Since 1993, Spekul and the BVKCA, together with our Vietnamese colleagues from VIGMR (Vietnam Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources), explore the underground in Northwest Vietnam. Nine expeditions have taken place, each about one month in length. From 1998 to 2010, the expeditions were embedded in the VIBEKAP-development-project.


The detailed inventory of the cave systems and underground water courses has generated valuable data for the research project. Since recently, we collaborate in a new development project on the improvement of water management in the Dong Van - Meo Vac karst districts (Ha Giang Province), which gives us, together with the VIGMR, the opportunity to continue the underground exploration in North Vietnam.
Over the years, work has been done in different provinces of NW Vietnam. In the 1993 and 1995 expeditions, the Son La province has been surveyed. In 1997, exploration was done further to the north in the Lai Chau province. The expeditions of 2000, 2001 and 2002 focused on Son La, Thuan Chau (Son La province), Tua Chua, Tam Duong (Lai Chau province) and Sin Ho. During the seventh and eight expeditions (2003-2004 and 2005-2006), the northernmost region along the Chinese border (Ha Giang province) has been thoroughly investigated together with three other areas in other districts: Tan Lac (Hoa Binh province), Ba Be (Bac Kan province) and Thac Ba (Yen Bai province). In 2009-2010 expeditions we worked in the provinces Son La, La Chau and Ha Giang.

Since 2010 spekul is involved in KaWaTech-project from the KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technlogy) where spekul is responsible for the underground activities. The KaWaTech project is a German-Vietnamese project: “Sustainable Technologies for karst water resources managment in karst regions of Northern Vietnam”. The aim of the project is to develop a sustainable water supply for the region of Dong Van Karst Plateau (2013-2016). An extention of the project is currently under development.


Expedition reports (as pdf available):

  1. Dusar, M., Masschelein , J., Phan Cu Tien, Do Tuyet, 1994. Belgian Vietnamese speleological Expedition Son La, 1993. Professional Paper of the Belgian Geological Survey, 1994/4, no. 271, 60 p.
  2. SPEKUL, RIGMR & BVKCA, 1996. Belgian-Vietnamese Speleological Expedition Son La, 1995-1996. Cave Investigation, a Start for Research on Sustainable Development, 63 p.
  3. SPEKUL, RIGMR & BVKCA, 1998. Belgian-Vietnamese Speleological Expedition Son La 1997-1998. Report on the Third Expedition in the Northern Provinces of Son La and Lai Chau, 68 p.
  4. SPEKUL, RIGMR & BVKCA, 2000. Belgian-Vietnamese speleological expedition 2000. Report of the Fourth Expedition in the Provinces of Son La and Lai Chau, 51 p. + addendum.
  5. SPEKUL, RIGMR & BVKCA, 2001. Belgian-Vietnamese Speleological Expedition 2001. Report of the Fifth Expedition in the Provinces of Son La and Lai Chau, 55 p. + addendum.
  6. SPEKUL, RIGMR & BVKCA, 2004. Belgian-Vietnamese Speleological Expedition 2002. Report of the Sixth Expedition in the Province of Lai Chau, 45 p. With addendum.
  7. SPEKUL, RIGMR & BVKCA, 2005. Belgian-Vietnamese Speleological Expedition 2003 – 2004. Report of the Seventh Expedition in the Provinces (District) of Hoa Binh (Tan Lac), Bac Kan (Ba Be) and Ha Giang (Dong Van and Meo Vac), 58 p.
  8. SPEKUL, RIGMR & BVKCA, 2006. Belgian-Vietnamese Speleological Expedition 2005 – 2006. Report of the Eighth Expedition in the Provinces of Ha Giang and Yen Bai. 82 p.
  9. SPEKUL, RIGMR & BVKCA, 2016. Belgian-Vietnamese Speleological Expedition 2009 – 2010. Report of the Ninth Expedition in the Provinces of Son La, Lai Chau and Ha Giang and. xx p.

An overview of all the expeditions has been published in the series: Berliner Höhlenkundliche Berichte.
J. Masschelein, V. Coessens, D. Lagrou, M. Dusar & Tran Tan Van (eds.). 2007. Northern Vietnam, 1993 - 2006 (Belgian-Vietnamese speleological projects in the provinces of Bac Kan, Ha Giang, Hoa Binh, Lai Chau and Son La). Berliner Höhlenkundliche Berichte 22, 212 p.

Lagrou D., Klingel P., Kunze M., Chung H. T., Oberle P., Nestmann F., Van T. T. and De Bontridder L. (2011). From speleological exploration to sustainable Karst water management in Northern Vietnam. In: International Symposium Karst Research, Challenges for the XXIst century, Brussels, Sept 30 – Oct 01, 2011.

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