Phong Nha Ke Bang is a national park located in the central region of Vietnam. It is home to the world’s largest cave, Son Doong, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Phong Nha Cave. The park offers a unique opportunity to explore the underground wonders of the cave systems. From trekking through the lush jungles to marveling at the stunning rock formations, this is a wonderful land for every type of traveler can expect. In this post, we’ll help you to answer the question: Is Phong Nha worth visiting?
Where is Phong Nha Ke Bang?
Located in the Quang Binh province of central Vietnam. Which is approximately 500 kilometers south of Hanoi, 160 kilometers to the north of Hue, 300 kilometers to the north of Da Nang, and about 800 kilometers to the North of Ho Chi Minh City. Phong Nha National Park is home to a network of over 300 caves. including the world’s largest cave, Son Doong, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Phong Nha Cave.
How to get there?
Dong Hoi to Phong Nha
The most common way to reach Phong Nha is by taking a flight to Dong Hoi City, the closest city to the park in Quang Binh Province. Dong Hoi Airport offers flights from major cities in Vietnam. However, it’s worth noting that Dong Hoi Airport is relatively small, so there may not always be a large selection of flights available.
If you can’t find a suitable flight to Dong Hoi, you may want to consider flying to Phu Bai International Airport in Hue or Da Nang International Airport instead. Then you can travel to Dong Hoi City by bus or private car from either of these airports. The journey from Hue takes around 3 hours, while the journey from Da Nang takes more than 4 hours.
Alternatively, you can take a train to Dong Hoi Station. If you don’t mind spending a long period of travel on a train, this is also a unique opportunity for sightseeing the stunning Vietnam landscape through the journey.
Once from Dong Hoi City, you can take about 45 minutes by bus or taxi to this stunning national park to begin your adventure. Dong Hoi City is available by taxi or bus, but once inside Phong Nha Park, you can only get around by foot, bike, or motorbike.
When should I visit Phong Nha Ke Bang?
The best time to visit Phong Nha Ke Bang is between April and August. When the weather is dry, and the temperatures are mild. You can easily take a trekking or boat trip into the magnificent cave systems.
It’s important to note that Phong Nha Ke Bang is in the rainy season from September to March next year. During this time, the park is prone to flooding, especially in Phong Nha Cave. Because the rising water of the Son River will obscure the cave entrance. Hence, they often close this Cave at this time of year. As a national reserve with a diverse range of fascinating cave systems. This is also a period for the cave to rest and recharge in preparation for the next peak season. However, Tien Son Cave and Paradise Cave are still open normally to welcome all guests. So if you want to plan your journey at this time. Before coming to Quang Binh, you should contact tourist attractions. Or travel companies in Quang Binh for advice.
Signature Phong Nha Cave
Visiting Phong Nha Cave is an awe-inspiring experience as you venture into its majestic underground chambers adorned with mesmerizing stalactites and stalagmites, immersing yourself in the natural wonders of Vietnam’s breathtaking karst landscape.
What to expect?
Located about 50 kilometers northwest of Dong Hoi City and belongs to the Phong Nha National Park campus. It is considered one of Vietnam’s most splendid caves. It is 7,729 meters long and contains 14 grottoes with three major caves, namely the Hang En, Hang Duong, and Hang Tien. This UNESCO Heritage of the World has the longest underground river, 13,969 meters, along with grottoes and cave systems.
Why is it called Phong Nha? This name means Cave of Teeth. Since getting further to the cave, you will be absorbed in the miraculous beauty of stalactites falling down as myriad huge teeth.
Phong Nha Cave was voted one of the most wonderful caves in the world by the British Caving Association for a number of reasons:
- The longest underground river
- The most beautiful underground lake
- The highest and widest entrance
- The most beautiful and widest dry cave
- The most beautiful sandbank and reef
- The most spectacular stalactites, stalagmites, and longest water grottoes.
The cave is also famous for its unique rock formations named for natural shapes such as “Lion,” “Unicorn,” “Octopus,” “Royal Palace,” and “Buddha Statue.”
This cave is divided into two sections: dry caves and water caves. The dry cave is 200 meters above sea level. Geographers believe that the underground river has been dry since ancient times. And there, leaving only the white stone arches and jade-green pillars.
Best way to see Phong Nha Cave
Because of dry and water caves, Phong Nha Cave allows you to explore the cave system by joining a trekking tour or boat crossing the Son River. Normally, you’ll join a boat tour to get into the water caves and take through some spectacular scenery. Then anchor to continue to explore the dry cave next by. The boat ride is a tranquil experience, with the water slowly sliding across blue-green waters towards the park as small towns and steeples fade from view, replaced by karst walls.
Besides being a natural heritage of the world, it’s also a relic system of Ho Chi Minh’s historic road. It collaborated with Xuan Son Ferry to construct a route supporting the battleground of South Vietnam during the war. This location is now the beginning of the Ho Chi Minh trails.
Incredible Son Doong Cave
Son Doong Cave is the largest cave in the world, and its massive size and stunning rock formations are truly awe-inspiring. You can also expect to see an underground jungle, which is a rare and unique feature. The experience of camping inside the cave is also a special and unforgettable experience. That few people have had the opportunity to experience.
In the nutshell
To explore Son Doong Cave, visitors must book a tour with a licensed tour operator as it is not open to the public. Only one company was allowed to organize the discovery of this Cave: Oxalis Company. The standard tour lasts 6 days and 5 nights, including 3 days camping inside the cave and 2 nights staying in hotels before and after an adventure. The price of this Adventure is US $3000, including all government taxes.
To maintain the cave’s pristine nature and ensure visitors’ safety. Son Doong Tours restricts each tour to a maximum of 10 individuals and operates exclusively from January to August each year. The tour group comprises 10 explorers, one cave safety expert, one guide, six safety assistants, two chefs, 17 porters responsible for transporting luggage, food, and camping equipment, and one ranger who accompanies the group throughout the expedition.
You can expect to hike through the jungle, cross rivers, and climb over boulders to reach the entrance of the cave. Once inside, they will be treated to stunning views of underground chambers and unique rock formations that are unlike anything else in the world.
What to Expect?
- Explore the world’s largest and most magnificent cave with real scenery, as Avatar movie.
- Inside the cave, the expanse is so vast that it has a distinct weather system of its own, complete with clouds, fog, and varying temperatures that differ from those outside.
- Opportunity to explore the unique primeval forest and the En Cave – where the Peter Pan movie was filmed.
- Camping in the middle of the magnificent landscape, witness the wonderful nature through sinkholes.
- Visit home to the Bru Van Kieu ethnic community who reside in isolation within the depths of the primeval forest – Doong Village
What do you need for a Son Doong Cave Adventure Tour?
- Son Doong Cave Adventure Tour is classified as Level 6 in the tour organization’s 6 levels of adventure. It is suitable only for individuals with excellent fitness who regularly engage in sports, mountain climbing, or forest trekking.
- Booking a tour requires meticulous planning and preparation. Despite the high price, it remains a highly sought-after experience worldwide, with tours sold out until July and August 2024.
Overall, health, money, time, and planning are all a tour of Son Doong Cave requires.
Charming Paradise Cave
If Son Dong Cave’s stringent requirements and strenuous trek are too much for some visitors. Paradise Cave is another equally impressive alternative. This cave offers a mesmerizing and mysterious experience within the Phong Nha cave system. It is perfect for those who are still keen to explore the natural beauty of the region but prefer a less physically demanding adventure.
The cave is over 31 kilometers long, with the first kilometer open to tourists. Inside, visitors will see a variety of intricate and colorful rock formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and flowstones. The cave’s intricate and colorful rock formations are illuminated by an energy-efficient LED lighting system, creating a mesmerizing and unforgettable experience.
To reach Paradise Cave, visitors can take a 70-kilometer drive from Dong Hoi City, the capital of Quang Binh Province. From the parking lot, visitors can take a scenic walk through the forest or a golf cart or electric car to the cave entrance.
Where to Go Next?
After exploring this hidden wonder of Vietnam, there are many other destinations to consider. Whether you want to explore more of central Vietnam or venture further afield.
If you’re interested in historical and cultural sites, you could head to Hue or Hoi An. Both of which are located in central Vietnam. Hue is known for its imperial citadel, tombs of the Nguyen emperors, and other historical landmarks. Hoi An is a charming coastal town with well-preserved architecture and a vibrant atmosphere.
If you’re looking to explore the North of Vietnam, there are many options to consider. You could visit the capital city of Hanoi, which is home to many historical landmarks and cultural attractions. Or head to the mountainous region of Ha Giang. Where you can trek through stunning mountain landscapes and visit traditional villages.
For those interested in natural beauty, the Northeast region of Vietnam is a must-see. With its rugged terrain, steep mountains, and winding rivers. Ba Be National Park and the Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark are just a few of the many attractions in this stunning region.
Alternatively, you could venture south to the Mekong Delta. Where you can explore scenic waterways, floating markets, and traditional villages, as well as sample delicious local cuisine.
No matter where you choose to go, Vietnam offers a wealth of cultural, historical, and natural attractions to discover. And there’s always something new and exciting to see and experience.
- Many of the adventure activities especially exploring Son Doong Cave or trekking through the jungle, require booking a tour in advance. It’s important to book early, especially during peak season, to ensure availability.
- Depending on the adventure activity, you may need to pack special gear such as hiking boots, rain jackets, and insect repellent. Check with your tour operator or research beforehand to determine what gear you’ll need.
- It’s important to be in good physical shape and to bring appropriate clothing and gear for the adventure activity.
- The hot and humid climate can cause dehydration, especially during physical activity. Be sure to bring plenty of water and hydrate frequently.
- Avoid littering, stay on designated trails, and follow any instructions or guidelines from your tour operator.
- Weather and other factors can impact adventure activities in Phong Nha. It’s important to be flexible and prepared to adjust your plans if necessary.
- Consider staying in a homestay or eco-lodge to immerse yourself in the local culture and environment.
With stunning natural beauty, fascinating history, and world-class cave systems. Phong Nha Ke Bang is a place that will leave a lasting impression on any traveler. This will be an ideal recommendation for you to make a plan for Vietnam tours. So, is it truly worth visiting for you? I’m sure you’ll answer it when pack your bags and embark on an adventure of a lifetime!
To truly experience the beauty of Phong Nha Ke Bang, we recommend taking a Private Tour to customize your itinerary and ensure that you get the most out of your adventure. Indochina Voyages stays focused on customizing and offering all private travel packages. Our Travel Consultants are always available to welcome you warmly!
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