Phong Nha is a small village off the beaten path in Central Vietnam. Located along the Son River, this quiet town is one of the most beautiful you’ll ever see.
Famous for its limestone caves (that were used as shelter during the Vietnam War) and Son Doong, the largest cave in the world, the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I travelled to Phong Nha in 2022 (via Dong Hoi) and it was my favourite place I have ever been to. Eating vegan in Phong Nha was very easy! And there are so many lovely things to do there in the Best Things to do in Phong Nha blog post. I’m planning on going back soon. I hope the following information helps you during your time there.
HOW TO GET TO PHONG NHA
You can get to Phong Nha by flying from Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi to Dong Hoi airport. Then getting your accommodation to pick you up or the public bus (B4). There are also buses and trains from Hoi An, Da Nang, Hue and Vinh.
HIRING A BICYCLE
In Phong Nha, your accommodation will have bicycles to use. My accommodation, “Coco Riverside Homestay” had free bicycles that I used for the below rides.
ROUTE 1: CYCLING TO THE NORTH OF PHONG NHA
Cycle through Gia Tĩnh, Xuân Sơn and Sơn Thủy.
This was the first bike ride I experienced in Phong Nha and it was magnificent! I cycled past the mountain with the “Phong Nha Ke Bang” sign on it and went over the large bridge.
Then I ventured into the countryside and small villages. It was school holidays so kids were home playing and every single one waved at me and said “hello”. It was so lovely. A young girl got very excited and kept on saying “hello hello hello hello” over and over again with a big smile on her face. Locals were doing their daily routine and some of them were very surprised to see me as they wouldn’t get a lot of foreigners cycling through their village!
The scenery was absolutely stunning. Some of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen in my life.
I did a loop and went to the other side of the highway and travelled down a quiet road that I could see from my accommodation. It ended up being a dead end but then a man came up to me, and motioned with his hands if I wanted him to take me and my bike over to the other side of the river. I nodded and said yes please!
He lifted my bike and took it down a steep hill to the river and then the adventure began of sitting on a row boat with my bike while this random stranger rowed me over to the other side!
I gave him 20,000 VND because I knew the other large row boat down the river charges 10,000 VND for foreigners.
ROUTE 2: CYCLING TO THE WEST OF PHONG NHA
Cycle through Trằm Mé and xóm Chày.
This is a short but interesting ride. Begin by cycling out of the village to the very end of the main road in Phong Nha, towards the cave. You’ll come across a “ferry service” (it’s a small wooden boat with a person who will push/row you across the river). On Google Maps it’s called “ Phà Ngã Ba động Phong Nha “. I’ve added it to the map below.
The cost will be 10,000 VND one way for foreigners.
Cycle through the tiny villages of Trằm Mé and xóm Chày. There are a couple of large bridges you need to cross, I suggest wheeling your bike across the second bridge as there are holes in it and not the safest. There’s a few schools in the villages and people drying food on the paths so please be aware and don’t ride over their food!
ROUTE 3: CYCLING TO THE SOUTH OF PHONG NHA
Cycle through Cù Lạc 1, Cù Lạc 2 and a dirt path back around to Phong Nha.
The scenery is beautiful on this cycling route. You’ll ride past water buffalo, bee hives, stunning green mountains and bamboo forests. A large amount of this route is on a dirt road.