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Asia > Vietnam > Dong Hoi > Useful Info
Submitted on Sep 20, 2020 Useful Info

How to Get from Hoi An to Phong Nha

The distance from Hoi An to Phong Nha is about 340km and it is a long journey but very beautiful views. Phong Nha is a mishmash of complicated cave networks, historic mountains, winding lakes, and pristine jungles, Phong Nha owns natural beauty and as known as a ‘must-see’ destination in Vietnam. Phong Nha beauty is like an undiscovered gem. Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.

In this article, I will give you some ideal ways to get from Hoi An to Phong Nha (and vice-versa). Each of them has an advantage and disadvantages as long as it is suitable for your convenience and budget.

Some Information about Phong Nha

Located between Hanoi and Hoi An, Phong Nha Town is about 500km to the South of Ha Noi capital and 340km to the North of Hoi An. It was the poorest province in Vietnam and while tourism has aided the local economy, its development and growth is still very slow. This is partly due to Phong Nha’s major role in the American War, used as a staging point for the Ho Chi Minh Trail and training ground for the Viet Cong (The North) Army.

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So Phong Nha was the target for extensive aerial bombing by the Americans troops. Russian and Chinese involvement added to this destruction, supplying anti-aircraft artillery to the Vietnamese to counteract American aggression. Phong Nha was one of the worst affected areas during the conflict and sadly a large number of unexploded ordnance (UXOs) remain today, causing harm and distress to the locals.

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In general, Phong Nha is still a safe and wonderful place to explore. Compare with other tourist cities, Phong Nha lacks of bars, restaurants, or hotels but many people love Phong Nha because of its pristine beauty. The Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park is a masterpiece that nature offered to Phong Nha as well as Vietnam.

Travel Brief for Hoi An to Phong Nha

Bus from Hoi An to Phong Nha

Bus is the most common and cheap transportation to get to Phong Nha from Hoi An. Unfortunately, there are no direct buses, so you have to stop over and change the bus in Hue (about four hours into your journey). However, they will show you the next bus and it is just like a break in your long trip.

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Traveling from Hoi An to Phong Nha by bus sometimes you will arrive Phong Nha much later than expected. Some reasoons listed such as

You have to wait until they collected enough people on the bus.

Because big bus is slower than other private cars.

Because of the break and the change of bus in Hue.

We highly recommend some bus companies such as Sinh Tourist or Hanh Cafe. These are both well-known bus companies that run buses every day. You can buy a ticket for the full journey to Phong Nha for 280,000 VND (12 USD).

Every day, their buses depart at 7.30.a.m and 13.30.p.m. On arrival in Hue, you continue your journey with Hang Thanh (a partner organisation) who drop you off in Phong Nha five hours later. You have to buy 2 seperate tickets. Sinh Tourist offers the same service with departure times from Hoi An to Hue at either 8:30 a.m. or 13:45.p.m.

Private Car from Hoi An to Phong Nha

The trip from Hoi An to Phong Nha takes about 6.5 hours by private car. Take a private car to Phong Nha is definitely the fastest, most comfortable, and convenient way to make this journey. Having your own private, English speaking driver gives you the advantage of direct pickup and drop off at your hotel following your request time. Moreover, on the way, you can visit some beautiful landscapes, historic places such as La Vang Holy Land, Hien Luong Bridge, Vinh Moc Tunnels, etc.

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The price depends on how large a car you want, but expect to pay around USD 143 = VND 3,300,000 for a four to the seven-seater car. This price includes petrol, road tolls, and parking fees but excludes lunch and entrance fees to any attractions you stop at along the way.

You can choose the Hoi An Private Car

Hoi An to Phong Nha by Private Car

Train from Hoi An to Phong Nha

With this option, you should remember that, there is no train station in Hoi An so taking the train to Phong Nha from Hoi An is a slightly more complicated operation. It means while it is still possible to take the train, you need to split your journey up into various stages. First you need to get to Da Nang Train Station, via shuttle bus, taxi or local bus. This journey takes about 45 minutes and is relatively cheap, approx 20,000 VND (0.90 USD) if you take the bus. Check the timetable and book train tickets here.

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The train from Da Nang to Dong Hoi takes about 6 hours. For a soft seats, it costs 247,000 VND (11 USD) or 317,000 VND (14 USD) for a sleeper berth.