The 2003 expedition like many before was a great success. This was our 8th visit to Vietnam and still we had unexpected things happen to us all the time. We had a record success with finding a little over 45km of passage. This in itself is quite an achievement given the actual number of caving days we had not including travelling etc. With many of us having lots of practice surveying Vietnamese river caves, teams would go out, find a cave, survey it and photograph in a single day. This happened on many occasions and a couple of caves over 3km were explored in a single day including long walk ins. This was achieved mainly with the help of our Vietnamese colleagues at HanoiUniversity. We also had with us excellent drivers, also arranged via contacts at the University. These drivers played a large part in the success of the expedition. Our friends at HanoiUniversity were outstanding as usual but I must pay special attention to Prof Nguyen Quang My, a wonderful person, who without his immense assistance and kindness we would never have had the opportunity to visit this wonderful country.
The expedition would not have been possible without the generous grants towards the expedition and to this I am most grateful.
Again like many times before the local people all were extremely friendly towards our desire to explore the caves. This is also a large factor for the expedition finding so many new caves. We did have problems, often military permission was not possible and this did cause a few worries to our Vietnamese colleagues especially when one team had problems within 1km of the Chinese border twice in two days. It was not easy obtaining all the permits, however our friends at Hanoi managed to assist us whenever possible and we managed to have only two days out of seven weeks when we could not cave or travel to the caves. We managed to travel through many provinces this time in Vietnam.
The first province we visited was Quang Binh, 500km south of Hanoi and our southernmost point. From there we moved north through Nghe An, Than Hoa, Hoa Binh and onto Lang Son and Cao Bang. Most of our success was in the northern provinces near the Chinese border.
I hope this report is able to put over the wonderful time we had on the expedition whether exploring new caves or just being lucky enough to experience the friendship always shown by the Vietnamese people.