Phong Nha National Park in Vietnam might, somehow, sound familiar to you. For a good reason ! Phong Nha is the site of the biggest cave in the world (one of the many chambers is 6.5 km long! So imagine the total length of them all !) Son Doong. While this cave is probably amazing, exploring is difficult and requires a lot of money and luck (only a few people can do this expedition each year). But do not worry, Phong Nha National Park doesn’t only host one big cave… It hosts many ! Paradise cave was, before the discovery of Son Doong in 2009, believed to be the biggest cave in the world, it tells you how many secrets might still be hidden in this gorgeous UNESCO park !
So if you’re a nature addict, love amazing rock formations hidden in an amazing jungle, Phong Nha should be on your to-do list ! But what can you visit ?
While you can visit a few caves on different expeditions, the most popular ones, lit up and easily accessible, are Phong Nha Cave (accessible by boat only) and Paradise Cave.
Phong Nha Cave :
Accessible on the river (which means you will need to book a boat in advance, find a group of people to make the price go down), Phong Nha Cave is the first one to be opened to tourists.
While this is the main attraction for westerners, it’s worth the time and the visit. The water is a big part of the cave system and it’s a beautiful and impressive visit. Once the boat tour done, you will be dropped in one of the cave chambers to explore on foot the rest of this gorgeous cave. Artificial lights give colours to this place and you can even, sometimes, observe a bit of vegetation growing nearby. Stalactites and stalagmites seem to decorate the rooms and you will get out of this place amazed and enchanted.
Paradise Cave (Thien Duong Cave) :
Used to be regarded as the longest and largest cave in the world before the discovery of Son Doong, Paradise Cave can easily be accessed by car or motorbike after driving through the national park.
This cave is 31km long and although only the first 3km are offered to tourists, you can always opt to book yourself on an expedition tour through the rest of the cave. The limestone formation is impressive and each corner taken on your walk through the cave will certainly leave you speechless. This is why the British explorers who first charted the place gave it the name « Paradise ».
If you are visiting, take the time to walk slowly and listen. The beautiful crystal sound of the drops of water falling on the stalagmites, the silence will surely enchant you as much as the view !
How to get there :
Getting to Phong Nha National Park can be tricky !
Close to the National Park can be found the town of Dong Hoi and its train station. That part of the journey is not too difficult.
From Dong Hoi to Phong Nha Ke Bang you might want to get a taxi that will usually take up to 20 minutes.
If, like us, you have your own transport (most likely a motorbike), access is easy but be aware that parts are difficult to find in town, so make sure your transport is in good condition before coming around !
Hotels nearby Phong Nha :
Phong Nha doesn’t have the best hotels. While there are some good dorms options, a room isn’t easy to get. A few hotels are in town but we would suggest trying a farmstay for a bit more money or to just stay in Dong Hoi for some cheap and very good accommodation.
Where is Phong Nha ?
Have you been to Phong Nha? Is that a trip you would consider? Tell us all about it in the comments! For more photos click here.
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