If you have never been to Vietnam, the Phong Nha Caves are the best invitation for you to hop on that plane and go. Of all the many tourist spots to see in Vietnam, the Phong Nha caves should be on the top of your list. It is not difficult to tell you why. Phong Nha translates to “wind and teeth.” The cave got its name because the rock formations on its entryway appear to be like teeth. The cave is known for the rock formations. Most have given names such as the Lion, the Fairy, the Buddha, and many others.
Phong Nha Location
The Phong Nha National Park caves are in the province of Quang Binh in Vietnam in a national park called the Phong Nha – K Bang. The park is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site. For that reason alone it is a very popular tourist destination in the country. Phong Nha National Park is as one of the world's most important ecological areas. The Phong Nha cave offers beautiful scenery and unique biological diversity.
Visit the Phong Nha National Park Caves
The Phong Nha National Park caves may be 44.5 kilometers long according to scientists and explorers. Tourists are only allowed to survey the first 1,500 meters. The entire explorable area is about 7,729 meters long. The cave contains a 13,969-meter underground river, making it the longest in the world. It also contains 14 grottoes inside the cave, including the Bi Ky grottoes.
There are about 300 caves in the Phong Nha – K Bang park. Known as the Kingdom of the cave, the park is a paradise for many tourists. Also a favorite destination for environmental enthusiasts and explorers. Out of the 300 caves, only about 170 have been mapped and published. Caves that allow tourist include the Paradise Cave, Phong Nha cave, Dark cave, Tulon cave, and Vom Cave.
The Cave System
Because the cave requires skill to navigate, a guide is necessary when exploring it. The entrance to the cave is by either kayaking or swimming. It features a stretch of an underground river and caves. They have beautiful rock formations of stalactites and stalagmites.
Adding to the beauty of the national park are the Trooc river, Chay river, and the Son river. Each streams along the rocky mountains and lush forest following the cave system.
Touring the Phong Nha National Park – K Bang National Park
When you come to Vietnam, it is a must to visit the park for a complete and authentic nature adventure. With the many caves to explore in the park, you can find the one best for you. Choose one with your level of adventure, whether you are an expert at spelunking or a neophyte.
The cost of touring the park depends on the activities you want to do and the caves you intend to explore. Many travel groups offer different tour activities. They have costs ranging from one cave exploration for 8 hours to two-day camping visits.
Beginners and non-experienced tourists usually go on day tours. A tour to the Phong Nha National Park caves, for example, costs around $90 per person. This includes a tour of the underground river and exploration of the rock formations and grottoes in the cave.
Tourists are picked up in the morning and the tour will then start at the boat station in the park.
The guides lead the tour and educate the guests with interesting information. They also provide guests with protective gear and equipment. Their goal is ensuring that each participant is safe all throughout the tour.
At some parts of the tour, the guests will be exploring the caves and traversing boulders on their feet. It is advisable to wear clothing items that are comfortable and light. Some caves are very muddy. Wearing swimsuits or board shorts will definitely be more comfortable during the tour.
Overnight Adventure Camps
For the more adventurous, camping in the caves can be a great option for a tour. Some caves that allow overnight camping include the Hang En and Hang Lanh caves. The Hang Va and Hang Nuoc Nut caves and Tu Lan cave allow a limited number of campers.
These adventures last for two days, with the exploration of remote areas of the caves and the jungle. Caving guides provide different caving techniques such as setting up jungle camps. They even set up for caving photography. The aim is to capture the best and highest quality images of the caves.
For those of you who are not into caving, there are other options. Guests can camp on the park's lush and unexplored forests and spring mountains. These two-day adventure camps cost anywhere from $200 to $360 per person.
How To Get There
The Phong Nha National Park – K Bang National Park is about 500 kilometers south of Ha Noi, which is undeniably far. When planning a trip to visit the caves, it is best to book a place to stay near the park.
Below is a list of some of the most accessible hostels near the Phong Nha – K Bang National Park:
Heritage by Night Hotel
Located at the center of Phong Nha town this hotel provides private rooms for most guests. They have dormitory rooms for backpackers. Dorm rooms cost as low as $10 per person per night.
Easy Tiger Hostel
Also located at the Phong Nha town, the Easy Tiger Hostel. It appeals to most backpackers because of its location and price. The hostel also offers tour packages, shuttles, and different social activities and entertainment. Backpacker rooms cost is as low as $10 per night.
Phong Nha Mountain House
The Mountain House offers alpine-style cabins. These make guests feel like they are one with nature. The cabins are between rows of trees. A single cabin can cost $20 per night, while larger ones can go as high as $50.
A visit to the Phong Nga – K Bang National Park is definitely one for your bucket list. Come to Vietnam and experience this world-famous park, its caves, and jungles. It will add to the richness and authenticity of your travel!
After exploring Phong Nha National Park, where to next?
Check out Hanoi On A Budge