Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park is located in Bo Trach district, and Minh Hoa, Quang Binh province, about 50 km northwest of Dong Hoi city. Phong Nha – Ke Bang is recognized as a world heritage site along with the continuous discovery of wonderful caves, which has made visitors flock more and more crowded here.
1. General information
The name of this national park is composed of two components: the name of Phong Nha cave and the name of the Ke Bang limestone forest. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is one of the two largest limestone areas in the world. In Phong Nha-Ke Bang, there is a system of about 300 large and small caves. Phong Nha cave system has been rated by the Royal British Cave Research Association (BCRA) as the world’s most valuable cave with four points: the longest underground rivers, the tallest and widest mouths, the widest and most beautiful sandbanks, the most beautiful stalactites.
2. Why should we visit Phong Nha – Ke Bang?
Phong Nha cave used to be considered the largest and most beautiful cave in this cave complex. In 2005, the British Cave Association discovered a dry cave, named Paradise Cave, the largest and most beautiful in Phong Nha – The Bang. According to the assessment, Thien Duong cave is bigger and more beautiful than the Phong Nha cave.
Phong Nha – Ke Bang is considered to have the most diverse natural system among all national parks and national biosphere reserves in the world. 96.2% of the national park is covered with forests. Phong Nha – Ke Bang is home to many animals in the Red Book of the world.
3. The ideal time to travel to Phong Nha Ke Bang
Should travel to Phong Nha Ke Bang around April-August, at this time not in the rainy season, the weather is sunny, so it is very suitable for sightseeing activities, swimming, and rowing activities. From September to March, the river water rises, so you won’t be able to visit Phong Nha cave (other dry caves like Tien Son and Thien Duong can still visit).
4. How to get to Quang Binh
To reach Quang Binh by plane you can depart from 1 of 3 cities: Hanoi, Saigon, and Hai Phong. From Hanoi, there are daily flights to Dong Hoi of Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet. From Saigon, flights of Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar, and Vietjet will take you to Dong Hoi after about 1h30 minutes.
Railway Traffic Quang Binh has a North-South railway running through, in which Dong Hoi station is one of eight main stations. If you want to board the train at night and arrive in Dong Hoi in the morning, you can choose the SE3 train from Hanoi at 19:30 and arrive in Dong Hoi at 5:20 pm, the SE19 train from Hanoi at 20.10 and arrive at Dong Hoi at 6:00. The most reasonable is the 6 am (SE7) trip will arrive in Dong Hoi at about 16:30, just matching hotel check-in time. For the afternoon from Saigon, you can choose the SE6 train from Saigon at 9:00 and arrive at Dong Hoi at 8:27, the SE12 train from Saigon at 7:55 and to Dong Hoi at 9:26.
5. What to visit in Phong Nha – Ke Bang
Phong Nha Cave
Of all the caves of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, Phong Nha is the most convenient cave for tourists to visit. After a 30-minute cruise on the Son River, tourists will be taken to the Phong Nha cave entrance. With a length of nearly 8km, Phong Nha is one of the longest water caves in the world, this is also the cave with the only underground river in Vietnam being exploited for tourism.
Tien Son Cave
Tien Son Cave or Dry Cave is a famous beautiful cave in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang area. The entrance to Tien Son cave is about 1,000 m from the Phong Nha cave entrance, about 200 meters above sea level. Tien Son Cave is 980 m long. From the cave entrance to about 400 m there is a pool about 10 m deep, and then the underground rock cave continues nearly 500 m long. It’s quite dangerous so visitors are not allowed to come to this area but only visit the distance. 400 m from the cave entrance. This cave was discovered in 1935, at first, local residents called this cave Tien, due to its mystical beauty. Later Tien Son cave was called Dry cave, to distinguish it from Phong Nha cave as a water cave. Tien Son Cave is a place where there are majestic stalactites and stalagmites like in Phong Nha cave. However, with its own characteristic, the sound emanating from the stone slabs and stone pillars when knocked on echoes like a drumbeat.
Paradise cave was discovered in 2005 by the Royal British Cave Association and determined that this cave has a total length of 31 km. Due to the beauty of the cave, they named this cave Heaven. Thien Duong is considered to be a bigger and longer cave than Phong Nha cave. This is a dry cave with no underground river flowing through like Phong Nha cave. In Thien Duong cave there are many magical stalactites and stalagmites. Most of the earthquake foundation is flexible, quite flat, so it is convenient for sightseeing and exploration. While the summer temperature outside is 36-37 ° C, the temperature in Paradise cave is always 20-21 ° C.
Located in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, the Mooc Spring eco-tourism route is an impressive tour to the newly discovered area. This ecotourism route passes through a dense forest of limestone forests, along the tiny streams of Mooc Stream and the Chay River. Guests can relax and enjoy relaxing moments while immersing themselves in the wonderful cool stream of the stream, trying out water games, or kayaking with friends.
Dark Cave – Song Chay
The Chay River – Dark Cave eco-tourism area has been put into operation by Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park since 2011. It is operated as a form of tourism combined with yachts to explore the nature of the river and visit mysterious caves. Make visitors feel lost in the wilderness in the beauty of the natural world. Chay River is derived from the same limestone mountains in the ancient limestone mountains in Phong Nha – Ke Bang, about 10km in length. The journey to explore the Chay river – Toi cave tour usually starts from the pier at the Tro Muong ranger station. On a dazzling summer day, visitors will feel a change in temperature as the boat approaches the Dark cave entrance. Dark Cave is a branch of the Phong Nha cave system, surveyed by explorers of the Royal Cave Association in 1990 and 1992. Like many caves in the Phong Nha – Ke Bang area, the Dark cave is both a water cave and a dry cave with a total length of 5,258 meters and a height of 80 meters.
6. Adventure tours
For the locations below, you can only get there by registering through a tour operator. Can’t come to these places on your own because it’s quite dangerous.
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 connecting more than 150 other caves in Vietnam near the border with Laos. Currently, to participate in exploring Son Doong, you need to join the tour through Oxalis company. The cost is $ 3000 with guaranteed fitness. Please be noted that there is no way for you to go to Son Do by yourself.
Tu Lan Cave
The Tu Lan cave system includes more than 10 caves in total, some of which were originally discovered and discovered in 1992, and some have been found only in the past few years. Tu Lan is located 70 km from Phong Nha -Ke Bang National Park, next to the ethnic minority village of Tan Hoa. Exploring Tu Lan is a journey that includes a variety of physical activities, from walking to climbing. There are many sections where you will need to swim in streams and upstream. To join this journey you are required to join a tour by Oxalis (the only company allowed to bring visitors here) with a cost of about $ 8000.