

- 1 waterproof jacket (in winter)

- 1 pair of trekking shoes with good drainage

- 1 pairs of calf-length, densely-woven socks

- Mosquito repellent, sunglasses, sun hat, sun scream

The trip cost: $98USD per person for a group of 10 to 12 people maxium

- This tour price includes VAT

- Entrance fee and environment fee

- Management fee and other fees of the national park. The Phong Nha National Park tour includes the following services:

- Service team: tour guide, a safety assistant, and a chef

- A picnic lunch during the trek (excluding extra requests from guests). Dishes follow a fixed menu and vegetarian or vegan dishes are also provided at the request of the guest

- Safety equipment: we will provide safety equipment such as helmets, caving headlamps, gloves and other safety equipment

- Travel insurance: we buy travel insurance for all travelers participating in camping trips with a maximum compensation of VND 10,000,000

Have a great trip!!!