Phong Nha Ke Bang: A complete guide to the most beautiful cave in Vietnam 2024
Do you want to discover an unusual natural destination in the center of Vietnam? Head to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, a true paradise for lovers of nature and thrills. You can explore astonishing caves, go hiking in the middle of the tropical forest and along beautiful emerald-colored rivers, have fun with various entertaining and sporting activities: caving, ziplining, canoeing-kayak... In Phong Nha, we don't never get bored! Follow this mini-guide to find out what to do and see in Phong Nha Ke Bang!
- Where is Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park?
- What is the biggest cave in Phong Nha National Park?
- Which caves are absolutely worth visiting?
- What are the must-do activities in Phong Nha?
- What are the specialties in Phong Nha Ke Bang?
- Where to stay in Phong Nha Ke Bang?
- How to get to Phong Nha Ke Bang?
- What is the weather forecast for Phong Nha – Ke Bang?
Where is Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park?
Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, located in the central region of Vietnam, in Quang Binh province, is renowned for its exceptional caves and incredible biodiversity. This destination is approximately 200 km from Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam.
Inaugurated in 1979, this immense park was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2003 because of its remarkable geological attractions and its remarkable biodiversity. Indeed, Phong Nha Ke Bang is home to the oldest karst formations in Asia, dating from the Paleolithic era (around 400 million years BC).
What is the biggest cave in Phong Nha National Park?
Hang Son Đoong Cave is the centerpiece of the Phong Nha cave complex, and it holds the coveted title of the largest natural cave in the world. It is part of a vast underground network that connects more than 150 other caves in Vietnam, near the border with Laos.
In the 20th century, scientists and explorers discovered countless caves, including that of Son Doong, the cave of all records. The latter measures almost 5 kilometers long, 200 meters high and 150 meters wide. Enough to accommodate a skyscraper! Unfortunately, its visit is restricted to researchers and knowledgeable athletes.
Which caves are absolutely worth visiting?
Phong Nha Cave
Phong Nha Cave is arguably the most popular attraction among our travelers. It must be said that this 7.7 km cave has been elected UNESCO cultural heritage and is recognized as the longest underground cave in Asia! The adventure begins by boarding a traditional dragon boat. For 6 km, you will let yourself be lulled by the water while contemplating the magnificent Son River, an incredible emerald blue.
You will have plenty of time to admire pretty fishing boats, hamlets, the tropical forest and karst formations covered with vegetation. Then your boat will enter Phong Nha Cave. The atmosphere is absolutely fantastic with the play of lights on the walls, the immense stalactites, stalagmites and cave cavities of all shapes. It feels like we’re admiring a lunar landscape! At the end of your visit, you will even have the opportunity to walk in the cave, getting as close as possible to the karst formations.
Tien Son Cave
After exiting the lair of Phong Nha Cave, you can climb many steps to reach the mysterious Tien Son Cave, located 400 meters from Phong Nha Cave. Tien Son is an exceptional dry cave, older than that of Phong Nha. Its particularities are to have impressive stalactites and stalagmites and to produce an echo, a sound resembling that of goons and drums when tapping on the walls of the cave. Enough to put yourself in the shoes of Indiana Jones!
Thien Duong Cave (Paradise Cave)
Thien Duong or Paradise Cave is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful caves in the park. Located 20 km from Phong Nha Cave, Thien Duong impresses visitors with its size and gigantic karst formations. It is 31 km long and up to 150 m high, making it the longest dry cavity in Asia. When you enter the cave, you need to go down the stairs of a wooden bridge.
Then, we set off to explore the wonders of this cave for 1 km: incredible stalactites and stalagmites of different sizes and shapes, enhanced by plays of light, fantastic walls... Enough to take beautiful photos! Some sporty visitors can complete a visit to Thien Duong with a 6 km hike - caving, in the deeper bowels of Thien Duong.
What are the must-do activities in Phong Nha?
Phong Nha - Ke Bang Park, in addition to having gigantic caves, has a splendid tropical jungle with diverse biodiversity and emerald blue rivers, which makes this place a great authentic ecotourism complex. Many activities are available to you: trekking, boat trips, canoeing, ziplining, swimming, etc.
Stroll around the Nuoc Mooc ecological park
Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park is located in an important ecological natural area. It is dotted with tropical jungle, emerald blue rivers and limestone rocks. So, you will have plenty of time to walk and breathe the fresh air of this beautiful, serene nature. During your walk, in the forest and along the rivers, you will be able to contemplate a particularly rich biodiversity: birds, butterflies, colorful dragonflies, various flowers including sublime orchids. If the mercury rises, it will be the perfect time to take a dip!
Go kayaking for a beautiful ride
In addition to hiking, Vietnam Découverte also offers a kayak trip on the blue Con River, which has its source in the limestone massifs of the park. This activity will allow you to get as close as possible to the beautiful karst rocks covered with lush vegetation, while having fun. However, it is important to note that this activity requires a certain physical condition.
Having fun in the dark cave
The dark cave, nicknamed “Dark Cave” for the black color of its basalt rocks, is an ideal place for travelers who want to enjoy a multitude of sports and fun activities. On the program: swimming, caving excursion inside the cave equipped with a headlamp, relaxing mud bath inside the cave, canoe-kayak ride and water games.
Additionally, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy a unique and exciting experience by opting for the giant zipline over the rainforest and the emerald blue river. This activity provides an incredible feeling of being a true adventurer by exploring nature in a different way. If you are looking for adrenaline and adventure during your visit to the Dark Cave, the giant zip line is a must.
Hike in Phong Nha Park
Phong Nha is a true natural oasis to discover during a trek or hike. If you like walking, you can explore in depth the rich biodiversity of the tropical forest of Phong Nha Park. Some adventurers go trekking for one or more days, sleep in a tent and discover hidden caves in the forest. An opportunity to marvel at the splendor of nature and feel connected with it.
Take a bike ride in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park
Discover the rustic beauty of the Vietnamese countryside by exploring Phong Nha by bike. Magnificent rice fields, majestic limestone rocks, peaceful buffaloes, lush banana trees, small traditional villages and tranquil ponds await you. You will be immersed in local life and can appreciate the authentic atmosphere of the Vietnamese countryside. Don't miss this unique opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and connect with Vietnamese nature and culture.
What are the specialties in Phong Nha Ke Bang?
In addition to Vietnamese dishes that can be found throughout the country (Pho, fried rice, noodles, banh mi, spring rolls, spring rolls, etc.) and certain Western dishes, there are 2 dishes that we eat more often in Phong Nha:
Cháo canh, a specialty soup from Quang Binh, a dish most often eaten for breakfast. In this soup, we mix fish heads, shrimp, pork, onions. This dish is most often served with cabbage, delicious!
Many restaurants offer numerous barbecue dishes. It can be served in one or more banana leaves. On the menu: rice, vegetables and barbecued meats (chicken, pork, duck, spicy sausages, etc.)
Where to stay in Phong Nha Ke Bang?
Phong Nha Lake House
Phong Nha Lake House is a charming establishment partner of our travel agency, always looking for atypical and authentic accommodation. Its ideal location, located on the banks of Dong Suon Lake and located at the crossroads of tourist caves, will allow you to make the most of your stay. Phong Nha Lake House offers spacious and comfortable rooms with lake views, a swimming pool and a restaurant offering Western and Asian dishes.
Nguyen Shack – Phong Nha Eco resort
Located a few kilometers from the tourist center of Phong Nha, Nguyen Shack - Phong Nha Eco Resort is nestled in the heart of green and peaceful nature, surrounded by limestone rocks and a pond. The property offers several types of wooden accommodation, including comfortable tents for a luxurious camping experience. The friendly restaurant bar and small farm on site add a rustic touch to the overall ambiance.
Chày Lập Farmstay
Chày Lập Farmstay is an ideal accommodation option for travelers seeking authenticity and nature in Phong Nha. This charming accommodation in the countryside offers comfortable rooms in traditional wooden bungalows, surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens and green fields. Guests can also take advantage of the wooden terrace to relax while admiring the views of the surrounding countryside. A unique experience for lovers of nature and unusual wooden accommodation.
How to get to Phong Nha Ke Bang?
Phong Nha - Ke Bang by train:
It is easy and very convenient to get to Phong Nha by train. There are regular day and night trains that leave from many Vietnamese cities: Hanoi, Ninh Binh, Hue, Danang, Ho Chi Minh City… You just need to go to the central station of these cities and get stop at Dong Hoi, a seaside town. Then take a taxi or local bus to the tourist center of Phong Nha.
Our agency recommends that you use this local means of transport if you want to benefit from good value for money and have an authentic experience. Arrived in Dong Hoi, we will offer you the opportunity to go to Phong Nha by private car for greater comfort.
Phong Nha - Ke Bang by sleeper bus:
It is an economical means of transport highly appreciated by backpackers since it allows you to rub shoulders with the locals! Hung Thanh is the most commonly cited reliable bus company. It regularly operates the following direct routes: Hanoi – Phong Nha Ke Bang, Ninh Binh – Phong Nha Ke Bang, Hue – Phong Nha Ke Bang and Danang – Phong Nha Ke Bang by sleeper coach. There are also indirect journeys from Hoi An to Phong Nha with changes in Danang and Hue.
Phong Nha - Ke Bang by plane:
Taking a flight from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City seems the quickest option (Hanoi – Dong Hoi, 1h25). Several airlines operate from Hanoi or Ho Chi
Minh City: Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet air and Hahn Air. However, you will have to pay between $80 and $120 and find a private transfer from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha.
What is the weather forecast for Phong Nha – Ke Bang?
The weather of Phong Nha - Ke Bang is similar to that of the entire northern region of Vietnam with a tropical climate. In winter, it can be cool and drop to 10°C. In summer, on the other hand, temperatures rise and can reach 41°C with stifling humidity.
We recommend that you avoid traveling to Phong Nha - Ke Bang during the rainy season and typhoon period, between October and December as heavy rains may disrupt your stay. Instead, choose a discovery of Phong Nha between February and August to enjoy more pleasant temperatures!
Phong Nha Ke Bang Park has something to satisfy nature lovers, sports enthusiasts, adventurers, the curious, geology enthusiasts... which makes this place an unmissable destination during a trip to Vietnam.