How to Spend 48 Hours in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam

Phong Nha - Ke Bang cave

A UNESCO World Heritage site and national park, Phong Nha-Ke Bang is riddled with caves and is home to the oldest karst mountains in Asia. Located on the north central coast region of Vietnam, the national park was originally created to protect one of the world’s two largest karst regions, consisting of 300 caves and grottos.

Son Trach town is the main centre for accommodation and restaurants. With a population of just 3000, the small town is becoming much more popular with hostels and hotels opening. The caves are the absolute highlight of the national park and tourists flock to see one of the many caves in the area. Two days spent in the national park is a perfect amount of time to soak up the sights, history and culture.

To reach Phong Nha, the closest airport is Dong Hoi which is around 40km away. The other option is to get a train to Dong Hoi train station. After arriving at Dong Hoi, you could either use a bus to reach Phong Nha national park or get a private taxi. Sharing taxis is a great option if you can find some fellow travellers heading in the same direction.

However you intend on reaching your destination, be sure to double check your visa requirements and make sure everything is in place prior to travelling. There are several visa options in Vietnam and it can get quite confusing. To take the hassle out of the process, let sort everything out for you. They make the visa applications simple and easy to understand, just follow the instructions on the website and they take care of the rest.

Day 1, Morning

Fabulous view of amazing chamber inside Paradise Cave (Thien Duong Cave) at Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam
Fabulous view of amazing chamber inside Paradise Cave (Thien Duong Cave) at Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam

A day trip to Paradise Cave and Phong Nha Cave is a brilliant way to spend your time. Phong Nha has three public caves in total and they are much more affordable options than Hang Son Doong cave which costs $3000 and is not easy to get to.

Phong Nha Cave will take around three hours in total to see and includes a boat trip there and back. A very beautiful and serene journey and you have the option to see Then Song Cave whilst there. Unlike Phong Nha Cave, Paradise Cave can easily be reached by motorbike. The journey offers spectacular views throughout and gives you a chance to go at your own speed.


Vietnamese BBQ version mix with a lot of veggies - D-Arts Zone's Menu
Vietnamese BBQ version mix with a lot of veggies – D-Arts Zone’s Menu

Delicious food and a great atmosphere, head over to D-Arts Zone in Son Trach town in the evening. The menu includes fried spring rolls and smoked sausage from the restaurant’s barbecue grill. Sit out on the wooden table and chairs and enjoy your evening after a long day of exploring.

Day 2, Morning

Discover Dark Cave in Phong Nha Ke Bang, Quang Binh
Discover Dark Cave in Quang Binh

On day two, head to the Dark Cave for an adventure. While visiting the Dark Caves, you have the opportunity to swim, kayak and zip line in the cave. A completely different experience from Phong Nha and Paradise Cave. Although it only takes a couple hours to visit the cave, there are some hot springs nearby that are well worth a dip.


Phong Nha trekking tour
Phong Nha trekking tour

Next head off to the botanical gardens which offer fantastic treks. You can find the entrance to the gardens right by the Phong Nha park entrance. There are three hikes available, all leading to a waterfall at the end. The shortest trek is only 1km and heads straight to the waterfall. Depending on your capability and energy levels, you can decide which hike is more suited for you.


Easy Tiger Hostel in Phong Nha, Quang Binh
Easy Tiger Hostel in Phong Nha, Quang Binh

After two days back to back exploring caves and jungle, take some time to relax, have a drink and meet some fellow travellers. Easy Tiger Hostel is a lively, social hub of activity for visitors. As well as a great place to have a drink, they can also arrange tours and shuttle buses. The hostel regularly has entertainment and has 104 rooms available if you’re looking for a place to stay.

If you’re serious about visiting the more restricted caves such as Son Doong Cave and Hang En, Oxalis Adventure Tours are the only official company allowed to operate commercial expeditions in the caves. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park offers up breathtaking scenery and a unique landscape perfect for exploring. Make the most of the time you have and enjoy every minute.

Vietnam visa on arrival office in Da Nang Int'l Airport
Vietnam visa on arrival office in Da Nang Int’l Airport