It is dubbed as “underground palace”, Phong Nha Cave is one of the most magnificent and magical wonders in world. This Cave nestles deeply in the World Natural Heritage – Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, ancient karst topography, the chronology of forming is about 350 to 400 million years. Phong Nha Cave is located at Km No. 16 from West Branch of Ho Chi Minh road about 4 km, in Son Trach commune, Bo Trach district, Quang Binh province. This cave is far from the center of Dong Hoi city about 70 km beside the northwest branch of Ho Chi Minh Road.
How to go to Phong Nha Caves
The bus or trains are good choices whether you go from Hanoi capital or Ho Chi Minh City. From Hanoi, you can select the open tour bus of the Sinh Café Company, Hung Thanh bus or other vehicles with the route Hanoi – Quang Binh starting at 6:00 pm, you will arrive to Dong Hoi (Quang Binh) at 4 am in the next day. If you start from Ho Chi Minh City, you select open tour bus in the same time; you will arrive to Dong Hoi at 10:00 pm in the next day. Hotels in Dong Hoi are closed quite early, so if you choose the open tour bus, you should book hotel room in advance and offer your arriving time for hotel’s receptionist.
If you choose the train, you should book train ticket of Thong Nhat train like S3 (starting from Hanoi at 23:00) and S6 (starting from Saigon at 12:20) in order to arrive in Dong Hoi between 7:00 am – 10:00 am the next morning.
This is the way to Phong Nha Cave, if you start from the center of Dong Hoi (Quang Binh), you go along the Ho Chi Minh road to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, and then going to the way No. 20 Quyet Thang to visit Tam Co cave. From Tam Co cave, you will reach to Heaven Cave – Phong Nha Cave.
– Adults: VND 120.000/ticket/person
– The children who are 0.9 m to 1.3 m tall: VND 60.000/ticket/person
– The children who are under 0.9 m tall: free
– If you would like to go straight to Phong Nha cave, the electric cars are always ready to drive you through a primitive forest of 2 km long with the price of VND 60.000/person. The capacity of big car is 6 seats and the small car is 4 seats. Other while, if you would like to enjoy the pure fresh air in the green forest, walking through the forest would be a good choice for you.
Paradise in the cave
First discovered in 2005 by a local person, then, Phong Nha Cave was surveyed by the British Cave Research Association (BCRA) from 2005 – 2010. They found interesting results, numbers which show scale of this cave. This results announced in 2010: length of cave is 31.4 km, 30 – 100m wide with a height of 60 – 80m. With this length, Phong Nha cave became the longest dry cave in Asia.
After conquering the forest, the tourists have to climb up 500 stone steps to reach Phong Nha cave. Under the ground are giant rocks and stalactites in various shapes and states sparkling in the soft light of the bulbs around the cave. The cave’s ceiling is similar to a huge dome with hundreds of stalactites falling like chandeliers. Each shape features a different look. The cave gets more extended when you go deep inside to open a whole vivid world in the ground.
Stalactites in the cave are like symbol for millions of years’ history. The cave is also special for its white great stalactite columns. In the cave located an air – shaft of about 100m, which gets the sunshine directly to the bottom of the cave. Visitors will sometime feel a cool breeze wind or a bright halo. Below the halo, there is a 500m2 large rocks and a rushing stream flowing underground with white foam.
The cave mouth has been formed by two fossilized tree trunks which once evoked the attention of the Vatican’s Saint Peter Chancel. It felt like the unfolding of a new sky. The ceiling resembles a gothic arch 80–100m high, while the floor points towards icons of Oriental culture. Some stalagmites remind us of Buddha, the Great Wall of China, and a Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) Rong house. Each part of the cave opens into a different space, with giant naturally formed silhouettes of unicorns, lions, and dragons. In some places the waves of its sandstone appear like a desert. Its interpretative openness symbolizes the reconciliation of various religions embraced throughout Vietnam’s long history.
Phong Nha cave was discovered by a local namely Ho Khanh in 2005 and considered as the Asian longest dry cave. The system of stalagmites and stalactites in the cave is especially glistening and fanciful. In order to protect the cave, the tourists are directed to follow wooden paths and not allowed to touch the stalactites. At present, the cave only exploits 2 tourism products including visiting the cave for plain tourism and 6 km exploration for adventurous tourism program.
After sightseeing in Phong Nha Cave, when you return to Dong Hoi city in the afternoon. Now is the ideal time for you to go down Nhat Le beach for admiring the smooth white sand, blue water and ending an exciting day with attractive seafood dishes at restaurants along the beach.
New day trip begins with Da Nhay tourist site. This beach is about 30 km from Dong Hoi city to the north (on Highway No. 1, going toward Hanoi). Da Nhay tourist site is famous with rock area in various shapes, flat beaches, and lush green pine forest. The morning with delight bathing, visiting Coc well, playing in a pine forest and then enjoying regional specialties: grouper rice soup; it is enough to enjoy many tones of discovery.
Back to Dong Hoi city, you still have enough time for swimming at Nhat Le beach and enjoying a meal of nice seafood before taking the night train back to Hanoi.