Reasons Why You MUST Visit Phong Nha
Are you planning a trip to South East Asia? If yes, Vietnam has to be on your list of places to go. This country might look small on a map but there are so many amazing destinations including the lesser know and off the beaten track Phong Nha.
Vietnam has world famous locations like Ha Long Bay, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi but if you would like to experience one of the most spectacular places in the world you really need to add Phong Nha to your itinerary.
Phong Nha was a quite local village which has received little or no attention over the past decades but a recent surprise discover has well and truly but this destination of the map.
One of the world's largest cave complexes has been discovered in the stunning Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park located between the Laos border and South China Sea.
The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is huge, 885 square kilometres of jungle, rivers, nature and caves. It is an adventure seekers paradise!
If this is your first time planning a trip to Vietnam, and the idea of going to Phong Nha appeals to you, here is a travel guide to help you plan a dream break.
Location & How to Get There
Phong Nha is located in Quang Binh Province in northern Vietnam between Hue and Hanoi.
Although off the beaten track, Phong Nha is well connected to the rest of the country via road. There are several cheap ways to get to Phong Nha including bus from Ninh Binh to Phong Nha. You can make a booking from reputed local travel agencies.
The nearest airport and train station to Phong Nha is located at Dong Hoi and if you feel brave enough, you could also rent a motorbike or hire a car.
More and more travel operators who offer tours in Vietnam are now including Phong Nha in their itineraries.
Best Time to Visit Phong Nha
Due to the location of Phong Nha, the weather is similar to most other locations in northern Vietnam. Summers are hot and humid whilst October to December are probably best to be avoided due to the rainy and typhoon seasons. February to August months are recommended for the visitors as the weather is more cooler and comfortable.
Best Things to See & Do in Phong Nha
Millions of years of untouched human contact and wild nature have turned Phong Nha into an adventurer’s paradise. In the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park you can indulge in adventurous activities like trekking, kayaking, swimming, and zip-lining.
Son Doong Cave is in the heart of the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is most definitely the main attraction. This is the world’s largest cave. You can walk, hike, swim and crawl through a network of tunnels in the Tu Lan cave system. Seeing the colossal caves will leave you awestruck!
You can spend days exploring the region, including going hiking in lush unspoiled jungle teeming with nature and wildlife. The Son Doong Cave will be like nowhere you have ever visited before!
Taking a cycling or motorbike tour of Phong Nha is recommended. You will get to see scenic rice paddies and amazing countryside. Be sure to get a local map to plan your own route or travel as part of an organised tour to learn more about the places you visit.
Where to Stay in Phong Nha
There has been a boom in the number of new hotels, hostels and guesthouses opening in Phong Nha due to demand. There are also lots of local homestays and comfortable and inexpensive family-owned guesthouses available if you are after a local experience.
Accommodation in Phong Nha, like in most of Vietnam is very affordable. Some organised trips provide accommodation and there is also the opportunity to actually camp in the Son Doong Cave!
Staying along the Son River is recommended. Another popular spot is in the Bong Lai Valley where there are lots of small guesthouses in rice paddies and villages around Phong Nha.
If you are after an international style hotel check out Victory Road Villas.
Where to Eat
You won’t face any issues finding good eats in Phong Nha as there are lots of tasty good value local restaurants. Capture Café and Easy Tiger Hostel’s Jungle Bar are both popular options with foreigners to enjoy great meals, including pub grub and even woodfire oven pizzas if you are craving western food.
Top Tips for Visiting Phong Nha
- Buy travel insurance before darting your home country and make sure it covers adventure/sports.
- Pack essentials including the right clothing for the time of year and a medical kit.
- This area is still very developing so don't expect the modern hotels and facilities in places like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. There are power outages in Phong Nha regularly, and it is possible for many services to come to a halt.
- There are only two ATMs located in the center of Phong Nha, and credit cards are not accepted everywhere so get Vietnamese currency before arriving.
- There’s only one local pharmacy, so bring essentials with you.
Phong Nha really is one of the most beautiful places in South East Asia and is expected to become more and more popular over the coming decades with international tourists. Start planning a trip today before the crowds arrive.