Getting To Phong Nha: The Complete Guide
Amazingly, it’s remarkably simple to get as far off the beaten track as Phong Nha. That being said, getting to Phong Nha from Vietnam’s major cities may be easy and affordable, there can be major variations in price, duration, and comfort – so check this quick guide before making your travel arrangements to this unique natural beauty.
Here Jungle Boss makes it all easy. Just choose the city you’ll be coming from, select your budget, and voila!
Note: Estimated travel time is door-to-door.
Hanoi to Phong Nha
Grab a book, an external phone battery and some headphones, because it’s going to be a long and bumpy ride – however, it is undeniably the cheapest route from Hanoi.
Travel time: 9 hours
Tip: Due to the length of time it takes, it’s recommended you book a private bus, which will drop you off on the main street in Phong Nha.
Mid-range: Train + taxi or bus
Again, it’s worth stocking up on distractions as you’ll be making your cabin (or seat) your home for quite some time as you travel, but at least the train offers a bit more than the bus. Space to stretch your legs, more reliable toilets, and a much better view.
Cost: 650,000 – 1,200,000vnd
Travel time: 11 hours
Tip: Get the train to Dong Hoi, Phong Nha’s closest railway station, and then get a taxi or bus from there. While it’s possible to book a spot at the station, it’s far simpler to book through your hotel in Hanoi. If you want to take the bus from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha rather than getting a taxi, see below on how to get from the train station to the bus terminal.
Luxury: Fly + taxi
If you’re short on time and happy to flash a little more cash, then obviously travel by air – infinitely more comfortable than the other options from Hanoi and most of the time, your journey will only take half as long.
Cost: 2,000,000 – 3,500,000vnd
Travel time: 4-6 hours
Tip: While the flight itself may only take about an hour, the length of travel depends on how you manoeuvre an airport. Once you land, you’ll be able to get a taxi to Phong Nha in about an hour.
Hue to Phong Nha
Definitely the way to go for anyone looking to take in Vietnam’s stunning beauty without breaking the bank. It’s an authentic means of travelling through Vietnam, even if it is a little crammed aboard the bus.
Travel time: 4.5 hours
Tip: Avoid taking the public bus if you can. It won’t be as comfortable, and you’ll likely be overcharged. To avoid being ripped off, book a private bus through DMZ.
Mid-range: Train + taxi or bus
For the sake of taking another hour and a half to reach Phong Nha, the train is worth spending a little more money – you’ve got far more freedom and a better chance to sleeping through the whole journey.
Cost: 150,000 – 700,000vnd
Travel time: 5.5 hours
Tip: Travelling by train from Hue takes longer than a bus, but it’s a more comfortable experience. If you want to take the bus from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha rather than getting a taxi, see below on how to get from the train station to the bus terminal.
Luxury: Private Car
If you’re in Hue and want to make a speedy, comfortable voyage to Phong Nha without any hassle, then look no further than the opulent private car hire options. Ideal for anyone looking to avoid the chaos of public transport.
Travel time: 3-4 hours
Tip: Travel time is dependent on how many stops you make. Some private transfers will ask you beforehand if you’d like to stop in Vinh Moc tunnel on your way, which is worth it.
Danang to Phong Nha (and Hoi An to Phong Nha)
For a lot of people visiting Vietnam, there is neither the time nor money to see it all – and Phong Nha is more than worth making a few sacrifices for! Comfort and scenic views will have to wait until you get the Phong Nha if you take the bus.
Cost: 250,000 – 300,000vnd
Travel time: 6 hours
Tip: While this may be the most direct route, you will miss all the lovely scenery on the Hai Van Pass if you go by bus, but you’ll save your precious Dongs for Phong Nha!
Mid-range: Bus + train + taxi
Easily the longest way to get to Phong Nha from Danang, but by far one of the most visually stunning routes too. If you want a bit more space, but don’t want to shell out for a private driver, the train could be the solution.
Cost: 250,000 – 700,000vnd
Travel time: 9 – 10 hours
Tip: The best choice for anyone wishing to take in the countryside along the Hai Van Pass. If you’re in Hoi An, you’ll need to get to Danang and take the train from there. If you want to take the bus from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha rather than getting a taxi, see below on how to get from the train station to the bus terminal.
Luxury: Private car
For those seeking some privacy and a touch more control over their journey to Phong Nha, the private car is well worth the cost, especially if you’re travelling in a group. With the Hai Van Pass, the ability to stop for a break when you like, and the ultimate luxury of air conditioning, it’s the best way from Danang by a mile.
Cost: 4,000,000 – 4,500,000vnd
Travel time: 6-8 hours
Tip: Expense and travel time will vary depending on the capacity of the car and how long you would like to look at the scenery. Remember to ask to go over the Hai Van Pass.
Saigon to Phong Nha
Budget/mid-range/luxury: Fly + taxi or bus
Given the sheer amount of ground you’d need to cover, there’s really not much of an alternative to flying – short of making Phong Nha a part of your journey up north.
Cost: 1,800,000 – 2,800,000vnd
Travel time: 4-6 hours
Tip: Saigon is so far from Phong Nha that flying is the only realistic option.
Dong Hoi to Phong Nha (without taking a taxi)
Annoyingly, Dong Hoi train station and Dong Hoi bus terminal are not next to one another. If you arrive by train and don’t want to spring for a taxi, you can either choose to walk (30 minutes) or take a taxi (5-10 minutes at 25,000vnd). Once you’re at Dong Hoi bus station, the bus will cost around 35,000vnd. Either way, the travel time will take around 2 hours, possibly more.
For more information on Phong Nha, read our complete guide here and get everything you need to know!