Nature Park

Ta Nam Long has explored caves across the country from the northernmost point of Lung Cu in Ha Giang to the southernmost point of Mui Ca Mau in Ca Mau. Long has been in 30 large and deep caves in Vietnam, including those difficult to reach, like Doc Nan, Dia Nguc and Ong.

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Ta Nam Long, hailing from a prestigious medical family in Hanoi, achieved outstanding results in the graduation exam of Hanoi Medical University. However, he made the unconventional choice of pursuing a career in the technology industry, while spending his free time exploring caves.

Long has enhanced his caving skills through online research and connecting with global caving associations. Being a graduate of a medical university, he also prioritizes physical fitness, enabling him to overcome challenges such as swimming in frigid water and navigating fast-moving waterfalls in order to reach the deepest caves. Additionally, Long is equipped with the ability to provide first aid to himself and his teammates in the event of accidents during their expeditions.

Drawing upon his extensive experience of exploring hundreds of caves across Vietnam, Long founded the Vietnam Caving Association (VCA), which now boasts over 4,000 young members. The VCA serves as a non-profit organization where cave explorers can exchange experiences and embark on long exploration trips together.


Ta Nam Long in his caving attirePhoto: Tran Thanh Giang


Ta Nam Long after being rescued from Cong Nuoc, the deepest cave in Vietnam. Photo: Files


Long has faced multiple accidents during his caving adventures. Photo: Tran Thanh Giang

Joined by the members of VCA, Long has embarked on numerous expeditions to caves all over Vietnam, encountering unforgettable experiences such as hunger, extreme cold, injuries, and getting lost.

Long has tackled challenging destinations like Suoi Can cave in Thanh Hoa, Dia Nguc cave in Ha Giang, and Hut cave in Son La. To reach Suoi Can cave, Long had to traverse multiple mountains and enter through one entrance, then exit at a location 15km away. Exploring Dia Nguc cave required Long and his team of four to spend 36 hours in deep water, enduring cold and hunger. Long successfully explored the perilous Hut cave, where a team of foreign spelunkers once went missing for four days. Hut cave’s swift-flowing water even swept away dozens of houses belonging to local residents.

One of Long’s most challenging journeys took place in 2016, when he ventured into Cong Nuoc cave in Chu Xai Phin village, Phong Tho district, Lai Chau. With a vertical depth of 600m and containing 14 layers, Cong Nuoc is considered the deepest cave in Vietnam. During this expedition, Long fell from a height of 50m and remained immobilized at the bottom of the cave for two days with a broken leg, injured spinal cord, and sprained ankle. It took him two years of relentless physical therapy to recover from this accident.


Long and his team in Dong Lach cave in Thanh Hoa. Photo: Files


Inside Hut cave in Son La. Photo: Files


Hut cave is where a team of foreign spelunkers once got lost for four days.Photo: Files


20m-deep Vang cave in Hoa Binh. Photo: Files


At the mouth of Tham Phay cave in Bac Kan. Photo: Files

Ta Nam Long and his team reach the end point of Huyen cave in Thai Nguyen. Photo: Files

Long during his trip with Belgian and German cavers to Dong Van, Ha Giang. Photo: Files

Reaching the 30m-deep Na Phong cave in Bac Kan. Photo: Files

Long and a teammate in Sa Khao cave, Thai Nguyen. Photo: Files

After nearly a decade of undertaking countless trips, Long has amassed a valuable collection of thousands of photos and hundreds of impressive videos captured inside deep caves.

Currently, Long is planning a project to develop a hot spring in Son La, which will serve as an ideal tourist destination and the headquarters for VCA members in the northwest region of Vietnam.

In 2015, Long was one of only two Vietnamese individuals to join an expedition with Belgian caving experts, David Lagrou and Lieven De Bontridder, in search of clean water sources for ethnic communities in Dong Van and Meo Vac, Ha Giang.

Story: Bich Van – Photos: Thanh Giang