Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in central Vietnam, before reaching Hue and Hoi An if you travel from Hanoi. It is the perfect destination for nature and adventure lovers.
Along with the other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the region: Hue, Hoi An and My Son, Phong Nha Ke Bang creates the “heritage route” in central Vietnam.
In particular, Phong Nha Ke Bang has twice been recognized by UNESCO, for its exceptional geographical values as well as for the diversity of its fauna and flora. So far, about 300 caves and caverns have been discovered, but there are still others that have not been explored yet.
Access to the park is easy, you can get there by bus, train or plane. See the best ways to go to Phong Nha Ke Bang here.
- 1 Top 8 things to experience in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park
- 1.1 Trekking and cave exploration
- 1.2 Trekking in the rain forest to the abandoned valley
- 1.3 Visiting the Paradise Cave
- 1.4 Bathing in the Son River
Top 8 things to experience in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park
Trekking and cave exploration
Phong Nha Ke Bang is renowned as the “kingdom of caves”. Depending on your time and budget, we can choose to visit one or a few caves.
The visit to the caves is very interesting. For example, you will first make a trekking in the jungle then discover a cave, you can swim in the river in the cave, and camp at the edge of the river.
However, each cave offers tourists different experience. They are not the same.
The visit to Phong Nha Cave or the Paradise Cave takes only half a day, while the visit to Son Doong – the largest cave in the world, requires 5 days 4 nights and $ 3000 per person. After visiting the caves, some people said that paradise also existed in the underground.
Access to Phong Nha Cave and Paradise is easy and you can visit it yourself.
On the other hand, for harder caves, it is forbidden to discover them by oneself and it is necessary to reserve a tour at an tour organizer which ensures you the security. Oxalis is the best company in the region. The one day tour costs about $ 100 per person and is well worth it.
Trekking in the rain forest to the abandoned valley
Trekking is one of the most enjoyable experience in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park. Almost all the reviews on the tripadvisor tour are also very good.
This tour is organized by Jungle Boss Homestay whose owner is called Dũng. He had worked as a professional tour guide at Oxalis before starting his business. Some people said that he tried to do his best so that the locals could open their “homestays” instead of selling their land to large companies that will build large buildings and luxury resorts. This is good for protecting nature and maintaining the lifestyle of the locals.
It is a trekking for a day, through streams, caves. You will also enjpoy the barbecue lunch at the edge of a river and swimming in the turquoise water, in a dark cave. You can read more about trekking here.
The price is 1,500,000 VND per person.
Trekking in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park
Visiting the Paradise Cave
The Paradise Cave is fabulous and not to be missed on your trip to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park.
It is 35km from the center of the park where most hotels are located. To get there, we can rent a scooter or buy an organized tour on-site.
The entrance fee is 250,000 dong/person and the visit will last for about 2-3 hours.
Suggestions for accommodation in the center of the park:
- Victory Road Villas: new beautiful hotel with swimming pool, located at the edge of the river and having a beautiful view of the valley. It is near the visitor center of the park. Its rooms are spacious, clean, very well decorated.
- Chay Lap Farmstay: the ideal place for families with children (garden, pool, bike ride etc.).
Bathing in the Son River
In order to access the Phong Nha Cave, we will have to take a boat trip on the Son River. During the hot days (in summer: from May to September), it is nice to swim in the river in the late afternoon when all the boats are gone. We will be in a calm and beautiful landscape.
If you stay at Ho Khanh’s Homestay or Oxalis Home, you can enjoy view from their rooms.
Phong Nha Cave Tour
Phong Nha Cave is located in the center of the park, where most hotels are concentrated. To access it, you have to take a 3-hour boat trip for round trip. We can walk to the pier to buy the ticket and rent a boat.
The cave is beautiful but it is not as fabulous and impressive as Paradise Cave. However, after the visit to the cave, we can climb to another cave, higher up in the mountain.
The entrance fee: 150,000 VND. You will be able to share the boat with other people. A boat trip costs 320,000 VND for up to 10 people.
Zipline, kayaking, mudbathing at Song Chay – Hang Toi site (Chay River – Dark Cave site)
It’s an interesting site that attracts a lot of young travelers. We can spend a half-day there even a day because there are several activities: downhill zip (not for those weighing less than 45kg and more than 100kg), kakak ride, canoe, swimming in the emerald water, cave discoveries, mud bathing in a cave and other water sports.
This site is a bit far from the center of the park (18km) and you normally have to rent a scotter or a car to go there.
Entrance fee which already includes the rental of lifejacket and electric torch: 350 000VND per person.
Bike or motorcycle ride in the park and the countryside
Travelers like to go for a bike ride in the countryside or motorbike ride in the park. But be careful because it is very hot between May and late August.
You can cycle through the countryside, rice fields, the Ho Chi Minh Trail, caves and so on. Some recommend a cycling day in the beautiful Bồng Lai Valley, where you can enjoy delicious grilled chicken and cold beer at Pub with Cold Beer or at other restaurants such as Mối Mối, The Duck Stop Wild Boar Eco Farm. Phong Nha Adventure Cycling offers this type of services.
To rent a motorbike, you can contact Thang’s Phong Nha Riders: +84 (0) 164 659 0719
If you will have more time in Phong Nha, you will be able to visit other sites such as: Suối Nước Mọc, where you can do some water sports, the botanical garden; or you can relax at the seaside in Đồng Hới, a town 50km from the park. The beach is very beautiful, white sand and turquoise water. Sun Spa Resort is the perfect choice for accommodation here.