cave tours and bookings
a little more adventurous
rental car (with driver)
frequently asked questions
Are tours running despite Covid-19?
So far, Vietnam has been able to control the outbreak within the country fairly well. Yet, Covid-19 indeed had and still has a dramatic impact on the local tourism industry. There have been periods of total lockdowns and periods when tours were running regularly.
Despite the difficult times, many operators also currently offer discounts. Once you request a booking with us, we will come back to you via e-mail on availability and confirmation of (reduced) prices.
I requested a booking on your website, what happens then?
If you have filled out and sent a booking request to us via our website, we will come back to you via e-mail as soon as possible and confirm availability and price with you. We kindly ask you to pass by the tree hugger (at 30 Nguyen Du, Dong Hoi) to settle the payment at least one day before your tour starts. If you cannot make it, please, let us know in advance.
Shall I book a tour or go around by myself?
We don´t really have a clear answer to this as it depends on several things: the weather, the money you are willing to spend, the number of people you are going with, the time you got, what you want to see etc.
Generally, the prices of the tours are good value, considering what is included (such as the entrance fees of the caves, entrance fees for the National Park, lunch, guide, sometimes porters etc.). Yet, if you are a group of people, it might be worth to rent motorbikes or a car with a driver and get around the Park at your own pace. It´s a nice drive, too.
If you are by yourself, or are not an experienced motorbike driver, or want to experience some of the less common visited caves with a little adventure and/or trekking, then a tour would be a better option. A number of operators hold licenses for the visitation of specific routes/caves.
Where can I book a tour?
The tours described here can all be booked with the Tree Hugger (just follow the provided links or come by to see us) or directly with the operators. Depending on where you stay overnight, most guesthouses/hotels also provide booking information.
What is usually included in the price of the tours?
Depending on what kind of tour you are booking and with what operator you are going with, included are e.g.: the transport (either from Dong Hoi or from Phong Nha), an English speaking tour guide, lunch, entrance tickets, other transportation within the tour (e.g. boat or golf buggy), drinking water, and wet tissues. For trekking tours, other things may come on top of this like: shoes/ sandals, porters, other meals/snacks, other trekking equipment, a National Park entrance fee (for treks) etc.
Are tours available all year round?
Tours to the caves are running weather-permitting, especially in the rainy season and in the winter (between around late August and the end of January).
Some of the tours are running daily while others have certain departure days in the week.
What are the booking conditions/cancellation policies?
The Tree Hugger books tours, but rights, cancellation policies and responsibilities for the tours are set by the operators. Booking conditions and cancellation policies may vary from operator to operator. You may ask us for advice, but for specific questions, please refer to the operators directly.
How does it work, if I like to book a tour with the Tree Hugger?
Please, fill out the booking request form provided on this website or give us a call. Depending on the tour/operator you chose to go with, different information is needed (e.g. route, date, names of participants, dietary needs etc.). We will then confirm availability of your tour.
Payments are placed with us after the reservation was made. We accept cash and credit cards. Please, see us at Tree Hugger, 30 Nguyen Du, one day before the start of your tour. If you cannot make it to us before, please, tell us in advance.
What do I need to take along for a daily tour?
Camera (make sure to carry something for water protection; for overnight tours or tours where rivers are crossed, water-proof boxes are offered), closed shoes for comfortable walking (for trekking tours plastic sandals with good grip can be provided, Oxalis and Jungle Boss also offer simple trekking shoes for sizes 36-45), swimming wear and a towel (if swimming is involved), repellent, hat/sun glasses, sunscreen, long sleeved shirts/long pants, and sometimes a towel.
What do I need to take along for an overnight tour?
Camera (for trekking tours, water-proof boxes are offered), closed shoes for comfortable walking (for trekking tours, plastic sandals with good grip can be provided, Oxalis and Jungle Boss also offer simple trekking shoes for sizes 36-45), swimming wear and a towel (if swimming is involved), repellent, hat/sun glasses, sunscreen, long sleeved shirts/long pants, 1 pair of long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, maybe shorts and shirt/sweater to wear at campsite, towel, toiletries, other personal items.
For tours taken with Oxalis, the operator provides an extensive Q &A list on what to bring along on the tour as well as what to expect of the tours in detail on their website oxalis.com.vn
What makes the tours a little pricier?
Indeed, it´s part of the business, but there are also further reasons ;): Generally, the entrance prices are fairly high for the single sites, so the price adds up also for an organized tour. For adventure/trekking tours which take place within the National Park grounds, specific licenses have to be obtained and paid for by the operators. In addition to that, operators are charged by the National Park for every visitor accessing treks within the National Park forest. Depending on the zone of the Park, these fees can vary from around 10$-660US$ per person.
Some of the caves, such as the Tu Lan Cave System are outside the National Park borders, but they are not within easy reach and it needs a lot to set up and maintain the trekking routes.
For trekking tours, there is also a lot that needs to be organized, such as food supplies, equipment, porters, maintenance of trails a.s.o. :).
Is there a minimum/maximum amount of participants in a tour?
Most of the tours require participation of 2-4 people which is usually not an issue ;). For more common/classic tours, the maximum number of participants would depend on the size of the transporter (~14 people + 1 guide). If the number of participants is rising, another transporter or small bus with another guide would be made available. In the shoulder or low season, you may often find only a few people joining.
For trekking tours, the number of participants is limited. Depending on the tour, this limit is between 8-16 people for a tour. The tours can easily be booked out in the summer time, so make sure to plan ahead ;).
Most of the operators also offer private tours. Please, ask us.
Is there a minimum/maximum age for participation in the tours?
There are no age limits for the more 'common’ caves. It is also a matter of fitness: Phong Nha Cave would be the easiest to access; Paradise Cave involves walking up and down (stairs and/or a serpentine path). Dark Cave requires swimming and a certain courage to cross the river either by zipline or by kayak. Commonly, the caves are unfortunately not really prepared for people with walking disabilities :/. Operators of trekking tours set a minimum age between 8-16 years depending on the tour.
What tour is suitable for children?
Depending on the age of the child/children, the best tour to explore the Park would probably be the classic Phong Nha Cave - Paradise Cave one. There are discounts for children available depending on their height. If they are over height limits then it might even be worth for you to rent a car with a driver to visit. As an example, for National Park Tours 1-3, the following applies:
· Children under 6 years (under 0.9m): free of charge
· Children between 6-10 (between 0.9-1.3m): 50% discount
· Children older than 10 (taller than 1.3m): full price