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How to visit Phong Nha? – Arrival & Departure Guide

Oxalis Adventure Tours is based in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, which is located 45 mins drive from Dong Hoi City in Vietnam. Due to the parks increasing popularity, it is becoming easier to travel to Phong Nha. There are more connections and ways to reach Phong Nha than ever before.

With plenty of things to see and do in Phong Nha, this safe, affordable and charming destination is one of those last few places on Earth, which are yet to be completely discovered. Phong Nha is not just a beautiful remote village in Vietnam, it’s a different world in itself and it beckons you to be a part of it.

‘How to get to Phong Nha’ is one of the most frequently asked questions by people interested in traveling Quang Binh. In this article, we have shared the best tips on how to get to Phong Nha. We have also listed out types of transportation from/to different destinations to/from Phong Nha as below for you. Please be aware that all suggested bus, train and airline companies, and their agencies, operate entirely independently of Oxalis Adventure Tours. The following information is given in good faith, and Oxalis Adventure Tours accepts no responsibility for the service provided by any other company.

Please note: There is limited English communication in the transportation system throughout Vietnam.

Hanoi to Dong Hoi Trains

Hanoi to/from Phong Nha

It is relatively easy to reach Phong Nha from Hanoi, and vice versa. There are a number of transport options: including train, bus and plane. Most bus companies will now stop directly in Phong Nha. Therefore, the bus option is becoming a popular choice among travelers, as it saves on the additional transfer required from Dong Hoi (closest train station and airport to Phong Nha).

(Please be aware that all suggested bus, train and airline companies, and their agencies, operate entirely independently of Oxalis Adventure Tours. The following information is given in good faith, and Oxalis Adventure Tours accepts no responsibility for the service provided by any other company)

Bus Travel

You can catch Camel, Hung Thanh or Queen Bus.

They will depart at around 7:00 PM from Ha Noi to Phong Nha. You can either book in person, through your hotels in Hanoi, telephone or at their offices with the price of VND 250,000/person:

• Camel Travel Bus office: 459 Tran Khat Chan St., Tel: +84 24 8585 0555 (8:00 AM – 10:00 PM). The bus stops in Phong Nha, outside the Phong Nha Backpackers Hostel between 4 and 5 AM the next morning.

• Hung Thanh Bus: 162B Tran Quang Khai St., Tel: +84 39274285. The bus stops in Phong Nha, outside the Easy Tiger Hostel between 4 and 5 AM the next morning.

• Queen Bus: 208 Tran Quang Khai St., Tel +84 24 3903 6036. The bus stops in Phong Nha, outside the Central Backpackers Hostel between 4 and 5 AM the next morning.

Those buses also provide a Phong Nha – Ha Noi route, departing at 9:00 PM, and arriving into Ha Noi at 6:00 AM. You can buy tickets at their offices in Phong Nha or through your hotel.

Train Travel

Trains are an enjoyable way to travel, and see a bit of the countryside. They are especially comfortable if you purchase a ticket in a soft-sleeper cabin. There are only 4 beds in the cabin, so there is enough room to sit up or lie down. A hard-sleeper cabin does not provide enough room to sit up, and there are 6 beds per room. Overnight trains are a good option, you not only get somewhere to sleep for a night but also avoid missing out on another day of adventure.

We recommend the following overnight train from Hanoi to Dong Hoi:

 

Train No

Departs

Arrives

SE3

7:30 PM

05:20 AM

 

Unfortunately, train schedules cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, if you plan to join in any 1 day tour, we advise that you travel directly by bus, arriving in Phong Nha, on your tour commencement date. Or, if you choose to fly, or travel by train, you should plan to arrive in Phong Nha 1 day before the tour commences.

If you choose to arrive in Dong Hoi by train on the same morning the tour depart, please make sure you take the train numbers SE3 and have the private transfer arranged with Oxalis in advance.

If you plan on traveling to Hanoi, on the same evening that you complete your tour with Oxalis, we highly recommend you to take the overnight bus departs at around 9:30 PM in Phong Nha for Hanoi. If the train is your preferred transportation, you will need to book a private transfer from Phong Nha to Dong Hoi, ahead of time. You can check the train schedule via the Vietnam Railway official website http://dsvn.vn (English/Vietnamese) or contact https://www.baolau.com to book your train tickets in advance.

Air Travel

Of course, the fastest mode of transport is to fly direct: Hanoi to Dong Hoi, this is just a 1 hour and 25-minute flight. However, you have to factor in the time travelings to the airport (1 hour from Old Quarters). It is best to check the Vietnam Airlines or Bamboo Airways websites ahead of time to ensure an available flight on your desired travel dates. Otherwise, we suggest using the train or bus. Note that if you choose to fly, then you will have to book a transfer from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha.

Ninh Binh to/from Phong Nha

Ninh Binh is located on the way from Hanoi to Phong Nha, so you can use the same bus or train transportation.

(Please be aware that all suggested bus, train and airline companies, and their agencies, operate entirely independently of Oxalis Adventure Tours. The following information is given in good faith, and Oxalis Adventure Tours accepts no responsibility for the service provided by any other company.)

Bus Travel

From Ninh Binh you can catch a Queen Cafe Bus at 46 27 Tháng 7, Nam Bình or Duc Tuan hotel & Restaurant, Tam Coc, Ninh Binh. This bus stops at  Central Backpackers Hostel between 4:00 and 5:00 AM.

Queen Cafe Bus also provides a Phong Nha – Ninh Binh route, departing at 9:00 PM and arriving into Ninh Binh at 4:00 AM. You can buy tickets in Phong Nha at Central Backpackers Hostel, located on 20 Highway, Xuan Tien Village, Son Trach Commune, Bo Trach District, Quang Binh.

Train Travel

Trains are an enjoyable way to travel and see a bit of the countryside. They are especially comfortable if you purchase a ticket in a soft-sleeper cabin. There are only 4 beds in the cabin, so there is enough room to sit up or lie down. A hard-sleeper cabin does not provide enough room to sit up, and there are 6 beds per room. Overnight trains are also a good option, you not only have somewhere to sleep for a night, but you avoid missing out on another day of adventure.

We recommend the following overnight trains from Ninh Binh to Dong Hoi:

 

Train No

Departs

Arrives

SE3

9:47 PM

05:20 AM

 

Unfortunately, train schedules cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, if you plan to join any 1 day tour, we advise that you travel directly by bus, arriving in Phong Nha on your tour commencement date. Or, if you choose to fly, or travel by train, you should plan to arrive in Phong Nha, 1 day before the tour commences.

If you plan on travelling to Ninh Binh, on the same evening that you complete your tour with Oxalis, we highly recommend you to take the overnight bus departs at around 9:30PM in Phong Nha for Ninh Binh. If train is your prefer transportation, you will need to book a private transfer from Phong Nha to Dong Hoi, ahead of time at price 640,000 VND/one-way/4seater car.

You can check the train schedule via the Vietnam Railway official website http://dsvn.vn (English/Vietnamese) or contact https://www.baolau.com to book your train tickets in advance.

Ha Long to/from Phong Nha

The location of Ha Long means that you must travel to Hanoi to get transport to Phong Nha by bus,train or air travel.

(Please be aware that all suggested bus, train and airline companies, and their agencies, operate entirely independently of Oxalis Adventure Tours. The following information is given in good faith, and Oxalis Adventure Tours accepts no responsibility for the service provided by any other company.)

Hoang Long Bus Company has a daily bus, departing at 07:00 PM from 02 Nguyen Van Cu, Ha Long, Quang Ninh. It arrives at, 287 Ly Thuong Kiet, Dong Hoi at 09:18 AM. From Dong Hoi, you will need to book an additional transfer to Phong Nha.

We are happy to offer you a private transfer between Dong Hoi and Phong Nha in a 4-seater car for VND 640,000 each way.

Hue to Dong Hoi Trains

Hue to/from Phong Nha

Hue is located just a few hours’ drive from the jungle and caving capital of Vietnam. It is a relatively convenient route with trains and buses of offer from a number of companies, as well as it being a short drive by private transfer if you preferred.

(Please be aware that all suggested bus, train and airline companies, and their agencies, operate entirely independently of Oxalis Adventure Tours. The following information is given in good faith, and Oxalis Adventure Tours accepts no responsibility for the service provided by any other company.)

Bus Travel

If you are traveling from Hue to Phong Nha by bus, you can catch the Hung Thanh Bus at 49 Chu Van An, Hue between 16:30 – 17:00 (4:30 – 5:00 PM). The bus will drop off in Phong Nha around 9:00 – 9:30 PM.

You also have the option of the Tan Nhat Bus, departing from 1A Hung Vuong St (center of Hue City) at 7:00 AM and arriving into Phong Nha about 11:00 AM.

Hung Thanh Bus is also an option which leaves Phong Nha at 04:00 AM or 07:00 AM, from Hung Thanh Bus Office, located  next to Reception Area at Easy Tiger Café & Hostel

Train Travel

Hue is just a short 3-hour train journey from Dong Hoi and is a popular city to visit before, or after, one of our caving adventures. However, the connections in the late evening or morning are inconvenient, and would have you arriving in Dong Hoi, bleary-eyed, at 1:00 AM or 4:30 AM, making it difficult to check in to any hotel.

We would suggest arriving the day before if you intend to take a train from Hue. This ensures that you have plenty of rest before your jungle and caving adventure. Do not forget, if you are travelling on the train to Dong Hoi, you will need to book an additional transfer between Dong Hoi and Phong Nha. We are happy to offer you a private transfer between Dong Hoi and Phong Nha in a 4-seater car for VND 640,000 each way.

You can check the train schedule via the Vietnam Railway official website: http://dsvn.vn(English/Vietnamese)or contact https://www.baolau.com to book your train tickets in advance.

Private Transfer

We are happy to offer you a private transfer between Hue and Phong Nha in a 4-seater car for VND 2,500,000 each way. Please indicate the number of passengers, when booking a private transfer with us.

If you have any questions regarding transfers, or need help deciding your best means of transportation before, or after, an Oxalis Adventure Tour, please do not hesitate to contact an Oxalis Travel Specialist for their recommendations regarding your travels.

Dong Hoi Hotels

Da Nang (Hoi An) to/from Phong Nha

Da Nang is the biggest city in central Vietnam, with beautiful beaches, mountains and  only a 45 min drive from the UNESCO world-heritage town of Hoi An. It is a 7 hour train/bus journey between Da Nang and Phong Nha.

(Please be aware that all suggested bus, train and airline companies, and their agencies, operate entirely independently of Oxalis Adventure Tours. The following information is given in good faith, and Oxalis Adventure Tours accepts no responsibility for the service provided by any other company.)

Bus Travel

From Hoi An to Phong Nha by bus, you can catch Nam Ha Bus. It departs Parking Area at opposite to Hoi An Theatre – Water Puppets, 548 Hai Ba Trung Street, Hoi An at 9:00 AM. Please notice that you will be transferred to Da Nang Bus Station for 2-3 hours before departing for Phong Nha at 1:00 PM.

From Da Nang, there is Hanh Luyen Bus which leaves Da Nang Bus Station at 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM.

If you are going from Phong Nha to Hoi An by bus, there is Camel Bus Travel departing Phong Nha between 4:00 – 4:30 AM and 07:00 AM – 07:30 AM from Phong Nha Backpacker Hostel. It arrives into Hue first, once there, you will be transferred onto a different bus. You will then continue on to Da Nang, and then Hoi An, arriving into Hoi An around 12:00 PM or 02:00 PM.

Hung Thanh Bus is also an option which leaves Phong Nha at 04:00 AM or 07:00 AM, from Hung Thanh Bus Office, located at Capture Vietnam. However, you will stop by Hue at 49 Chu Van An St, for an hour before you continue your journey to Hoi An, arriving into Hoi An around 01:00 PM or 05:00 PM.

Train Travel

There is no train station in Hoi An. You will need to transfer to Da Nang first if you would like to travel by train.

We recommend arriving the day before your tour if you are taking the train from Da Nang. This ensures that you get a good night sleep, and are not arriving too early in the morning. From Dong Hoi, you will need to book an additional transfer to Phong Nha. We are happy to offer you a private transfer between Dong Hoi and Phong Nha, in a 4-seater car for VND 640,000 each way.

You can check the train schedule via the Vietnam Railway official website http://dsvn.vn(English/Vietnamese) or contact https://www.baolau.com to book your train tickets in advance.

Private Transfer

We are happy to offer you a private transfer between Da Nang or Hoi An and Phong Nha. To and from Da Nang costs VND 3,300,000/private car for maximum 4 passengers and to/from Hoi An VND 3,800,000 each way in a comfortable 4 seater car. Please indicate the number of passengers when booking a private transfer with us.

If you have any questions regarding transfers or need help on deciding your best means of transportation before, or after, an Oxalis Adventure Tour, please do not hesitate to contact an Oxalis Travel Specialist for their recommendations for your travels.

Ho Chi Minh City to Phong Nha Flights

Ho Chi Minh City to Phong Nha

Ho Chi Minh City, still known by its former name of Saigon, is the biggest city in Vietnam. It is a focal point for those looking to see such highlights as the Mekong Delta, and it is a hub for international travel.

(Please be aware that all suggested bus, train and airline companies, and their agencies, operate entirely independently of Oxalis Adventure Tours. The following information is given in good faith, and Oxalis Adventure Tours accepts no responsibility for the service provided by any other company.)

The only practical way to journey between Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and Phong Nha is to take a flight with either, Vietnam AirlinesJetstar Pacific or VietjetAir, to Dong Hoi City (located 45 mins drive from Phong Nha). From Dong Hoi, you will need to book an additional transfer to Phong Nha. We are happy to offer you a private transfer between Dong Hoi and Phong Nha in a 4-seater car for VND 640,000 each way.

The bus and train journeys are both just too long to be viable options for those wanting to travel quickly between the two cities. Alternatively, for those on a budget, but who have a little more time, it is common to find that the cheapest flights are often available between HCMC and Da Nang or Hue (versus direct to Dong Hoi). From Da Nang or Hue, one can find a train to get to Dong Hoi, or even a bus to Phong Nha directly.

Flights to Dong Hoi

International flights

(Please be aware that all suggested bus, train and airline companies, and their agencies, operate entirely independently of Oxalis Adventure Tours. The following information is given in good faith, and Oxalis Adventure Tours accepts no responsibility for the service provided by any other company.)

International flights are an important consideration for those travelling from around the world. There are several international airports within Vietnam:

  • Hanoi (Noi Bai International Airport)
  • Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City (Tan Son Nhat International Airport)
  • Da Nang (Da Nang International Airport)

If you fly into Saigon, you will need to take another flight to reach us. If you fly into Hanoi, you can reach us by flight, bus or train. From Da Nang, you can reach us by bus or train. Please see more information regarding domestic travel above.

For international customers, please note that we cannot advise you regarding border crossings/visa regulations etc, if you are entering or exiting Vietnam by bus or motorcycle.

Complimentary beds in dorm room at Oxalis Home for early arriving guests

We also offer a free 6-bed dorm room at Oxalis Home for our adventurers who arrive in Phong Nha early in the morning, few hours ahead of their booked tour departure. Here you can catch some shut eye and be prepared right before your tour departs. This dorm room comes with air-conditioning, comfortable bedding and is equipped with Wi-Fi as well. This free dorm facility can only be availed by customers who arrive early in the morning on the same day as their tour departure and is only available for a short stay (2-4 hours before tour departure).

Please contact our team in advance if you arrive early and would love to stay with us before your tour at [email protected]

Oxalis Adventure Tours

ONE DAY TOURS

If you are seeking a taste of the caves and really don’t have enough time then we recommend a one-day cave and jungle trek. We currently have three tour options for you to select, each with a slightly different style and suitability.

• Phong Nha National Park 1-DayOur family adventure in the Phong Nha offers a great taste of untouched jungle and impressive wild caves. It is the easiest level of adventure but there is still 5km of trekking and 2km of caving, and optional swimming during warmer weather into one cave. It’s suitable for kids from 12 and above with good fitness, and so this makes for a great day for everyone! It costs VND 1,650,000 per person (USD 72).

• Tu Lan Experience – 1 DayThis is one of our original one-day tours and still one of the best adventures in Vietnam. This one-day tour includes rock scrambling, 50m swimming through a wild river-cave, and up to 9 km of trekking through the lush jungles. You will also strap yourself in for a 15m descent down a ladder. It costs VND 1,800,000 (USD 78) per person.

• Hang Tien Discovery – 1 DayThis one-day tour is perfect for trekking enthusiasts eager to see the largest cave of Tu Lan but without time for the two-day experience. Hang Tien is a dry cave so no swimming required, but still includes up to 4km of trekking through mostly flat jungle and about 500m exploring this incredible cave that will no doubt impress with its grandeur. It costs VND 2,000,000 per person (USD 87).

TWO DAY TOURS

Our most popular cave adventures start from two-days providing an immersive jungle and caving adventure, each targeting a slightly different kind of adventure-seeker, or perfect for those who want to combine a couple of tours to see different caves and areas on one trip to Phong Nha.

• Tu Lan Cave Encounter – 2 DaysOur most popular tour exploring the famous jungle area of Tu Lan. On this overnight camping excursion, you will trek through a number of different dry caves, swim up to 500m through a couple of river caves, witness outstanding cascading waterfalls underground as featured in National Geographic, and spend the night at our jungle camp beside a gorgeous waterfall. It includes 12km of trekking and 3km of caving in total and is for those with a good adventurous spirit. It costs VND 5,500,000 per person (USD 239).

• Hang En Cave Adventure – 2 DaysFor two days, this is our best-value-for-money tour that includes one of the most jaw-dropping natural landscapes you will see in this lifetime. This cave is considered the second largest cave in Vietnam and third largest in the World, and it also makes up one night of the original five-day Son Doong Cave Expedition being so close to the largest cave in the world. It includes visiting Ban Doong Ethnic Village, located in the jungle, and a magnificent campsite on a sandy beach inside the cave. It includes 22km of jungle trekking at times quite rocky, multiple knee-deep river crossings, and elevation change of 400m (the ‘hill’ you won’t forget), and 4km of caving. This is a level 3 adventure on a scale of 1 to 6. It costs VND 7,600,000 per person (USD 330).

• Hang Tien Endeavor – 2 DaysA two-day trek into the jungle to see the largest dry cave of the Tu Lan area, exploring 5.5km of this truly stunning cave, with a variety of karst formations. This 13km trek is suitable for those not too keen on cave swimming or too many hills, but still up for an adventure. This is a level 3 adventure between 1 and 6, with 6 being the most challenging. It costs VND 6,500,000 per person (USD 283).

• Hang Va Expedition – 2 DaysA technically challenging, but equally rewarding two-day caving adventure in the heart of Phong Nha National Park. This tour takes you deep into the jungle to one of the most spectacular river-caves, with formations not seen anywhere else in the world! It involves rock scrambling, wading through an underground river, bouldering and rope-traversing within the cave, to reach the rarest tower cone formations. This involves quite a lot of technical work due to safety, but is not overly difficult, it includes 10km of trekking and 3 km of caving.  This is a level 4 adventure, with 6 being the highest. It costs VND 8,000,000 per person (USD 348).

THREE-DAY TOURS

Now, if you really want to increase the adventure and soak up the wild jungle of Vietnam, with plenty of time to relax and enjoy the area, we highly recommend a three-day caving tour of our Tu Lan or Hang Tien.

• Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer – 3 DaysThis tour incorporates the very best of Tu Lan with two different jungle campsites besides stunning waterfalls, 3km of cave exploring through a number of caves, 1km of cave swimming and visiting some additional areas not included on our shorter experiences. Our three-day tour is very popular and tends to be booked out so get in quick to enjoy this thrilling jungle adventure. It includes 17 km of jungle trekking and with quite a bit of swimming you will need to have a good level of fitness. It is not for the faint-hearted, but still only considered level 3 adventure level compared to level 4 of the Hang Tien 3-day tour. It costs VND 8,000,000 per person (USD 348).

• Hang Tien Exploration – 3 DaysThis three-day tour stands out for combining a taste of Tu Lan with some river cave swimming, before crossing a mountain range to reach the valley for Hang Tien – the most astounding dry caves in the region, where you will enjoy trekking, bouldering over various rocky terrains to witnessing breathtaking patterned calcite walls & ceilings of Hang Tien. It’s challenging and definitely more suited to adventure enthusiasts who have trekking experience and prefer more challenging routes. It includes a total of 22km of trekking, 6.5 km of caving and an elevation change of 150m over one particular hillside. You will get wet, you will be challenged, but you will not be disappointed. Hang Tien is located adjacent to the Tu Lan area so you will enjoy the best of both worlds – a level 4 adventure out of 6 adventure levels. It costs VND 8,500,000 per person (USD 370).

FOUR & FIVE-DAY TOURS

For those looking for the ultimate adventure experience in Vietnam, and thriving for the real grand expedition of the world, you should opt for these 4-day journeys to explore the entire cave system of Tu Lan and the largest cave on Earth

• Tu Lan Expedition – 4 DaysYou will also explore all of the extraordinary caves in Tu Lan, including Kim Cave and Secret Cave that boasts phenomenal natural falls and karst formations inside these two unbelievable river caves. Complete a trek through Hang Tien Cave – famed for its vastness and magnificent formations. Our secluded jungle campsites are spectacular and mostly different from those visited on our shorter treks in the same region. This is a perfect alternative expedition for those who are unable to do Son Doong Expedition, still it’s challenging and not recommended for those without experience. It includes an additional night at Chay Lap Farmstay before the tour to ensure you are well rested and ready to depart early the following day. Level 5 on our 6 adventure levels. It includes 30km of jungle trekking, 5 km of caving, about 800m swimming through caves and one abseil in a cave in the pitch black – highly adventurous! It costs VND 15,000,000 per person (USD 652).

• Son Doong Expedition – 4 DaysBy now you would have seen some pictures of Son Doong Cave, and even they don’t do it justice. The record-breaking Son Doong Cave is hands-down one of the most stunning places on this planet Earth. The expedition is tough, but not too difficult so long as you have a strong resolve to achieve. It is surely one of the newest wonders of the world. Son Doong is not just another cave tour – it is life-changing to say the least. It includes 25km of trekking, 9 km caving including rope climbs, and the 90m ascent of the Great Wall of Vietnam using a ladder, elevation change of 400m and many river crossings inside and outside the cave. Level 6 on our adventure levels. It costs VND 69,800,000 per person (USD 3000).

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?  Visit our FAQs section where we have a lot of answers for your questions and concerns. https://oxalis.com.vn/faq-general/

WANT TO SEE VIDEOS OF OUR TOURS? Visit our youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/OxalisAdventurTours

WANT TO CHAT LIVE WITH OUR ADVENTURE CONSULTANT? Please look at the green icon at the right corner on your screen below to talk to our Adventure Consultant.