Quang Binh is the narrowest province in the upper middle region of Vietnam with the width of only 50 km from its border with Laos to the seashore. Quang Binh is famous for its caves, incredible mountain scenery, and its sprawling beaches, along with unforgettable hospitality and friendliness of the local people here. A trip to Quang Binh always includes Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park within its itinerary. This is considered the most famous National Park that is recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage. Besides the natural grotto and cave systems, the complex has the longest underground river, largest caverns and passageways.
PHONG NHA – KE BANG OVERVIEW
Phong Nha – Ke Bang is a natural beautiful landscape with more than 200,000 ha park including beautiful limestone formations, grottos and caves and forest covering of upto 95%. So far, the research has found 20 grottoes and caves with total length of 70km, of which 17 are in Phong Nha and three in Ke Bang. Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park is divided into three functional areas:
– Strict protection zone (64,894 ha)
– Ecological restoration zone (17449 ha)
– Division of Administrative Services (3,411 ha)
Cave system in Phong Nha – Ke Bang is formed by the geological change inside Ke Bang limestone over 400 million years ago (in the Paleozoic). The Phong Nha cave is probably the most beautiful of all, containing many fascinating rock formations, enchanting visitors with evocative names such as Lion, Fairy Caves, Royal Court and Buddha. Entrance fee is around 150.000VND/person and to get there, tourists are offered boat with the price around 350.000VND/14 persons.
Besides, Phong Nha – Ke Bang has a diverse ecosystem. There comprising thrilling underground rivers, impressive rock mountains and amazingly home to over 100 types of animal like tigers, elephants, even saola, more than 300 kinds of bird and 81 types of reptile. 66 animal species are listed in the Viet Nam Red Book and 23 other species in the World Red Book. The complex also boasts dozens of mountain peaks of over 1,000 metres still unexplored by men and seen as ideal sites for activities like climbing and exploration.
Phong Nha – Ke Bang is additionally home to archeological and historical relics, such as an ancient hieroglyphic script of the Cham ethnic minority, King Ham Nghi’s base built for the resistance war against French colonialists in the late 19th century, and the Xuan Son ferry station, Ho Chi Minh Trail and Road 20 used during the US resistance war. Inscriptions on stone walls in ancient Cham language prove that Phong Nha was discovered by Cham people in ancient times when this land was under the Kingdom of Champa. From 1550 to late 19th century, Phong Nha Ke Bang was mentioned many times in literature and architecture.
THINGS TO DO IN PHONG NHA – KE BANG
Spending a day to discover the complex of Phong Nha – Ke Bang, most tourists also choose to spare one more day visiting this beautiful central province. Its central location, wide variety of adventure activities and beautiful landscapes has made Quang Binh the newest hotspot when travelling to Vietnam!
1. Discover Quang Binh – the world of caves
Not only famous for Phong Nha – Ke Bang with the beauty of Phong Nha cave, Quang Binh is also well-known for its other caves systems. These caves have attracted more and more tourists every year, such as Tien Dong Cave, En Cave Son Dong Cave, Tu Lan Cave. Thanks to the unspoiled nature, these caves still keep their scenic beauty and fresh air inside.
Son Dong cave
The adventure to the caves of Quang Binh will definitely give you different and memorable experiences. Almost all the caves such as Thien Duong Cave and En Cave are.quite easy to access, thus give the tourists the relaxing memory besides the unspoiled beauty. Meanwhile, Son Dong Cave – the world’s largest cave is an exploration like no other is a real adventure. Once inside hikers are expected to abseil, climb, crawl and swim through underground rivers to arrive at the end of the cave.
2. Kayaking on Chay River
If you seek for natural and unspoiled scene to immerse peacefully then there’s romantic flow with the pure blue color as jade and the spectacular ancient Karst.
3. Mud bath in Dark Cave
Dark Cave (Hang Toi) is a branch in the Phong Nha Cave System. Without lighting system, it still remains the magical and pristine beauty of nature.You will become an explorer of cave with flashlight helmet and other specialized equipment to explore the the cave and get some extremely interesting experiences – natural mud bath or swimming in the cool Thuy Tien and Ho Bong Lai Lake.
4. Zipline in Chay River
Zipline is a form of swinging tight rope in the sky with which you can go to the middle of Chay River and then fall down to take a bath with this very blue and romantic river as well as join other games in the water.
5. Visiting Nhat Le Beach & Paragliding on the sea
As you come to visit a coastal province, there’s no reason to skip the most beautiful beach here, right?
Here, you can participate in a very interesting activity called paragliding on the sea. Seems fun?
6. Fishing, fishing for squids
In Quang Binh, there are many places for fishing so if you fancy, you can be able to sail a boat and move to the middle of Nhat Le beach to fish squid overnight, sit at the river mouth or any cliffs. Fishing on the beach will absolutely give you a completely different feeling in comparison with fishing in river or lake that you are highly recommended to try.
7. Exploring duck stop
This duck stop is a small house owning the beauty of Viet Nam’s countryside created by a young boy of only 23 years old . It was not elaborate, but every detail in the house was deliberately presented. Here, you can get a chance to try sizzling cake – a speciality of the centre of Vietnam. Then the main activity is be a real farmer and feed the ducks. These ducks seem to have been trained to know how to please the guests. You just need to hold their crunchy food, you’ll be their boss and they’ll be following them. How lovely!
8. Trekking through the forests
This will be adventurous for those who love to explore, even you have to trek forest road, pass streams and cross rivers. However, you will be rewarded with the magnificent landscapes. The mystery and majesty of Quang Binh’s nature are waiting out there to be explored. By trekking in Quang Binh, you will have a trip full of adventures, even you need to pass rugged mountains and endless river. Then you can get a chance to be in harmony with Mother Nature. If you decide to have an adventure here, don’t forget to prepare yourself carefully. Trekking through the long and hard road requires you to be strong enough. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes and clothes and water is absolutely essential.
HOW TO GET TO QUANG BINH?
Located in the centre of Vietnam, Quang Binh is over 500km from Hanoi and 1150km from Saigon. There are some means of transport for you to choose when travelling here.
Dong Hoi Railway Station is a stop for the Vietnam Reunification Express train. Tourists who are interested in this mean of transport may have to spend quite a long time on the train, however, chances are you can enjoy all the scenic beauties as it stops at major railway stations in each province on it’s route. Reunification Express trains from Hanoi city to Dong Hoi city whose price is about 25$/pax often starts at night and arrives in Dong Hoi City in the next morning after 10 to 11 hours running and the distance is over 500km. From Saigon to Dong Hoi, it’s over 1100km so the price is about 55$ for a train ticket. These trains run from the North to the South or vice versa and stop in many stations along the way such as Hue, Da Nang, Nha Trang. So if you happen to be in one of these cities and you want to get to Dong Hoi station, you can search for trains’ information on the internet or go directly to the station to choose a suitable train.
There are more and more long distance bus companies for tourists to choose. Some of them are national brands which travellers should select to buy bed tickets such as Hoang Long Bus, Mai Linh Bus. These branches’ offices are in many provinces so it’s easy to get to Dong Hoi wherever you are. This mean of transport takes also quite a lot of time, however, you can save your budget as the ticket’s price is only from 13$/pax.
Most convenient way to get to Quang Binh is by plane. From Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi or Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh city, it only takes you around 1h30m to get to Dong Hoi Airport. The ticket costs about 60$ for the flight from Hanoi to Dong Hoi and around 110$ for the flight from Sai Gon. Very comfortable and you can save lots of time for the activities in Quang Binh. It’s worth the price!
WHEN TO VISIT QUANG BINH?
Like the other provinces in the middle of Vietnam, Quang Binh is located in the monsoon-tropical zone and experiences two seasons: wet and dry season. The wet season begins in September and lasts until March during which the months of September to November experience the most rain. On the other hand, dry season begins in April and lasts until August with the hot months peak from June to August. Quang Binh shouldn’t be missed during your trip to Vietnam, no matter what time it is in the year. However, the best time to visit the province is any time during the dry months so you can fruitfully enjoy your travel.
If you are planning to visit Quang Binh this summer, and still hesitating how to go and which to do, our tailorwill help you make the most suitable decision now.
Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park: Discover the world heritage in Quang Binh, Vietnam