A Complete Guide to Exploring Phong Nha Ke Bang

Phong Nha Ke Bang Travel Tips

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Phong Nha Ke Bang is one of the most popular attractions in Vietnam. This natural gem of Vietnam is home to some of the most stunning caves in the world such as Son Doong Cave.

How to explore Phong Nha Ke Bang? This article covers all the information you need to know before traveling to Phong Nha Ke Bang Vietnam.

best places to visit in Phong Nha Ke Bang Son Doong cave

 

Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park and How to get there

The location of Phong Nha National Park is very convenient for tourists whether they are traveling from the North or from the South of Vietnam because everyone has to go through Bo Trach district.

How to go to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park from Dong Hoi?

Phong Nha is located in Bo Trach, about 50km from the Northwest of Dong Hoi city, Quang Binh Vietnam. Most of the transportation methods will take you to Dong Hoi city center so you will need to take a taxi or private transfer from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha Ke Bang.

From Hanoi to Phong Nha

Traveling from Hanoi to Phong Nha Ke Bang by bus is one of the most common options. However, traveling by train will bring you more comfort because the distance is quite long.

You can also fly from Hanoi to Dong Hoi as well, and it’s very easy to book direct flights with Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, and Jetstar.

Please read Hanoi to Phong Nha travel guide to know more about the options.

From Hue to Phong Nha

From Hue, you can take a train to Dong Hoi or direct bus to Phong Nha, and the journey takes about 4 hours 30 minutes. There are several daily tours from Hue to Phong Nha that you can join.

Please read Hue to Phong Nha travel guide to know more about the options.

From Ho Chi Minh to Phong Nha

The best way to travel from Saigon to Phong Nha is flying. Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, and Jetstar offer regular service from Ho Chi Minh to Dong Hoi Airport, and the journey takes 1 hour 35 minutes.

You can also experience the scenic train ride from Ho Chi Minh to Dong Hoi. Vietnam Railways offer daily trains from Saigon to Dong Hoi station, and the journey may take from 21.5 hours to 25.5 hours depending on the train.

Please read Ho Chi Minh to Phong Nha travel guide to know more about the options.

train from Hue to Phong Nha Ke Bang

 

How many days should you spend in Phong Nha Ke Bang?

Depending on your travel plan, you may visit Phong Nha in one day or more. In order to cover the basic attractions in Phong Nha Ke Bang, you should spend at least 3 or 4 days in the area. A week would be sufficient if you’re into hiking.

 

Where are the best places to visit in Phong Nha Ke Bang?

Phong Nha Ke Bang is home of several large and small caves, and it will take ages to explore all of them. However, you can visit some famous caves and areas during your trip.

Some of the main attractions in Phong Nha Ke Bang are Phong Nha Cave, Tien Son Cave, Paradise Cave (động Thiên Đường), Dark Cave (Hang Tối), Mooc River (Suối Nước Moọc), En Cave, and Son Doong Cave.

best things to do in phong nha ke bang vietnam

 

What are the best Phong Nha Ke Bang Tours to take?

Tour to Phong Nha from Hue

Many travelers decide to take day trips from Hue to Phong Nha Ke Bang instead of staying at the area.

Joining the tours, you can have a great chance to explore breath-taking natural wonders in Phong Nha and observe the rock formation. The most common day trips will take you to explore Ke Bang or Paradise cave.

If you already arrive at Phong Nha, you may take a look at the list of entrance fee in the next section.

 

How much is Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park entrance fee?

Here is the ticket price list for Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park 2019

a) Paradise Cave Entrance fee

  • Adults: 250,000 VND per adult
  • Children from 1.1m to 1.3m: 125,000 VND per child
  • Children with height under 1.1m are exempt from sightseeing tickets.

Service of electric car:

  • 4-seat electric car: 60,000 VND/ 1-way  or 100,000 VND/ round trip
  • 6-seat electric car: 90,000 VND/ 1-way  or 150,000 VND/ round trip
  • 8-seat electric car: 200,000 VND/ round trip
  • 14-seat electric car:  350,000 VND/ round trip

b) Phong Nha Cave Entrance fee

  • Adults: 150,000 VND per adult
  • Children with height under 1.3 m are exempt from sightseeing tickets.
  • Phong Nha cave boat tour: 360,000 VND per boat with life jackets, carrying up to 12 guests including children.

c) Tien Son Cave Entrance fee

  • Adults: 80,000 VND per adult
  • Children with height under 1.3 m are exempt from sightseeing tickets.
  • Sightseeing boat for Phong Nha Cave and Tien Son Cave: 400,000 VND / 1 boat / 12 guests with life jackets

d) Mooc River fee

Ticket service package (Including Spring bathing, Kayaking, Life jacket, Paddle, Rescue fee)

  • Adult: 180,000 VND per adult
  • Children: 100,000 VND per child

Tickets to visit:

  • Adults and children from 1.3m or more: 80,000 VND per person
  • Children with height under 1.3m are exempt from entrance tickets.

e) Chay River – Dark Cave fee

  • Adults and children over 1.3m (from 40-90kg): 450,000 VND per ticket (All services are included: zipline in Dark Cave, zip line river, games, kayaking, Mud bathing in Dark Cave …)
  • Children (90cm – 1,3m high): 150,000 VND / person (no zip line swing, kayak use with parents). Includes: discovery and mud bathing in Dark Cave, discovery and safety equipment, underwater games (not including thrills)
  • Children: Free (under 1 meter high, only use the children’s pool)

f) Phong Nha Botanical Garden entrance fee

  • Adults: 40,000 VND per adult
  • Children: 20,000 VND per child

 

Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park map

Below is the map of tourist places in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, so you can visualize the location of the attractions.

best things to do in Phong Nha Ke Bang

 

Where to stay in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park?

There are many places to stay in Phong Nha. A homestay is an interesting choice for whom seeking a local experience while enjoying stunning nature.

-> Read related: 10 tips to book a great stay

 

When is the best time to visit Phong Nha Ke Bang?

The best time to visit Phong Nha is during the dry season (April to August) because you can visit most of the attractions. During the rainy season, the water level may cover the cave entrance, and it can be dangerous to participate in activities.

best things to do in Phong Nha Ke Bang Quang Binh Vietnam

 

When is the flood season in Phong Nha Ke Bang?

The flood season in Phong Nha Ke Bang usually starts around the middle of September and lasts until the middle of November each year. Although the floods here do not last long, it rises and falls depending on the amount of rain.

Occasionally, the flood level can remain high for about a week. Therefore, you should check the weather forecast before traveling to Phong Nha if you would like to visit Phong Nha caves from September to November.

 

Phong Nha Ke Bang Weather

As Quang Binh has the monsoon tropical weather and is always affected by the climate of both the North and the South, Phong Nha Ke Bang weather is divided into two distinct seasons:

The dry season (from April to August) is a great time to explore the cave systems in the heart of the natural heritage of Phong Nha Ke Bang. While the temperature outside is around 36 to 37 ° C, the temperature in the caves is always at 20 to 21 ° C.

The rainy season (from September to March next year) is affected by the Northeast monsoon so the average annual rainfall is from 2,000mm to 2,300mm each year. On rainy days, the flood of Son River rises and covers the gate of the caves, so tourist boats cannot come to Phong Nha Cave (Động Nước/ Water cave). However, travelers can visit the dry caves (Tien Son Cave, Paradise Cave) normally.

Tips: Please check the weather forecast in advance and bring wear comfortable clothes.

 

Is it good to travel to Phong Nha on Tet holiday or during holiday seasons?

No. It’s not the best idea to travel to Phong Nha Ke Bang on Tet holiday or other holiday seasons because the attractions may not open or the open hours are affected.

Here are some of the main holidays in Vietnam

  • Tet Holiday (Feb 2nd to Feb 10th): It changes from year to year depending on the lunar calendar
  • April 30th and May 1st: Liberation Day and Labor International Day
  • September 2nd: National Day of Vietnam

Please note that it’s very difficult to arrange transportation methods during the Tet Holiday. You will need to plan your trip at least one month in advance and pay a higher price for a private car otherwise you may get stuck in the town. Also, there are also not many activities to do in Phong Nha during that time.

Vietnamese people usually spend time celebrating with family during the Tet holiday.  You can read more about traditional things to do on Tet holiday in Vietnam to have more information.

 

How to get around Phong Nha Ke Bang?

Motorbike

Due to the danger of driving a motorbike, we do not recommend renting a motorbike if you are not an experienced driver.

If you would like to enjoy exploring the National Park by motorbike but you don’t have any driving experience, you can easily hire a local person to take you on a bike tour.

Do not drive a motorbike to the national park in the evening because there are no street lights and it can be very dangerous. Some people drive without lights at night and you may have an accident without any warning. If you go out in the dark, we advise you not to go further than the Botanical Garden.

Please wear a helmet when riding a motorbike and fasten your seat belt if you drive a car.

Bicycles

Bicycles are usually free at hotels and hostels in Phong Nha Ke Bang. You may check with your hotel in advance before booking the room. Also, you can rent bicycles at Easy Tiger or other places in the area.

Motor-taxi

Motor-taxi, or Xe ôm, is a special way to get around cities in Vietnam. You can ask your hotel to book the motor-taxi for you if needed.

 

Phong Nha Market

The market in Phong Nha is located on the main street near the Phong Nha – Ke Bang Tourist Center. You should bring cash when shopping here and don’t forget to bargain (You can do it at any other market in Vietnam).

The best time to go to the market is around 6-9 am because the market is the most crowded. Many stalls are closed from 11 am to 2 pm for lunch break, then open until 6 pm depending on the time of year.

 

What to eat in Phong Nha Ke Bang?

Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park has a diverse system of primeval forests and rivers, and the water source is very clean, flowing from the limestone so special dishes here have a very unique flavor that cannot be found anywhere.

You can try some tasty local dishes such as bighead carp, river shrimp, grilled broodstock fish, and grilled chicken. Especially, don’t forget to try the famous delicious eel (Anguilla australis)

There are some typical dishes from Phong Nha mountain forests such as deer meat, boar, mountain goat, and wild bamboo shoot.

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