This January I was once again presented with the amazing opportunity to do some more photography work in Son Doong cave thanks to Oxalis. (Photos from my previous trip to Son Doong.) Oxalis needed to prepare some things for the upcoming tours and I was able to tag along with Howard, Deb, Watto, Adam, Bamboo, Thanh, and the brilliant porters from Phong Nha on their trip into Hang Son Doong. I have to say that these photos wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous help from everyone.
Unfortunately we were in some tight time constraints as we only had one full day in the cave and it was a long 10 hour day taking photographs. This trip I was better prepared with flash bulbs from Meggaflash and homemade bulb firers that could be triggered wirelessly. This made photographing the cave/daylight points much easier and I’m incredibly happy with how they turned out.
It’s incredibly difficult to put into words how amazing Hang Son Doong really is. From the shear size of the cave to the two doline where plant life has started growing inside the cave. It is truly otherworldly and something that probably can’t be experienced anywhere else in the world.
We also were incredibly lucky to witness sunbeams in Hang En the last morning we were there. At first we didn’t think it was going to happen as with was cloudy and foggy outside. Everyone decided to call it and head back towards civilization, but I wanted to stay and Thanh was kind enough to stay back with me. When the clouds broke and sunbeam started forming my breath was taken away. It was an absolutely incredible sight.
I will leave you with the rest of the photos from the trip. I hope you enjoy!
On the way back to Vietnam from Nepal, my brother Tyler and I decided to make a short stop in Sumatra and trek into the jungle of Gunung Leuser National Park. We had originally planned to spend 5 days in the jungle, but after a long day of banking trouble (lesson learned, never rely 100% on withdrawing money with your debit card) we decided on just spending 3 days trekking through the jungle searching for wildlife. We were a bit concerned we wouldn’t see all the wildlife we had hoped for, but we would soon find that luck was on our side.
Within the first 30 minutes of heading into the jungle, we had already encountered orangutans, thomas leaf monkeys, and macaques. The orangutans we would encounter on this trip were mainly semi-wild. They had been rescued from the wildlife trade and released back into the wild.
I was super excited to have seen the thomas leaf monkeys. They were just some cool looking primates with a unique look.
Our luck continued in which we watched an incredible/hilarious scene unfold in front of our eyes. In this section of the park, the park rangers put out a bit of food for the orangutans to supplement their diet since they are used to being fed by humans from when they were held in captivity. When we first arrived, there was a mother and child orangutan there eating a bunch of bananas. Then a macaque came and tried taking the bananas from the orangutans. Macaques can be dangerous to young orangutans and even adult orangutans if there are lots of macaques ganging up on one orangutan. This situation was quite tame though, the mother barely even acknowledged the macaque and the child was playing with/trying to get the macaque to leave.
A few of these photos were also published in both US and UK newspapers which was very exciting. NY Post. The Mirror.
The morning of the second day we could hear the calls of a group of white handed gibbons. We decided that we would head of and try and find them. Once again, our luck prevailed and caught a glimpse of a gibbon. It was well worth it.
On the last morning, we wake to a commotion in camp. It turns out that an orangutan has come to our camp in search of food. Everyone tries their hardest to stop it from eating our food as it is bad for them but considering that they are believed to be 7 times stronger than humans, you don’t really want to get into a human vs orangutan fight.
We head back to the nearest town/village, Bukit Lawang, by floating down a raging river in tractor tubes that were tied together. It was exciting to say the least. Both Tyler and our cook fell off the tubes into the river but luckily managed to get quickly back into the tubes. We finally make it back to the village, take a much needed shower, eat a good meal, and head to bed for a good night’s rest.