Interview the three Red Bull Vietnam explorers

To best prepare the three winners for their journeys into the biggest cave in the world Son Doong, on July 10th 2016, Red Bull Vietnam invited Phan Duy Linh, Nguyen Thi Kim Loi, and Phan Thanh Nhien – the three gladiators that have shown their capability in the “Red Bull – Brave to Conquer Son Doong” contest for a little get together:

During the preparation process for the Son Doong expedition, did you run into any difficulties (packing list, training schedule, etc.)?

Duy Linh: I do not call them difficulties, just some more challenges *laugh*. I just added a little extra time to enhance my existing training schedule. I normally run 6 kilometers non-stop. Now, I am running 8 kilometers every day, together with regular push-ups and weight-lifting to increase lung capacity, strength and flexibility.

Kim Loi: My difficulties lie in the problem of time and the supporting items required for the trip. My current job takes up most of my time and I have yet to find a way to make changes to have more vigorous training schedule to prepare myself for the trip. Moreover, my pass journeys have mostly been motorcycle traveling and trekking in outdoor locations such as hills, mountains. I have never conquered any cave. I wonder beside the normal supporting items, do I need specific tools for this trip? But after our briefing session today, Red Bull Vietnam has answered all of my questions *laugh*.

After learning about the upcoming trip Son Doong, which landmark are you most inspired to conquer?

Duy Linh: Where I want to reach is the first station of the Son Doong expedition, the third biggest cave in the world: Hang En Cave. As I know, the journey to Hang En Cave is only the “appetizer” of the whole trip to Son Doong. But this place has a crystal-clear lake, when the sunlight reflects on the surface, the scenery must be breathtaking.

Thanh Nhien: The landmark I am most excited to conquer since I first got to know about Son Doong is probably the Great Wall of Vietnam with the height of 70 – 80 meters at the end of the cave. The friable & slippery limestone columns increase the risk. I really want to challenge myself.

Kim Loi: The most exciting landscape for me is the two dolines. While watching footage of a US television station about Son Doong Cave, I was so captivated by the image of the girl on the hill at the first doline, also known as the heart of Son Doong. Recently, seeing many pictures of Son Doong, I also became more impressed with the jungle and ecosystem at the second doline, identical to my imagination of the Jurassic-era jungle. I am sure that the sceneries are even more enthralling while experiencing with my own eyes than the images that I have seen. 

With your past traveling experience, can you share some pieces of wisdom while traveling in cave with your two fellow teammates and other Red Bull Vietnam fans?

Thanh Nhien: I have explored some caves before and experiences firsthand the dampness and slippery inside the cave. My advice is to choose shoes with good grip and traction, an anti-moisture and water-proof backpack to protect your electronic appliances and personal items. For Lời and the other female traverler,s you should bring some extra clothing items. We usually cross inside streams, clothing can get wet constantly, cause irritation, discomfort and health problems.

Duy Linh: My secret to overcome “difficult cases” like Son Doong is: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Live the way local people live, travel the path they go.” I will research and contact the porters to ask about how they guide in the cave, which shoe and clothing materials they use so that I can copy. *laugh*

Kim Loi: My secret differs slightly from Linh’s. I prefer to use my familiar items so that I can minimize the unforeseeable risks. Actually, I think we can combine our two tips: using our comfortable items, and those that are recommended by the porters to make sure the journey go smoothly.

Red Bull Vietnam would like to quote Thanh Nhien: “Son Doong expedition is the journey that even if you have all the condition and health, you may not be able to experience!” Best wishes to the three Red Bull Vietnam gladiators before they embark on their journey to conquer Son Doong, creating their unique experiences. Let’s countdown to the day the journey begins!

Image source: Red Bull Vietnam