Looking for extra information about Hang En Cave? You found it!
One night and two days in the third biggest cave in the world, you're on the right page if you'd like to know more about it! We'll tell you about the experience within Hang En Cave, give you a short history lesson, provide information about the size and geology of the cave and last but not least: tell you about Ban Doong, the nearest ethnic minority village in the cave area.
Experiencing Hang En Cave
Entering Hang En through a broad slit in the cliff, you wander through the mystical passageway towards monstrous boulders. The trail weaves its way to a high point as penetrating sunlight illuminates the way forward. Climbing over one last peak rewards you with the breathtaking view of your night’s campsite – A wide, sandy beach fringing an aquamarine lake completely engulfed by the enormous cave. The massive chamber is not the end however, as another narrow passage takes you to the backside of Hang En. The ceiling reaches dizzying heights as you scramble up a large rocky outcrop to lay eyes upon the most surreal scene of the entire journey – The immense arched exit of the cave, its colossal size defying your perception of possibility.
History of Hang En Cave
Meaning ‘swift’ cave after the millions of swifts that in habit the chamber, Hang En was first explored by British caving experts in 1994, although its location has been know for centuries. Ethnic minorities from nearby villages, such as the Bru Van Kieu of Ban Doong, have used Hang En as a shelter during strong storms and as a hunting ground for local free climbers, who would scale the inverted walls to collect the nesting swifts to be eaten as a delicacy. Ho Khanh, who discovered Hang Son Doong in 1990, explored Hang En countless times during his extensive forays into the jungle. These days the most accessible entrance to Son Doong passes directly through Hang En.
Geology and size
The 3 million year old wet cave was carved out by the powerful Rao Thuong River as it cuts its way through the Annamite Mountains. While the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park contains the oldest karst system in Asia, between 400-450 million years old, Hang En owes its relatively young age thanks to its location on the edge of a fault zone. Every wet season the Rao Thuong floods to inconceivable heights, constantly eroding more and more of the limestone away as the cave continues to grow in size. Currently considered to be the third largest cave in the world, Hang En stretches for over 2km into the karsts of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. There are three entrances to Hang En, with the largest and most famous one being over 120m tall and 140m across. With the dense jungle forming the backdrop on the outside the cave, it is a sight that must really be seen to be believed. In some sections, the chambers are 100m high and 180m wide, so vast that even the beams from powerful headlamps barely reach the edges of the walls.
Ban Doong ethnic village
To reach Hang En Cave, adventurers must first pass through the Ban Doong ethnic minority village. The only village located inside the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, less than 40 people makes up the population of Ban Doong. Life is tough for the minority people here, due to their isolation from the outside world. Access is only possible by foot, and the dense jungles surrounding Ban Doong prohibit the cultivation of most crops. The discovery of Hang Son Doong and the subsequent expeditions that now pass through the village have seen new opportunities arise for the community, who now can earn extra income by working closely with Oxalis to protect the conservation of the area. For many people, being able to visit Ban Doong and meet its welcoming villagers becomes a highlight of their trip. Ban Doong offers a view of way of life that has been unchanged for centuries.
2 days & 1 night starts from $ 285 | $ 142 per day
All incl. transfers + fees + camping gear + safety gear + porters + guide + trekking + meals
Come and explore Hang En Cave located within the Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, and spend one night in its massive chamber below thousands of darting swifts. We offer 3-4 departures per week but places fill up quickly so please book in advance!