Discover Phong Nha in a day – a must for cave lovers
Phong Nha is located in the Central part of Vietnam, distance from Hanoi is nearly 500km. From the capital city, I traveled to Phong Nha by car – starting in the early morning and only arriving at our hotel in the evening – time for dinner. The ride takes you almost 10 hours, and the cost of a private transfer is not cheap. For this reason, I strongly recommend you take a short flight to Dong Hoi instead – there are not so many daily flights from Hanoi to Dong Hoi then to ensure availability, you better check with the airlines or your travel consultant early. Plan your Phong Nha cave with Indochina travel and tours now.

Phong Nha Cave

After enjoying a simple breakfast at the hotel, we start our journey to discover the well-known caves of Phong Nha. Let’s come to Phong Nha Cave first. After buying tickets, you will be taken on a motorboat to get into the cave. You will have a chance to enjoy the peaceful lakeside views in approximately 30 minutes. There will be no aircon on the boat. Then it would be good to have a hand fan, hat, and sunglasses.

When we reach the cave gate, they took the roof off the boat so that we can see beautiful stalagmites. They rowed you inside the cave, and a local guide even show us some particular shapes like a hand, corn, etc. It is very interesting to hear that scientists say it takes hundreds of years for two rocks with hand shapes to reach each other. With normal tours, we will explore only about 1.2 km from the entrance gate, where there are lights. For those who prefer to go deeper inside, discovering 4.5km by kayak will be very exciting. Surely, a miner with a torch will be provided.

Phong Nha Cave
Phong Nha Cave

The entrance ticket to Phong Nha Cave is VND150,000 per adult, and the boat ride costs US$360,000. You can share with other people to save costs, as the maximum occupancy is 12 passengers per boat. After visiting Phong Nha Cave, you can also see the nearby Tien Son Cave with an additional fee of VND80,000. I went there with my little daughter, so I skipped this part. Still, some other members of the group agreed that it was worth hiking up the step, and the view is breathtaking.

Dark Cave

In the afternoon, we continue discovering another cave called Dark Cave. There are plenty of exciting activities to do there. I was expecting the zipline, and it was not disappointed me. Deep inside the Dark Cave, the mud bath is good fun and a unique experience that I have never done before. You can also go kayaking on the Chay River. The water is crystal clear, and then photo opportunities are endless. The entrance ticket is VND 450,000 per person, and for me, it is reasonable with mentioned experiences. Dark Cave is a great place to cool off for those with good physical conditions. Still, it is not for everyone –  kids or the elderly. If you are planning to travel to Vietnam for family holiday packages, Paradise Cave seems more suitable.

Zip lining in dark cave
Zip lining in a dark cave

Phong Nha motorbike tour

Another highlight of our Phong Nha trip is the motorbike tour. On the way from Phong Nha town to Dark Cave, you will see mountains, rivers and cows and children – all creating a picturesque scenery of the countryside. On the way back to town from Dark Cave, we ride our motorbike through the national park with lush trees, green and cool.

Riding a motorbike in Phong Nha is a great way to see countryside
Riding a motorbike in Phong Nha is a great way to see the countryside

Sunset on Son River

The best way to finish a day in Phong Nha is to enjoy the sunset on Son River. We choose a coffee shop on the riverside with sunbath chairs and just lie there, sipping a cup of coffee. This kind of quiet and peaceful atmosphere is so hard to find in the city of Hanoi. When you end your trip to Phong Nha, you can either go back to Hanoi or travel onward to Hue–Hoi An with several hours ride by private car or public bus.

Watching sunset near the river is a lovely experience
Watching the sunset near the river is a lovely experience

After they filmed the movie Kong: Skull Island, Quang Binh, and Phong Nha is now becoming a rising attraction. I understand that there are plenty of attractive destinations out there, yet Phong Nha is something different from other popular spots. Just go there before massive tourism knocks this place. Phong Nha Cave, Tien Son Cave, Dark Cave, and Paradise Cave can be seen daily and are not required to book in advance. Still, if you would love to explore En Cave or Son Doong Cave, you will need to check available dates and book early.

As in central Vietnam, you can combine it with Hue and Hoi An, the other attractive destinations in Vietnam. For more details, please check out our Hidden Beauty Central Vietnam 6 days. Then drop a message, and our travel consultant will contact you shortly.

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