Phong Nha is a place located in a beautiful area of central Vietnam. You can enjoy the many caves, the amazing Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park and more. It’s a super relaxed place for travelers who love nature. I visited Phong Nha after visiting beautiful Ninh Binh in the north, then continued on to the lovely town of Hoi An.
You can check my full Vietnam itinerary here!
What to do in Phong Nha?
1. Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park
Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park is a beautiful nature reserve with one of the largest limestone landscapes in the world. With its hundreds of caves, underground rivers, waterfalls and mountains, this is one of the most beautiful highlights of Vietnam.
You can reach Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park with an organized tour, but the best thing is of course by scooter. You can then drive a loop of almost 50 km through the national park. During this scooter loop you will see great landscapes and you will come across a number of caves including the famous Dark Cave and Paradise Cave.
2. Paradise Cave (Dong Thien Duong)
Thanks to the descriptive names of the Vietnamese caves, you get a good idea of what awaits you. The Paradise Cave is rightly considered one of the most beautiful caves in Vietnam.
This kilometer-long cave was only recently discovered in 2005. Its gigantic size of the Paradise Cave is special to see. The giant stalagmites and stalactites show that this cave is incredibly old.
The cave entrance is easily accessible by scooter. After you have parked the scooter, you have to walk a little further up to the stairs where you have to walk a lot further up. Instead of walking up to the stairs, you can also ride with a trolley for 100.000 Dong return.
Price for the Paradise Cave is 250.000 Dong and you also pay a small amount of 5.000 Dong for parking your scooter.
3. Dark cave (Hang Toi)
It is a bit of an open door, but the Dark Cave is very dark. And muddy. A visit to this cave is not for the faint-hearted or for people who prefer to stay dry. You reach the cave by means of a zipline or a kayak. In the cave, the route consists of water, mud baths and narrow corridors.
You can easily reach the Dark Cave in about 30 – 45 minutes by scooter. A tour is therefore not necessary.
Water shoes are not a must, but very handy. Entrance to the Dark Cave is 450.000 Dong in the high season (February 1 to September 15) and 250.000 Dong in the low season (September 16 to January 31). In addition, you also pay some deposit for a safe.
The Dark Cave and the Paradise Cave are easy to combine because they are both located in the national park.
4. Phong Nha Botanic Garden
Don’t expect a cultivated garden with tightly laid paths at this botanical garden, but a piece of jungle with a small waterfall where you can swim.
The entrance fee is a small amount of 40.000 Dong. Choose from one of three routes of 3 hours, 1.5 hours or 40 minutes. Do not forget anti-mosquito spray, otherwise you’ll be stung many times!
5. Phong Nha Cave
The Phong Nha Cave is located in the town of the same name. It’s a beautiful cave that is partly underwater and the cave can be seen from the gigantic dripstones.
You reach Phong Nha Cave by boat. This boat costs 360. 000 Dong, but if you split the costs with others you pay a lot less. For example, there is a meet-up at the Easy Tiger Hostel twice a day for anyone who wants to visit the cave. A convenient and pleasant way to split the costs! The entrance fee to the cave is 150.000 Dong.
You may want to skip this cave during the rainy season. Due to the high water arrow, only a small part of the cave is accessible.
6. Hang Son Doong
The Hang Son Doong is known to be the largest cave in the world. This cave is so big that a Boeing 747 could fly through the largest passage. The cave even has its own rainforest.
Hang Son Doong was only discovered in 1991 and explored by British researchers in 2009/2010. Since 2013, tourists can also visit this cave. To visit the Hans Son Doong you only have to dig deep into the pouch. Namely converted about € 2600 per person. Oxalis is the right place for tours.
7. Phong Nha Duck stop
Feeding ducks, cuddling ducks and a duck massage, that is possible at the Phong Nha Duck Stop. For this experience of about fifteen minutes you pay 100.000 Dong.
Expect unfriendly people and studied English phrases as the Duck Stop is completely geared towards tourists. The ducks will most likely go to slaughter after being fat enough, but maybe they have a better life here than they would at any other duck farm?
Where to stay in Phong Nha?
Phong Nha is not that big at all. The center consists practically of one main street. And that is exactly the place where it is nice to stay.
Try to stay near the Easy Tiger Hostel. This is the place to be. The disadvantage of the popularity of the Easy Tiger Hostel is that the other hostels, guesthouses and eateries are losing out. There are plenty of nice guesthouses and good eateries in Phong Nha, so make sure to take advantage of this!
How to get to Phong Nha
You can easily arrange your trip to Phong Nha in your hostel or guesthouse where you are staying at that moment. You can also easily book your tickets via 12Go.Asia.
Ninh Binh » Phong Nha
It is a long drive of about 8 hours from Ninh Binh to Phong Nha by sleeper bus. These often leave in the evening, so you arrive at night or in the morning.
Hoi An » Phong Nha
From Hoi An it is about a 7 hour drive to Phong Nha. The bus ride costs between 210,000 and 250,000 Dong.