Hang En Cave Chronicles: Where Nature Paints Its Sublime Murals

Hang En Cave, also known as Swallow Cave, is a captivating destination in Quang Binh, Vietnam. Its significance as a tourist hotspot is underscored by global recognition in media outlets like National Geographic and The New York Times. Featured in the movie “Pan – Welcome to Neverland,” Hang En has been operational for adventure tourism since 2012, managed exclusively by Oxalis.

See more: Unveiling Vietnam’s Natural Masterpieces

Hang En Cave: Location and Access

Embarking on a journey through the enchanting landscapes of Vietnam, explorers find themselves drawn to the captivating allure of Hang En Cave. Nestled in the heart of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province, Hang En stands as an extraordinary geological wonder, waiting to be explored.

Hang En Cave
Hang En Cave – Source: Collected

Overview of Hang En Cave

Hang En Cave is situated within the picturesque expanse of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site nestled in Quang Binh province. Quang Binh, located in central Vietnam, is renowned for its stunning karst landscapes, intricate cave systems, and lush biodiversity. Hang En, boasting a length of 1,645 meters, is positioned as the third-largest cave in the world, following the renowned Son Doong cave and Deer cave in Malaysia.

To pinpoint the exact location of Hang En Cave on the map, one needs to navigate to the central area of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park. This cave, with its awe-inspiring dimensions of 100 meters in height and 170 meters in width, stands as a testament to the geological marvels that grace the region. The coordinates of Hang En etch a remarkable chapter in the limestone mountains, forming a crucial part of the world’s oldest limestone mountain system.

Nature in the Cave
Nature in the Cave – Source: Collected

Embarking on a journey to Hang En Cave involves strategic planning, especially for those traveling from major cities in Vietnam. For air travelers, Dong Hoi Airport in Quang Binh serves as the nearest gateway. Daily domestic flights from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City to Dong Hoi provide convenient access to the region. Renowned airlines like Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Jetstar Pacific, and Bamboo Airways operate these domestic flights.

For those who prefer a scenic journey, a night train from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City to Dong Hoi presents an immersive experience. Upon reaching Dong Hoi, visitors can seamlessly proceed with ground transportation to Phong Nha, the gateway to Hang En Cave.

Phong Nha’s unique blend of natural wonders and cultural richness makes it a destination that captivates the hearts of travelers.

Transportation Options to Get to Hang En Cave

Once in Phong Nha, the adventure to Hang En continues with various transportation options, offering flexibility to travelers based on their preferences and schedules.

  • Airplane: Travelers can opt for domestic flights from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City to Dong Hoi. These flights, operated by reputable airlines, offer a quick and efficient mode of transportation to the region.
  • Train: Night trains departing from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City provide a unique and relaxing travel experience. The journey includes a stop at Dong Hoi station, from where visitors can proceed to Phong Nha by bus or taxi.
  • Self-Drive or Motorbike: For those seeking a more personalized and scenic journey, traveling by personal vehicle, such as a car or motorbike, is an excellent choice. This option allows travelers to explore the picturesque scenery along the way, creating a memorable road trip experience.

Regardless of the chosen means of transportation, the journey to Hang En promises not only geological wonders but also an exploration of the rich cultural and natural tapestry of Quang Binh province.

Paradise Cave in Vietnam’s Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a breathtaking subterranean wonder

Exploring the Wonders of Hang En Cave

This geological marvel, part of the intricate cave system of the region, has not only drawn the attention of cave explorers but has become a beacon for adventurers seeking a unique and immersive experience.

Features and Characteristics of Hang En Cave

Hang En Cave stands as a testament to nature’s grandeur, boasting distinctive features that set it apart from other caves around the world. The cave, recognized as the third-largest in the world, captivates visitors with its grandeur. The large cave entrance, positioned about 11 kilometers from Km 35 on the West branch of Ho Chi Minh Highway, serves as a gateway to an underground world of wonders.

Inside the Cave
Inside the Cave – Source: Collected

The uniqueness of Hang En extends beyond its sheer size; it is a place where time seems to stand still. The cave’s large doors, shaped by millennia of geological processes, welcome visitors into a realm where sunlight filters through, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. As sunlight pierces through the cave entrance from December to March, it illuminates the interior, offering a breathtaking display of nature’s artistry.

Geological Formations Inside Hang En Cave

Delving into the heart of Hang En unveils a rich tapestry of geological formations that have evolved over millions of years. Similar to its renowned counterpart, Hang Son Doong, Hang En is situated on a geological fault within the oldest limestone mountain system in Asia, dating back 400 – 450 million years.

Rao Thuong River, the lifeblood of Hang En, weaves through the vast Hung Doong valley, sculpting the cave’s intricate features. The slow and patient erosion of the limestone layer over thousands or even millions of years has given rise to the mesmerizing formations within the cave.

Hang En proudly exhibits three doors, each telling a story of its own. The big door, formed first, welcomes sunlight in a dance of illumination. The small door, a familiar entrance, guides explorers into the heart of the cave. The back door, a high and wide cave dome, marks the gateway to further adventures. Beyond the back door, a valley spanning over 3 kilometers and a climb up a small hill lead intrepid explorers to the majestic Son Doong Cave.

Cave Exploration Experience

Embarking on a journey into Hang En Cave is a transformative experience, offering a blend of natural wonders and cultural encounters. As visitors traverse the cave’s passages, they are greeted by stalactites that have stood the test of time, shaped by water droplets that have journeyed down from the cave dome over millions of years.

The exploration covers a distance of approximately 1.6 kilometers, leading adventurers to the back door of Hang En. This remote area unfolds into a primeval forest, a sanctuary of mysterious flowers, and a breathtaking panorama that immerses visitors in a natural paradise.T

Learn about the Life of the Bru – Van Kieu People in Doong Village

The journey to Hang En not only encompasses geological wonders but also offers a glimpse into the lives of the Bru – Van Kieu people in Doong village. Situated amidst rugged terrain, the village has maintained a lifestyle almost separate from the outside world. A short break at Doong village becomes a window into the simplicity and resilience of these communities. Visitors engage in conversations, hearing stories about the mountains, forests, and the villagers’ lives, fostering a deeper understanding of the local culture.

Go Through the Village to Get to Hang En
Go Through the Village to Get to Hang En – Source: Collected

Camping in Hang En

After a day of exploration, reaching the camping site in Hang En becomes a moment of tranquility and camaraderie. Visitors gather to savor rustic dishes prepared by Oxalis chefs, using simple local ingredients. The communal experience of camping inside the cave enhances the connection with nature and fellow explorers, creating an atmosphere of shared adventure.

Camping in Hang En
Camping in Hang En – Source: Collected

Admire the Beauty of Unique Stalactites

As the night unfolds and the swallows chirp, visitors awaken to a new day greeted by the surreal beauty of stalactites within Hang En Cave. These formations, with a lifespan reaching millions of years, provide a captivating visual symphony. The stalactites, shaped by the slow dance of water and minerals, become a testament to the intricate processes that have shaped the cave over time.

Exploring Hang En is not merely a journey into the depths of a cave; it is an odyssey into the soul of nature, a cultural exchange with local communities, and a celebration of the resilience of life in this extraordinary corner of the world.

Planning Your Trip to Hang En Cave

As you consider venturing into the mesmerizing depths of Hang En Cave, careful planning is essential to ensure a safe and enriching experience.

Tour Information for Hang En Cave

Currently, Hang En Cave cannot be trekked independently, and visitors must register for a guided tour with Oxalis Adventure. Oxalis Adventure stands as the sole company authorized to conduct exploration tours in the caves of Phong Nha – Ke Bang, including the awe-inspiring Hang En.

You Have to Join a Tour to Visit Hang En
You Have to Join a Tour to Visit Hang En – Source: Collected

The decision to limit independent trekking is rooted in the challenging and potentially hazardous nature of the exploration process. To ensure maximum health and safety, Oxalis Adventure employs a team of extensively trained staff, including guides, assistants, and porters. Climbing equipment, sourced from Europe, undergoes regular inspections to guarantee reliability and safety.

For those seeking to uncover the mysteries of Hang En, Oxalis Adventure emerges as the go-to choice. Their expertise and commitment to safety make them the exclusive operator for exploring the caves of Phong Nha – Ke Bang. Before embarking on your journey, it is crucial to make reservations with Oxalis Adventure to secure your spot on this extraordinary expedition.

Trip Planning Tips for Hang En Cave

Best Times to Visit Hang En Cave:

  • The operating season for tours to explore Hang En by Oxalis extends from December to the end of September each year. It is important to note that the tour does not operate during the remaining months, coinciding with the flood season. The decision to restrict tours during this period aligns with safety concerns and ensures a smooth and secure exploration experience.
    Best Time to See Hang En
    Best Time to See Hang En – Source: Collected
  • To make the most of your visit, consider planning your trip during the peak season when weather conditions are favorable, allowing for a more enjoyable and safe exploration of Hang En Cave.

Departure Logistics:

  • Visitors should aim to be at the departure point before 6:00 am to avoid any potential delays.
  • If arriving early, contacting Oxalis Adventure can help arrange suitable resting places.

Departure Time:

  • Departure for the Hang En tour typically occurs between 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.
  • Oxalis Adventure’s dedicated transport service ensures a convenient pickup directly from your hotel, providing a hassle-free start to your journey.

Safety Briefing:

  • On the bus, tour guides will provide comprehensive instructions on safety measures.
  • Liability waivers will be distributed, and visitors will receive safety equipment to ensure a secure exploration process.

Conservation Contributions:

  • Tourists actively contribute to the conservation and protection of the forest environment in the core area of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park. This is achieved through the purchase of tour tickets and payment of forest environmental service fees.

Trekking Activities and Camping:

  • Beyond the cave exploration, the tour offers trekking activities through the forest, wading streams, and climbing slopes.
    An Ideal Destination for Trekking Lovers
    An Ideal Destination for Trekking Lovers – Source: Collected
  • Visitors have the unique opportunity to camp and live within Hang En, providing an unparalleled connection with nature.

Positive Impact on Local Communities:

  • The implementation of the tour by Oxalis Adventure has not only created job opportunities for hundreds of local workers but has also indirectly benefited thousands involved in tourism activities in Hang En and Son Doong.
  • The tour’s route through Ban Doong has played a role in reshaping local awareness and attitudes toward environmental conservation, contributing to the reduction of illegal hunting and logging.

International Recognition and Filming Locations:

  • Oxalis Adventure’s international promotional efforts showcasing the beauty of Hang En have positioned Phong Nha as an enticing destination for global tourists.
  • The region, including Phong Nha and its surroundings, has become a favored choice for filmmakers, adding a cinematic allure to its natural splendor.

Embark on a journey beneath the surface as we delve into the geological wonders and historical significance of Mua Caves in Ninh Binh, Vietnam.


In the heart of Vietnam lies Hang En Cave, a subterranean marvel that captivates with its vastness and natural wonders. As the third-largest cave globally, its discovery in 1994 marked a milestone. From the geological wonders to unique ecosystems, Hang En beckons adventurers. Plan your expedition, contribute to conservation, and uncover the secrets of this unparalleled destination.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is there a cave between Laos and Vietnam?

No, there isn’t a cave directly between Laos and Vietnam. However, the region, especially in Quang Binh Province, is known for its extensive cave systems, with notable caves like Hang Son Doong and Hang En.

What is special about Hang Son Doong cave?

Hang Son Doong is renowned as the world’s largest cave. Its colossal chambers, unique geological formations, and an ecosystem within the cave make it a spectacular and unparalleled natural wonder.

How big is Hang En Cave?

Hang En Cave is one of the world’s largest caves, boasting a total length exceeding 1.6km, a volume of 6.7 million cubic meters, and a vast cavern with a width of 200m and a ceiling height of 145m.

Is Son Doong cave open to the public?

Yes, Son Doong Cave is open to the public, but access is strictly regulated through guided tours organized by authorized operators like Oxalis Adventure. Visitors must adhere to safety measures, and tours are conducted during specific months to ensure a secure and environmentally conscious exploration experience.