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In the age of google maps and drones, caves are one of the last uncharted spots on earth. I’ve always been fascinated by caves. Visiting Bang Ke National Park was supposed to satisfy me, instead it made me understand the potential of caving and left me longing for much more. We spent two days covered in mud, but it was a small price to pay to be able to visit the Hang En caves, a hidden world of subterranean beauty.

This place is the greatest playground on earth. Literally thousands of overgrown islands with beaches, hidden lagoons, tunnels and caves. The bay’s borders are populated by fishermen who live off the sea on floating houses, there’s even floating schools and bars. We rented a junk boat and set off to explore the bay’s mainly uninhabited interior. There’s endless trekking, kayaking, rock climbing and deep water soloing opportunities there, just waiting to be discovered. In the evening we found a quiet spot to anchor our junk boat and enjoy dinner. Afterwords some jumped into the sea for a night swim and to play with the bioluminescent plankton.

They call it Vietnam’s Venice, even if there’s actually only one canal. It’s nonetheless an enchanting town, especially in the evening when a multitude of colorful lanterns are lit and scores of candles dance on the water. Like Venice Hoi An is overrun by tourists, but again just like Venice that is not enough to spoil it’s beauty. Not by far.

Winter 2018