Phong Nha Travel Guide
Best Things to Do in Phong Nha
Whether you have a week or just 2 days in Phong Nha, there are some certain places that you should definitely not miss out on and therefore should prioritize! You can either do the following by yourself or take a guided tour through your hostel/hotel. Tours are mentioned as the list goes on, and to do it yourself, you will find a map of the Phong Nha loop as you scroll down.
1. Phong Nha and Tien Son caves:
Phong Nha is the first cave in the area that opened to the public. The US Army dropped over a thousand bombs in Central Vietnam including this area during the Vietnam War. Phong Nha cave was actually used during this time as a hospital and a place to hide from the bombs. There should have been so many items left over from the war left in the caves, but floods come every year and sweep away what’s inside. However, the stories left in the memories of the locals haven’t been washed away.
The only way to visit Phong Nha is by taking the traditional dragon boat from the Xuan Son boat dock. The locals will drive you up the river. You will be rewarded with stunning views of the natural Karst mountains and of course, of the local river life.
Phong Nha Cave - Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park
Tien Son is a smaller dry cave just a few meters above the Phong Nha cave and will take you another 2 hours to visit. After climbing the 400 stairs, you will have a beautiful view of the quiet town below.
A good way to visit these caves is to join the 9 AM morning talk at Easy Tiger Hostel. You will be provided with all the necessary information about the area and you will also be able to find a good group of people to share the boat with.
- To Phong Nha cave: 150.000 VND
- To Tien Son cave: 80.000 VND
Boat price (shared):
- To Phong Nha: 360.000 VND
- To Tien Son: 400.000 VND
2. Paradise Cave:
Paradise Cave is the longest dry cave in South East Asia with a length of 31.4 kilometers. If you are in Phong Nha, and you never visit Paradise Cave, then you might as well tell others that you were never in Phong Nha. It is THE place to go. The 1st kilometer, you can easily explored by yourself, but if you want something adventurous, you can take the 1-day tour of Paradise cave that includes a trek of 7km in total. Physical fitness is required for this tour but don’t worry, it’s not too extreme.
Paradise Cave - Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park
Entrance ticket: 250.000 VND
3. Dark cave:
If you want to put your body through a slight trial, Dark caves is ideal. In addition to exploring the cave, your activities will include kayaking through the river to get there, having a mud fight in the mud baths inside, swimming in the lake, and zip-lining above the river. The entrance ticket for the Dark Cave including activities is 450.000 VND (including kayaking, zip-lining, equipment, and guide).
Dark Cave - Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park
There is another part of the Dark Cave, by the way! But to get there, you have to do a 12km trek/hike through the jungle to the Abandoned Valley at the end of the cave and then swim into the cave from there. It is an amazing and authentic experience. To explore the Abandon valley, and the end of the Dark Cave, you should take a tour with the Jungle Boss company. Tour price is 1.650.000 VND/pax and this includes English speaking guide, porters, transportation, and meals. You will trek through the jungle, up misty mountains, wade up-stream of the river, jump into a freshwater lagoon and swim inside a giant cave. What else do you need?
4. Son Doong Cave:
Son Doong Cave in Tan Trach Commune, Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam is considered the largest natural cave in the world. This cave is located in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang cave complex. Son Doong Cave is part of an underground system connected to more than 150 other caves in Vietnam near the border with Laos.
Son Doong Cave - Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park
The New York Times ranked Son Doong cave at the 8th position of 52 places in the list of places to be in 2014.
5. Trekking & Camping in National Park:
Phong Nha Ke Bang national park is the biggest national park in Vietnam and is always mentioned in the list of the must-see parks in South East Asia. Famous for its tropical forests, underground rivers, ancient limestone karst mountains and a vast network of caves, it is definitely worth your visit.
Trekking in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park
There are 2 ways to explore the park: one is by taking a loop around national park by motorbike or your other option is to take a Trekking Tour exploring the jungle.
Other Adventure Tours for Trekking & Camping visit at https://adventurejourney.vn/phong-nha-tours.html