Vietnam: Paradise Cave, Dark Cave or Phong Nha Cave – How to visit the great caves in Phong Nha?



How to visit the Caves of Phong Nha (Son Trach)?
Visiting the caves in Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park is one of the main sights in Vietnam. There are several caves you can visit, which was also a little bit confusing when we were planning our trip. So here you find all the important information you need to visit the amazing caves of Phong Nha-Ke Bang.

How to get to Phong Nha?
So first of all you need to know where to stay for visiting the caves. Our advice is not to stay in Dong Hoi which is 55 km (34 miles) away from the caves. So the best and closest place to stay is Phong Nha village, also called Son Trach. If you travel north you probably come from Hue. The bus ride takes around 4-5 hours and costs 160.000 VND ($7, 6.20€ and £4.60). When you travel south you maybe come from Ninh Bình. In this case it is possible that you need to take a sleeper bus: the 7.5 hour bus ride costs around 200.000 VND ($8.80, 7.70 € and £5.75).

Where to stay?
Phong Nha village is basically just one long street where you find all the hotels, backpackers and restaurants. There is not a lot to do here, so we would recommend to stay here for around one or two nights depending how many caves you want to visit. We stayed in a hotel called Khach San Hoa Phuong Hotel, which was alright and costs around $10 for a double room. The hostel Easy Tiger is also a popular place to stay at, but here you need a reservation in high season. It is also possible to stay at a homestay or farmstay, but these places are a little bit out of town. So better check the address and location when you book a room in advance. There are not many places for food, but the Tuan Ngoc restaurant is certainly a good choice – here you can also hire scooters (see below).

How to visit the caves?
One of the hardest decisions you have to make is probably which caves you should visit. This really depends on your time and money. Here you find a short description of the main caves in Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park:

Phong Nha Cave: was used as a hospital during the Vietnam War. You enter the cave by boat. It is better to share the boat with as many people as possible as you pay for the boat and not for the seat.

Dark Cave: is an adventure cave. It is all about ziplining, walking through dark tunnels, fighting in the mud and swimming in small creeks. A visit costs around 350.000 VND ($15, 13.60 € and £10). We asked people how the Dark Cave was and they said “very dark”.

Paradise Cave: people recommended us to visit the Paradise Cave before we even went to Vietnam. This cave is enormous, illuminated and spectacular. The entry fee is 250.000 VND ($11, 9.70 € and £7.15). We only visited the Paradise Cave but this is truly one of the most impressive sights we have ever seen. It is definitely a must-see in Vietnam!

The best way to visit the caves is by hiring a scooter. Hiring one scooter costs around 90.000 VND for a day and you need petrol for roughly 50.000 VND. We hired the scooter in the Tuan Ngoc Restaurant. You reach the caves quite easy as you can make a big loop, first you pass by Dark Cave, then Paradise Cave and Phong Nha Cave at the end. From Phong Nha Cave you can ride back to Phong Nha village, but be careful – the last part is a gravel path.

On the way back, between Paradise Cave and Dark Cave you can visit the Suoi Nuoc Mooc, a blue spring where you can cool off. The water is crystal clear, but the whole area is quite touristy. You pay 80.000 VND for the entry + 10.000 VND for hiring a life jacket (you have to wear it). For a price of 180.000 VND you can do some kayaking through the spring (very little space for kayaking) and you can climb through a high-wire garden (not that spectacular by the way).

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23 Comments

  1. Your videos are just perfect one for the topic you select. You are really doing a great job by giving valuable guidance to the person watching your videos.

  2. Спасибо большое! Самое информативное видио из всех, которые нашла!!! СУпер!

  3. This is a great video… I am traveling there in two days time. The information is super helpful. We are a couple with a 6 year old kid. Since you have visited Paradise cave, can you pls tell us if it's possible to do it without a tour?

  4. Very helpful video, great tips!

  5. Really helpful – this deserves more views! Thanks!

  6. very helpful.. great information.. make more videos like this . good job

  7. Hi, could someone please help!

    I’m off to Phong Nha in 3 days, planning to stay in the village. Do I need to book a tour of paradise cave before hand/ can I organise one whilst I’m there? Or can I just go and get a ticket when I’m there to just enter as a solo person?

  8. Where did you or anyone reading this comment rent the scooter from in Phong Nha?

  9. Hi guys, i have a question about dark cave, i need to pay for ziplining, kayka,swimming, fighting in mud…. or they are included in entrance fee????

  10. We want to travel on a budget, but one of my friends who went to Phong Nha strongly recommended doing one of the Oxalis tours to Hang En, even though it's very costly (7.5 million dong for 2 days, 1 night person). Did you hear anything about these tours? If so, what do you know about what these tours provide that that a visit to Paradise Cave doesn't provide?

  11. Hi! Your video is great! Very helpful!
    How did you find the mini bus from hue to phong nha? Do you know the name of the compagny? Or do you know if they have different departure time from hue? We would like to leave Danang early in the morning, stop to visit Hue in the day and leave at the end of the afternoon to go to Phong Nha 🙂

  12. Just back from Vietnam last week. Phong Nha was my favourite place. National park and caves are amazing . Even phong Nha village has a cool, quirky vibe to it. I was amazed whilst travelling Vietnam how many other travellers bypassed. Phong Nha. We left there after 2 nights to go to Hoi An. Biggest disappointment of the trip. Incredibly touristy and catered to tourists in Hoi an. 1 day and night enough there. But do not miss out Phong Nha especially if you like renting bikes. It's great to get lost here

  13. Thank you this was so helpful! I will be in Da Nang this Spring and really want to visit Paradise cave. Is bus my only option? Also do you know travel agency that can bring me there as I'm not comfortable with directions and riding a scooter. Thanks so much!

  14. Very helpful information in Phong Nha, up to date info about Phong Nha National Park and caves follow this link: http://www.phongnhacavestour.com

  15. That's some pretty solid information there man. We stayed in Dong Hoi and paid our usual $5 per night for a private fan room. Did you check out the Gio Long waterfall there in the park also? It's pretty nice and they had peacocks there too. We covered our entire experience in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvDOVD1vGO0

  16. Great information. Thanks for all your guide. .

  17. Is the entrance fee paid the day we want to visit? Or should I plan to book a reservation?

  18. Wooh, it's so helpful. Thanks for sharing.

    Visit more amazing cave tours in Phong Nha at our site http://sondoongcavetour.abstravel.asia

  19. The cost of living in Vietnam is incredibly cheap.

  20. there is a ATM in phong Nha now

  21. That's so crazy I'm going to Southeast Asia this summer! These videos will definitely help me plan my travels!

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