With their surreal, otherworldly rock formations and strange, pale inhabitants, the inside of a cave is like something out of a science fiction novel. It’s the closest most of us will ever get to visiting another planet.
Vietnam is known for its spectacular caves, many of which remain unexplored. In fact, the country is home to the largest known cave in the world, Hang Son Doong. Located in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, the cave’s largest chamber is an awe-inspiring 3 miles long, 656 feet high and 492 feet wide. There’s even an entire underground jungle inside, underneath a massive opening called a “skylight.” For more information, see these incredible photos from National Geographic.
Hang Son Doong is not open to tourists, but there are many other caves that are. Many of the most striking are located in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park or Halong Bay.
Phong Nha, located in Phong Nha-Ke Bang, is probably the most famous and well-traveled. The first 1500 meters of this cave are open to tourists and even illuminated with colored lights to show off the stalactites, stalagmites and other interesting rock formations.
Thien Duong, or Paradise Cave, is also in Phong Nha-Ke Bang. It just opened to tourists in September of 2010. Here’s a description of it from VietnamAwesomeTravel.com:
“Stalactites that look like temples, cranes with their arched necks looking up to the sky and a pine tree with hundreds of branches are dotted throughout this underground world. With a little imagination, there is no end to the shapes to be found in the cave.”
To go caving in Vietnam, you’ll need both a passport and a Vietnamese visa. Some countries issue visas to US citizens when they arrive at the airport, but Vietnam is not one of them. Apply before your trip at a Vietnamese Embassy or consulate.
If you’re traveling as a tourist, you’ll need the following documents to get your Vietnamese visa:
- Your US passport
- A completed Vietnamese visa application
- A recent passport photo, taken within the past 6 months.
By default, Vietnamese visas are single entry. If your itinerary requires you to enter Vietnam more than once, make sure you specify that you need a multiple-entry visa. Also, if you’re going from Vietnam to Laos, you’ll need a Vietnamese visa that is permanently attached to your passport. Detachable visas are removed as you exit Vietnam, but not having a Vietnamese visa in your passport can cause you to be denied entry to Laos.
RushMyTravelVisa makes getting your visa quick and easy. We’ll research your itinerary and guide you through the application process to ensure you have the right documents when you need them with the fastest possible processing.
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