Son Doong Expedition – The World’s Largest Cave (Part 2)

Day 2:The best way to explore Hang Son Doong is on foot

For the second day, everyone would be expected to get up at 7 a.m. and eat breakfast at 8 a.m. Sunbeams can only be seen in Hang En between December and the beginning of March, depending on when you plan your expedition. I was fortunate enough to be able to do the Expedition twice a month, allowing me to enjoy the spectacular vista at the optimal time.

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Taken by Hoang Trung, who is on the expedition with me

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The rest of the team left around 9 a.m. to investigate Hang En further via the dry passage. In order to see one of the nicest camps in the world, you need to hike a little to the boulder behind the camp. As you approach the cave's darkness, the guides will ask you to turn on your lights. The tourists keep heading out till they see the daylight, which is the massive Hang En exit. This is where the Hollywood blockbuster Peter Pan takes place. The scene following the statement "Take me to Neverland!" in which the main character discovers the wonderland at Hang En exit door is the most magnificent, opening a magical and beautiful scene. It is about 120 meters high and 110 meters wide. Thousands of Swifts reside here, and at nightfall, the sight of the birds returning to the cave after a day of feeding is breathtaking.

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The whole view looking down to the Hang En camp

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The Exit of Hang En - Taken by Hai Phan

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It's about a 2-kilometer walk down the river from here to the Son Doong entrance. You'll pass through a chilly inlet stream where water from Hang Khe Ry flows out. Hang Khe Ry is Vietnam's longest river channel, stretching 18 kilometers and believed to connect to the Laos border. It was first explored by a caver team in 2012. That could explain why even when Hang En is regular or not very high, this creek can flood. It will have an impact on Son Doong's river crossings. To get to the Son Doong entrance, you'll have to trek about 200 meters upward, and lunch will be served right here.

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Son Doong Entrance

The rest of the team will have some time to relax after lunch. A little lake is reached by an 80-meter-deep entry climb. To get up and down the mountain, tourists must utilize harnesses, cows' tails, and a lifeline, which must always be attached with ropes for safety reasons. The safety team will be there to assist and guide you as you descend. The lake at the bottom is only a small part of the larger body of water. The entrance passage is 80 meters wide and 100 meters high after the initial slope down. The only safe route from here is on the right side of a difficult boulder traverse. The team continues their exploration of the cave's deeper and darker parts where you will meet two River Crossing. The ropes must be placed there always for once again safety reasons. Climbing up to the Boulder, you'll come upon a section known as "Hand of Dog" due to a misunderstanding within the crew in 2010. The name should be ‘‘Hand of God’’. The team will be able to take a break, eat some snacks, and capture the breathtaking scenery. You won't have to worry about lighting for photos because the porters will have high-lumen hope-lights with them.

After about an hour of climbing up and down the boulders, you'll arrive at Son Doong's first camp, which is called "Levels Playing Field" due to the flat terrain. There will be hot coffee and tea waiting for you before you climbing down for seeing the fantastic fossil passage. The fossils here are more than 300 million years old and are called Tetra coral fossils. This is also a nice area to take a bath, and it is always clean throughout the rainy season because the water is filtered and then released from the rock. After a long day of hiking and caving, you'll be itching to get down to the lake. Heaven!!!

Returning to the camp, a delectable dinner awaits you.

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First River Crossing in Son Doong - Taken by Kevin Lee, one of my teammates

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Looking out for Hand of Dog Viewpoint

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Camp 1 in Son Doong - Taken by Hai Phan

Please accept my sincere gratitude for taking the time to read this. I hope you enjoyed this post, and I'm looking forward to sharing the following installments with you.

To be continued…

Enjoy your weekend ahead !!

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