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! 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.

MAP

Check out Cycling in Hoi An if you’re travelling there too!

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9 Comments

  1. Cycling to the south of Phong Nha, its western caves as well as nature is pretty amazing. Even its off-the-beaten path will not minimize its significance.

  2. I have always wanted to visit Vietnam and what a wonderful way to see the countryside via a bike! I love that the local took you across as the people seem very kind. Beautiful scenery too!

  3. Phong Nha is such a beautiful place & the caves are phenomenal! I enjoyed reading about cycling around Phong Nha, I got around by Xe Om motorbike & bus & I loved your pics. It was raining a lot when I was there. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences.

  4. Wow, this looks like a magnificient bike adventure! I’ve seen many places in Vietnam, but haven’t been to Phong Nha, but I definitely have to the next time I’m there!

  5. What a fun and exciting way to explore that beautiful, lush scenery! Cycling around Phong Nha sounds like a blast! It’s so cool that you rode past water buffalo! Were there many vehicles on the same roads?

  6. I spent a month in Vietnam earlier this year, which isn’t enough because there is so much to see! Unfortunately, we had to cut Phong Nha from our itinerary and chose to go to Ninh Binh instead. BUt I still really want to go back and explore Phong Nha, especially after reading this awesome post… It looks so beautiful there

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