Known as “The king of cave”, Quang Binh attracts visitors with the diversity of complex of caves in Phong Nha Ke Bang national park, a World Natural Heritage by UNESCO and Son Doong Cave, the new and biggest cave in the world. Nhat Le beach and various activities in Song Chay – Hang Toi will definitely amaze you as well. Read on to see what is the best time, how to arrive, what to explore, to eat and how to live your Quang Binh trip up. All-in-one-guide for Quang Binh this time.
I. What is the best time to Quang Binh?
Located in the Middle of Vietnam, like other provinces like Nghe An, Hue or Ha Tinh, Quang Binh experiences the monsoon-tropical climate with two different seasons: the rainy and dry season. The wet season occurs in September and lasts till March, while September to November experiences the most rain with a lot of storms. The dry season falls from April to August with an average temperature of 24 – 25*C and the hottest temperatures from June to August. The best time to visit Quang Binh is any time during the dry months, especially April & May (dry & not too hot). As the most attractive destinations of Quang Binh are natural attractions including caves and beaches, and the long-distance from Dong Hoi city to Phong Nha – Ke Bang complex, the weather during April and May will be ideal for tourists to enjoy the sunlight and clear blue water in Nhat Le beach or explore the diversity of Phong Nha National Park and crystal water of Mooc Spring and various amazing water activities at Hang Toi – Chay river. You don’t need to bring raincoats or umbrellas to avoid getting wet from the rain during this time, too.
II. How to travel to Quang Binh?
Different means of transport are available, which is suitable for different customers at various prices and experiences.
1. By train
There are 8 trains from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh to Dong Hoi every day.
Hanoi – Dong Hoi: 600km (375 miles) – 10 hours.
Sai Gon – Dong Hoi: 1250km (750 miles) – about 20 hours.
2. By high-quality bus (Open sleeper bus)
Because Quang Binh has become of the most favorable destinations for locals, especially adventure-lovers, there are a lot of buses available. Here are some bus companies to book a ticket from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh to Dong Hoi city.
- Hoang Long bus. Add: 3 Nguyen Khoai – Hai Ba Trung district, Hanoi (Luong Yen bus station). Tel: +844.3987.7225
- Sinh Cafe (open tour): 38 Ly Nam De – Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi. Tel:+8498.8757.689
- Dong Hien bus: 281 Doi Can – Ba Dinh district. Tel: +844.3832.7330
- Hung Long bus: 338 Tran Khat Chan – Cau Giay District, Hanoi. Tel: +844.3972.4505 or +84914.077.779
From Ho Chi Minh city:
- Hoang Long bus: +84.28.22438989 (Mien Dong bus station – Dong Hoi city – Quang Binh)
- Thuan Thao bus: +84.914642526 (Mien Dong bus station – Dong Hoi city – Quang Binh)
- Sy Quan bus: +84.975240827 (Sai Gon – Ba Don – Quang Binh
3. By plane
Dong Hoi has a domestic airport. There are some flights of Vietnam Airlines and Bamboo to Dong Hoi. You can travel from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh to Dong Hoi by flight and then travel to other destinations around Quang Binh by bus or private transport.
Hanoi/ Ho Chi Minh – Dong Hoi: 45 minutes – 1 hour (by plane)
Dong Hoi – Phong Nha Ke Bang: 60 – 70km → 45 minutes (by private transport).
III. Top attractions in Quang Binh
1. Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park
Recognized as the world’s natural heritage by UNESCO since 2003, Phong Nha Ke Bang national park and grotto complex remains intact with many outstandingly gorgeous caves on majestic limestone mountains, and with its abundant fauna & flora.
Phong Nha has achieved a lot of records such as the cave with the longest underground river, the most beautiful sandbank and reef, the most beautiful underground lake, the highest and widest entrance, the widest and most beautiful dry cave, the most spectacular stalactites, as well as the longest water grotto.
About 50 km to the northwest from Dong Hoi city, Quang Binh, Phong Nha cave is considered as “Thien Nam De Nhat Dong” of Vietnam covered by tropical forests.
From Son River, you will drive for more than 30 minutes to reach Phong Nha cave. Phong Nha cave is 7729 meters in length, 83 meters in-depth, and 50 meters in height with water flowing underground with typical stalactites.
The legends said the stalagmites in the cave entrance contributed to the poetic name of the cave “Phong Nha” reflecting the ideal reconciliation of the primeval forest and Son River, filled with dry caves and an ink painting of water in caves captivating people.
Phong Nha Ke Bang covering an area of more than 200,000 hectares is regarded as one of the oldest and most extensive tropical limestone areas in the world with over 300 large and small caves as well as hidden wonders and tourist attractions.
2. Thien Duong Cave (Heaven Cave)
Together with Phong Nha cave, Thien Duong Cave or Paradise Cave dating back from 350 to 400 million years ago is even considered to be one of the most magnificent and magical wonders of the world as an “underground palace”. It is even more beautiful and mystic than Phong Nha cave. The cave nestles deep in the World Natural Heritage,the National Park Phong Nha Ke Bang.
It is famous for its breathtaking beauty of stalagmites & stalactites as the magical wonder of the world. Thien Duong cave is 31 km long and limitedly opened 900 meters with longest wooden ways to the public since 2011 to enjoy its magical beauty.
The ticket: 250,000 VND.
3. Jumping Rocks (Da Nhay beach)
Coming to Bo Trach District, Quang Binh province, apart from the scenic Phong Nha Ke Bang complex, Da Nhay beach (Jumping Rocks) is also an tourist attraction with pristine beach, stones and strange-shaped caves.
Following the Highway 1A from Dong Hoi city north backward over 20 km, you will arrive in Da Nhay beach, and admire the mountains adjacent to the beach at the foot of Ly Hoa pass. The beach remains completely its original beauty with the gentle blend from the immense sea to abrasive rocks.
4. Dark cave & zipline (Hang Toi)
About 70km away from Dong Hoi City and near Phong Nha Ke Bang national park, Chay River is regarded as the heaven right on earth with clear crystal emerald water together with fresh air and spectacular nature, which makes you feel really relaxing.
Especially visitors can enjoy a lot of water sports and jump down from the zipline (a form of swinging) into the cool water, or go kayaking to admire the scenic vistas. At the end of the zipline, you should remember to pose for photographers to take some photos – that’s cool, right?
Besides, you can take a boat along Chay River for 5 km or so to reach Toi Cave (Dark Cave) and enjoy magic stalactites covered with a large amount of moss, creating a subtle green and hanging up the side of the cave. Entering the cave, the darkness covers every single corner which makes movements inside the cave more exciting, and especially reach a place where you get to swim in mud pools.
5. Son Doong cave
Recently discovered in Phong Nha Ke Bang national park, Son Doong is recognized as the biggest grotto with its thrilling landscapes in the world that can ambrace a 40 floor building cab.Not only be impressive for its enormous size, the cavern is also unique for its internally abundant flora & fauna diversity.
Son Doong cave has not widely opened to the public for safety & conservation reasons, but limited for 500 people every year. If you wish to explore this world natural wonder, you must book this cave adventure far in advance (maybe one or two years) with requirement of really good physical health and impressive trekking experience.
The cost is no less than 3000 USD/person and good health. If you are a adventure travel lover, let one time in life try this adventure expedition to Son Doong to explore this nature’s masterpiece to admire how stunning it is.
6. Nhat Le beach
About 2 km to the Northeast from Dong Hoi city center, Nhat Le beach is an ideal place to relax and wander to admire the sunrise or sunset for couples. It likes a picture with airy natural landscape, vast white sand and crystal sea. After immersing yourself into the clear blue water, you could enjoy local seafood right on the beach like BBQ in local food stalls – which are both delicious and cheap.
You can visit Dong Hoi port nearby to admire the romantic sunset with a lot of local fishing boats.
7. Quang Phu Dunes
If you wish to visit Sahara desert or Mui Ne, but don’t have much money, Quang Phu Dunes should be great, right? You could rent a skateboard, comfortably play on the vast white sand dunes and take amazing vintage or retro photos with endless golden sand dunes. Particularly, when visiting here, you should prepare sunglasses, long sleeves in order to avoid sandy wind and sun.
IV. What to eat in Quang Binh?
1. “Gieo” potatoes (Khoai Gieo)
This specialty is made of red-skinned sweet potatoes. It is sweet and eat like marshmallow taste. As it is popular in Quang Binh so you can easily find and try in Quang Binh’s market. Don’t worry it is quite cheap, but tasty.
Where to eat? – Dong Hoi market.
2. Filtered cakes (Banh bot loc)
The Central of Vietnam is regarded as the heaven of cake, and Quang Binh is not the exception. When talking about Quang Binh, visitors think about Banh Bot Loc (filtered cake).
The main ingredients are shrimp, pork, wood ear, shoots, mushrooms and tapioca with Quang Binh sauce. It is simple but nutritious. Banh Loc is wrapped in banana leaves, and then steamed or even fried.
Hop on a cab and you will experience this signature dish in a glance. You’ll pay only 1 USD for a dish of 10 pieces, quite cheap, right?
Where to eat? – Me Xuan Hai Thanh and Ga market.
3. Noodle soup (Chao canh)
Unlike Pho, Chao Canh is a bowl of noodle soup porridge from rolled wheat or rice noodles, with snakehead seafood including fish, shrimp, and crab. Its savoury thick broth, soft noodles, and fresh green from chopped vegetables with some spicy flavor will be tasty.
This dish is better served it with ‘ram’ (small fried spring rolls) or Vietnamese grilled sausage and sour meatball.
Price: 15,000 VND to 20,000 VND, and 2,000 VND/ each “ram”
Where to eat? – Son Thu food stall on Phan Boi Chau Street, Dong Hoi city/ Quan Suong Hong stall on Nguyen Huu Canh Street, Dong Hoi city.
V. Quang Binh nearby attractions
It is no surprise when Hue is one of the top must-see destinations in Vietnam as its peaceful, outstanding natural landscapes together with friendly and helpful people. Located along the banks of the Huong River, Hue, the regional economic, cultural, touristic, scientific, specialized health, education, and training hub of central Viet Nam is an attractive destination.
It is famous for its temples, bastions, mausoleums, architecture, and natural landscapes mostly covered by a layer of green moss, which creates a relaxing sensation. And spending time visiting Hue is considered as one of the top things to do in Vietnam.
Another destination near Quang Binh is Laos, the only country without the sea in Southeast Asia. When coming to Laos, visitors will feel the ancient tradition and tranquility of a friendly country giving the impression as if time has stood still. Laos is less crowded than Thailand or Vietnam, but its mystery and unique architecture as well as culture are what make it appealing to tourists.
VI. Top most popular Quang Binh tours
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