Updated: Sep 17
Stephanie lived in Vietnam for more than 13 years, but she never visited Phong Nha in the past. Phong Nha is quite a new place. Its gigantic caves were discovered in 2003. Among them, one is one of the biggest cave in the world.
The airport is not far from the caves, in the city of Dong Hoi, nearly 30 kilometers from the Phong Nha National Park. The best way is to arrive on Friday night with the national flight company: Vietnam Airlines. It is easier to rent a motorbike at the airport as the road is straight and new. Two hotels are located in the middle of the parc, in the nature near the small town of Phong Nha: Farmstay and Lake House. Swimming pools and views are just amazing, the atmosphere too.
Several options are offered in order to visit the caves:
Call on a company like Oxalis Adventure, which proposes to sleep in the cave. A good physical condition is required. Please, notice that kids under 16 can not participate in this adventure.
Visit by yourself. Here the program Stephanie follows:
Departure with our motorbike on Saturday morning after our breakfast at the hotel, at 9.30 am. The program for the day was to do the 65 km loop in a motorbike in Phong Nha National Park. Small roads are in the jungle, there is a lot of nature, mountains, beautiful churches, bridges, and caves - of course. On the road, it is possible to stop by the Dark Cave which is more for kids with ziplining, kayak...
Few kilometers after, we stop to the Paradise Cave: one of the biggest in the world. It was just amazing.
We suggest you be careful because you need some time to visit this cave. Indeed, from the parking lot, two km await yo before arriving at the entrance. Then, the 550-meters-climb is rough.
Inside the cave, it is just fabulous, very high, very large, very long, nearly 1.5 km. We highlight the possibility to visit this cave by yourself, without a guide.
We arrive in the Phong Nha town near 3:30 pm. We are hungry! The best place to eat at any time is at the Victory Hills, near the river in the center of the city. The specialty is its burgers!
We are tired, the pool of our hotel calls us.
On Sunday, we continue our tour near the hotel with a group. It is the perfect time to discover nature, people around, tombs, karstic mountains, and more. To make it easier, you can ask your hotel to organize this trip for you.
On Monday morning, we visit Phong Nha Cave with a small boat. If you want to plan it by yourself, you can find a boat driver in the center of the town for about 350,000 VND (≈ 15 USD).
It is a very different cave compared to the Paradise Cave as this one is in the water. Around 2 hours of the visit are required.
It is nearly 1 pm when we come back to the hotel. It is time to check out and go back to the Dong Hoi: nearly 45 minutes in a motorbike.
We stop in the city at the TreeHugger Café: an amazing tuna sandwich, a nice atmosphere, near the beach. We finish our day by walking around and take our plane.