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SUMMARY OF CAVING EXPEDITIONS TO QUANG BINH PROVINCE
The first British Vietnamese Caving Expedition took place in 1990. Our colleagues from Hanoi with their knowledge of Vietnamese geology were able to suggest several interesting areas for caves. The first of these was Quang Binh and the Ke Bang massif. During a week’s reconnaissance in this area, the team was able to begin exploration of Hang Phong Nha and also explore most of Hang Toi. The team then visited other areas such as Hoa Binh, Ninh Binh and Ha Son Binh. It was obvious that the Ke Bang massif had the greatest potential for long river caves. The team also realized that Hang Phong Nha had great potential for a tourist cave, with its ease of access, large river passages and fine formations.
A return trip in 1992 led to the exploration of many fine caves in this area. Phong Nha was explored to a conclusion at 7729m. Hang Toi was extended to a final length of 5258m and initial exploration of the Hang Vom system began. Hang Cha Anh was explored for 667m and Ruc Caroong for 2800m. It became obvious that there were two separate drainage systems, the Phong Nha system and the Hang Vom system. The team also visited Minh Hoa district, and explored Ruc Mon for 2863m.
With the great caving potential for this area, British cavers were very keen to continue exploration. With the participation of members from Hanoi University, and the support of the local people of Quang Binh and Son Trach, many more successful expeditions were possible. Continued exploration brought the length of Hang Vom to 15050m. Further upstream in the system, Hang Dai Cao (1645m), Maze Cave (3927m), and Hang Ca (1075m) were explored. The Hang Phong Nha system was extended by the exploration of Hang Toong (3351m), Hang En (1645m) and Hang E (845m).
In Minh Hoa district Hang Tien was discovered and explored for 2500m.
Progress into the more remote areas of the two systems continued. The upper reaches of the Vom system included the exploration of Hang Ho 1616m, Hang Over 3244m, and Hang En 845m. The main river sinks for the Phong Nha system were investigated, Khe Thy, Khe Ry and Khe Tien. Hang Khe Ry turned out to be a very long river cave, and was explored at the time for 13817m.
As with the previous expedition, the exploration was split between Cao Bang and Quang Binh. A five day camp underground in Hang Khe Ry allowed exploration of the furthest parts of the system. The full length of Khe Ry was 18902m.
Hang Phong Nha Kho was also surveyed and was 981m long.
A short trip to Quang Binh and a five day camp at Hang En led to the discovery of Hang Lanh, a resurgence cave near to Hang En, and one of the feeders to the Phong Nha system. This cave was 3753m long. Also Hang Doi 453m and Hang Ca 361m were explored in this area.
Only a brief visit to Quang Binh was possible this year, but exploration of Hang About extended the Hang Vom system by 820m, and exploration of Hang Nuoc Nut 2205m and Hang So Doi 1124m extended the Phong Nha system still further.
Since the 2005 expedition, the Hang Vom system is now 35,192km long and the Phong Nha system is 50,549km long.