Where is Phong Nha?
Phong Nha is a small town in the northern-middle region of Vietnam about 326 km/ 202 mi north of Da Nang (which is in central Vietnam). You can get to Phong Nha directly by bus, but when we were traveling it was Lunar New Year so all the buses were sold out. As a result, we needed to take the train from Ninh Binh to Dong Hoi and then take the public bus to Phong Nha (for about 67,000 VND/3 USD -it may be a bit cheaper than that actually).
Since it was a holiday, the prices for train tickets were significantly higher and we ended up paying almost 335,000 VND/15 USD, but usually tickets are half of that price. If I had the chance to do it over again and if it wasn’t a holiday, then I would choose to take the bus. The train we took wasn’t very comfortable and the transfer was just an added inconvenience, so take the bus.
The train we took wasn’t very comfortable and the transfer was just an added inconvenience, so take the bus.
When we were in Phong Nha we immediately noticed that it was a bit warmer than northern Vietnam and it was time to put on that sunscreen! The area our hostel (Easy Tiger) was located in has a wide variety of tourism offices for you to buy tickets and make plans for what to do in Phong Nha or your next destination. Phong Nha may be small, but it is a great place to stay and also stop over when you are touring Vietnam.
Is it safe?
Phong Nha is a smaller city, which once again means that it is less likely for you to be hit by a motorbike. Something that people should be aware about when traveling in Phong Nha is that the terrain and grades are rough for people on motorbikes. So if you do choose to rent a scooter or motorbike, be wary of the roads and such.
Something that people should be aware about when traveling in Phong Nha is that the terrain and grades are rough for people on motorbikes.
What is there to do?
Phong Nha is great if you love the outdoors, exploring caves and getting dirty. I did a National Park Tour through my hostel and it cost 1,350,000 VND/60 USD. You can read all about my impression of the tour here and how you can even go on your own to the caves.
The views in Phong Nha are amazing and are worth the visit. I would recommend that any one visiting this area of Vietnam should see Paradise Cave and also Hang Toi (The Dark Caves).
Phong Nha is also a place where dreams can come true! If you need more convincing, check out what Tripadvisor recommends.
Where can I stay?
As I mentioned before, I stayed at the Easy Tiger Hostel and had a great experience there. I wish I had photos of the room, but I forgot to take some. Instead I have some pictures of the delicious food I had while staying there.
Like many hostels, Easy Tiger Hostel is very social and a great place for you to meet other backpackers. They have a 2-night minimum booking policy, but it is possible to stay one night. If you only stay one night, they don’t hold a bed for you so do so at your own risk! I personally think after traveling such long distances, I was more than willing to stay a second night. Also, Easy Tiger has a deal where you can stay two nights and get the third night free! You can contact them on their website here and confirm a booking via email.