Phong Nha is a unique destination off the beaten path for tourists looking to explore the nature of Vietnam.
The Phong Nha-ke bang National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which incorporates many different caves you can explore. Including the famous Son Doong, the largest cave in the world.
The scenery, the mountains, the river, the cycling, the people and the delicious vegan food is second to none! Do not miss travelling here! Read my Best Things to do in Phong Nha post for lots more information.
Dong Hoi is a town on the eastern coast of Vietnam. Most travellers land here at the Dong Hoi airport (Flights only to and from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City) or disembark the train at the Dong Hoi train station and then need to work out how to get to Phong Nha. (Here’s a beautiful 2 week Vietnam Itinerary that includes Dong Hoi and Phong Nha)
Personal Experience: In 2022 I arrived at Dong Hoi train station by myself at 9:30pm and didn’t want to travel at night so I booked in to Nhà Nghỉ Lan Hương, the tall yellow hotel directly opposite the train station. It’s basic accommodation, but was all I needed. I felt safe there and could relax for the night before I started my journey to Phong Nha in the morning. I checked in and then walked 1 minute to the Sophie Homy restaurant to have dinner.
IMPORTANT. If you choose to stay 1 night in Dong Hoi, do not choose a hotel far from the train station. I bumped into a solo female traveller who unexpectedly booked a hotel near the beach and it was in the middle of nowhere, no food places were open and she was nervous and scared.
Here’s how to get from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha:
1. PUBLIC BUS
The B4 bus is a great budget choice to get from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha. If you disembark the train, it’s only a 10 minute walk from the train station. Click here to find it on Google Maps. Or search for “Bến xe Nam Lý” in Maps.
Distance of route: 54 km
Travel time: about 1 hour.
Frequency: once an hour
Operating time: From 5:30am to 5:30pm (roughly)
Price of a 1 way ticket: 40,000 VND (some tourists have been charged 50,000 VND but it’s only a 0.60 cents AUD difference so no need to argue with such a small price difference)
Route: Quang Phu Commune – Truong Phap Street – Nguyen Du Street – Nhat Le Bridge 1 – Bao Ninh – Nhat Le Bridge 1 – Tran Hung Dao – To Huu – Huu Nghi – National Highway I – Hoan Lao Town (Bo district) Trach) – Provincial road 561 (old TL2) – Ho Chi Minh road East branch – Provincial road 561 (old TL2) – Phong Nha tourist center (Son Trach commune, Bo Trach district) and vice versa.
This is the most expensive transport option and I personally don’t recommend it. If you don’t decide on a price, you could possible be charged an exorbitant amount.
3. TRANSFER ARRANGED BY YOUR PHONG NHA ACCOMMODATION
Book your Phong Nha accommodation first and they will arrange a personal transfer. Expect to pay between 400,000 VND and 600,000 VND for a transfer to Phong Nha in a car.
4. TRANSFER ARRANGED BY SOPHIE HOMY (near Dong Hoi train station)
This is where I arranged my transfer to Phong Nha. I was originally going to get the public bus but it was near the end of my trip and I thought it would be easier to get a transfer straight there.
Ha, the owner of Sophie Homy speaks perfect English and can arrange a transfer for you. She can also book you tours to Phong Nha Cave, Paradise Cave and Dark Cave. Her brother also owns accommodation in Phong Nha if you need it too!
As a solo traveller I valued the safety and trustworthiness of Ha at Sophie Homy.