From a war-ravaged nation of the late seventies to a country with one of the highest economic growths in the world, Vietnam has undergone a complete makeover, resulting in a steady increase in tourism. Visitors are drawn by the unspoilt beaches, river tours, the city destinations of Hanoi and Saigon, the old imperial capital of Hue, and World Heritage Sites such as Hoi An and the Cham temples of Mỹ Sơn, amongst others.
However, for those looking for an adventure holiday in Vietnam with a challenge and an opportunity to do something different, why not head for the Phong Nha–Ke Bang National Park, in the Annamite Mountains of Central Vietnam? The park is riddled with a network of over 150 karst caves.
Many of the giant caves are open to the public, including the Tien Son, which has amazing stalagmites resembling wax-drip sculptures, and the cave which gives the park its name, the Phong Nha or the ‘Cave of Teeth’.
Indie types who are attracted to these spectacular Phong Nha caves can sign up for a day trip from Hue through Viet Vision Travel (www.vietvisiontravel.com). You’re advised to take a flashlight as not all the caves have electric lights.
Admission to the Phong Nha–Ke Bang National Park is issued by the Phong Nha Reception Department in the village of Son Trach. Boat transfer is the only way to access the nearby Phong Nha cave and is included in the price.