Descending into the pitch black caves of Tu Lan


If there is any other place in the world that hides the beauty and splendor of nature like the depths of the ocean, then it would be caves. By talking about caves, people will think of Phong Nha – Ke Bang System – Kingdom of Cave and the famous Son Doong Cave which impressed the world through the TV program “Good Morning America” in 2015. However, rarely does anyone mention about Tu Lan Cave. Breathtaking, intricate, and massive, Tu Lan has an infinity of majesty to share explorers and adventure enthusiasts.

Descending into the pitch black caves of Tu Lan

Officially discovered in 2009, but it was not until 2011, when a picture by Carsten Peter of the Ken Cave’s glowing green pools won National Geographic’s Photograph of the Year, Tu Lan Caves gained attention of travelers. Even though tourism has grown steadily, but the caves, nestled near the Laos border, around 70 kilometres northwest of Phong Nha, remain wonderfully untouched, attracting only about 2,000 visitors each year. For now, Tu Lan might not be the largest system, but the number of caves continues to increase as more are discovered seemingly every year.

Descending into the pitch black caves of Tu Lan

Descending into the pitch black caves of Tu Lan

Tu Lan caves were created by acidic rain and yearly floods which washed the calcite out of the rocks, leaving behind cavemous spaces. For that reason, most of Tu Lan Caves contain large rivers, and the only way to “trek” is to strap on a life jacket, swim then drift slowly through the rivers with your head-lamps cutting through the pitch darkness. The atmosphere is always extremely quiet, the blackness so impenetrable and the only sound you could hear is squeaky echo of bats.

Descending into the pitch black caves of Tu Lan

When getting deeper, the caves’ structures really come into bloom. To your ultimate wonderment, you will see forests of columns that rise in all different shapes and sizes, shimmering with gold, white and silver minerals. Next, you have to crawl between spaces tight enough for your backpacks to fit, venture through shafts as large as a five-storey building then climb atop structures for priceless views. And now, in the end of the Tu Lan journey which may well included in our  Vietnam tour packages, all the things you need to do is to turn off your headlamps, sit in silence and flare all senses to fully absorb such a wonder of nature.

Descending into the pitch black caves of Tu Lan

Descending into the pitch black caves of Tu Lan
Descending into the pitch black caves of Tu Lan

Descending into the pitch black caves of Tu Lan

“Trekking” in Tu Lan Caves is really not like eating a piece of cake. Unlike Phong Nha – Ke Bang Caves, Tu Lan is located in quite a low area and included many large intricating rivers. Therefore, in order to include Tu Lan into your Vietnam tour packages, you will be subjected to a decent of walking, swimming, climb over steep slopes and even rappelling. The toll for a great trek is paid in sweat. Sore calves and aching quads are your badges of honour. And most importantly, you can witness the most untouched pristine and jaw-dropping scenery on earth. The reward is quite immense.

Descending into the pitch black caves of Tu Lan

Descending into the pitch black caves of Tu Lan
Descending into the pitch black caves of Tu Lan
Descending into the pitch black caves of Tu Lan

Descending into the pitch black caves of Tu Lan

As a conclusion, the absence of people, hawkers noise pollution and all other things make Tu Lan Cave System much more intoxicating and amazing in comparison to several tourist sites in Vietnam. Moreover, give yourself at least a little pre-trip training or good basic level of fitness before taking Vietnam tour packages, because trekking is never an easy work.

Descending into the pitch black caves of Tu Lan
(Photo from Kenh14.vn)