Not long ago the sleepy village of Phong Nha barely got a mention in guidebooks, but the surprise discovery of one of the world’s largest caves has catapulted it into the adventure tourism spotlight. The Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park is a rugged swathe of limestone mountains riddled with gigantic caves. It’s also home to endangered wildlife and ethnic minority groups. The gateway to this land of adventure is Phong Nha, a welcoming village on the banks of the graceful Son River.
Top things to do in Phong Nha
Join a cave expedition
Enter the magical world of Phong Nha’s caves, which number 300 and counting. At Hang Nước Nứt, you can camp at the base of a limestone cliff, and Hang Én features a colossal main chamber with shimmering turquoise pools.
Go in search of wildlife
The ultimate way to discover Phong Nha’s flora and fauna is on Hai’s Eco Conservation Tour. Mr Hai, a young and enthusiastic conservationist, will bring you to the Wildlife Rescue Centre before trekking to the Thác Gió Falls for a cooling dip.
Explore Bồng Lai Valley
Hire a bike and pedal out to the Bồng Lai village in search of the Pub With Cold Beer. Here, only one item is on the menu: sublime grilled chicken served with unbeatable homemade peanut sauce. After lunch, ride to the pretty lookout at Wild Boar Eco Farm.
Walk the eco-trail
Nuoc Mooc Eco Trail is a serene retreat in the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park. Its wooden walkways lead to tropical forest and turquoise streams. Hire a bike, pack a picnic and make your own adventure.
See the Big One
Hang Sơn Đoòng is said to be the largest cave in the world. It’s big enough to accommodate skyscrapers and has its jungle ecosystem. Multi-day tours to Hang Sơn Đoòng last four to six magical days.
Phong Nha Weather
April to June are fantastic months to visit Phong Nha. From July to September temperatures can be on the hotter side. The rainy season runs from October to December generally, and the area can be prone to flooding. The cold sets in from December to February, so bring extra layers for the cool weather.
Phong Nha Transport
Trains arrive at nearby Đồng Hới train station from north and south on the Reunification Express. Direct flights from both the capital and Ho Chi Minh City are also available to Đồng Hới. The easiest way to transfer from Đồng Hới to Phong Nha is by local metered taxi. For budget travellers, buses are available from Hanoi, Huế, or Đà Nẵng. Travellers spending the day exploring caves and sights in the national park should hire a motorbike or car. Riding a bicycle along the river and the Bồng Lai Loop is a laid back way to get around. Finally, hop on a boat to see the Son River and Phong Nha Cave.