Blogs from Phong Nha Ke Bang, Quang Binh, North Central Coast, Vietnam, Asia

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Phong Nha is a National Park renowned for some of the largest, most amazing caves in the world. We’ve been super excited about coming here as it was recommended to me by my old friend. She was spot on; this is by far my favourite place in Vietnam so far. The sleeper bus wasn’t ideal though providing someone let out with a sinister scream in their sleep which woke us all up and scared the crap out of us. At least now we can see the funny side. We rented a moped and took it to the Botanical gardens, situated in the middle of the jungle with glistening waterfalls. We then drove to Paradise cave. It was phenomenal. I can’t describe how beautiful my day has been, and photos could never do this place any justice. ... read more
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After shitty Hue anything would have blown our socks off but Phong Nha was really something special, the drive up in the bus gave you glimpses of what was in store and we were excited to explore when the sun got up the next day. We had our free breakfast (always a winner) and hired a moped to head out and explore the national park. There were beautiful limestone mountains as far as the eye could see. Everywhere was thick dense jungle and the place was really wonderful to explore. We paid entry to Paradise cave which was well worth the money. It was only discovered (by the Brits of course) in 2009 and was the most beautiful and impressive cave either of us had ever seen, and there was still 7km of the cave left ... read more


Vietnamese transport has been pretty easy so far; many buses will pick you up from your hostel meaning that you save money and time on a transfer to a bus station and with my bus to Phong Nha, the bus dropped us off right outside the hostel too! Door to door - brilliant. And sometimes there is a hostel so legendary that everyone just simply ends up there. Its legend spreads by word-of-mouth and it often isn't on any booking website. Its reputation comes before it and is all it needs to pull in business. In Phong Nha, that place is called Easy Tiger. Therefore it was no surprise that I bumped into so many people that I had met previously in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An at the hostel. The place had ... read more
Stalactites & Stalagmites
Entrance To Paradise Cave
Along The Boardwalk


I left Hue once again heading North and again via train in the economy section ($60,000VND) for a four hour journey to the coastal city of Dong Hoi which was to serve as my base for exploring Phong Nga-Ka Beng National Park. The National Park is about 50km outside of the city and is home to some massive limestone caverns and cave systems just recently discovered in the early 2000s. Some of the caves are so big they are still being mapped out and are not yet accessible to the public. The ones that are accessible are an incredible sight to behold. I've been in some caves in my day and "Paradise Cave" that I was to visit in the park was one of the most impressive I've seen. Ya, it's not true spelunking as their ... read more
boats
locals
karsts

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Quang Binh » Phong Nha Ke Bang January 27th 2017

Before you visit, you research. You peruse maps, blogs and tourist sites. You um and ah over the best places to visit. With Vietnam in mind Hoi An is a given. When you have no fixed itinerary it is good to hear about places that are a little less travelled. Not entirely off the beaten track of course but enough to give you the desire to go and see. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is one of those places. We set off from Hue in a more than small mini-van. With seats definitely designed for smaller Asian frames we were glad we hadn't had that last Banh My! We had chosen the more expensive option as the route was through the DMZ which we had some curiosity about but not enough to warrant a day tour. ... read more
DMZ bridge
Karst mountains in the rain
Wet ride

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Quang Binh » Phong Nha Ke Bang January 13th 2015

This morning we were up and having breakfast by 7.00am as our pickup was 7.30am to take us to the airport for our flight to Dong Hoi. We had a bit of a panic at the airport as the taxi driver took us to the International airport instead of the domestic. Lucky there were shuttle buses to transport people from on airport to the other as they are just down the road from each other. Hopping on the plane I was a bit nervous as it was only a fairly small plane. You know it’s a small plane when there are only 5 steps to walk up and into it. Flight was fairly smooth and we arrived at Dong Hoi airport at 11.00am. We were met by our driver who drove us the 45mins to the ... read more
Morning flower market
Bridge on the way to the airport
Frankie waiting for the bags.

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Quang Binh » Phong Nha Ke Bang September 20th 2014

Today was easily one of the nicest days of my life. Why? Because sometimes all you need is a reminder that life is simple, and simple things are beautiful and can make you very happy. I travelled from Hue to Phong Nha with Andrew, whom I met in the hostel in Hanoi. Phong Nha National Park has many caves, and you basically come here to explore caves. Many caves are still being discovered in this area on an annual if not weekly basis. Just 4 years ago, the largest cave in the world was discovered here. A trek in this cave takes 7 days. Let's talk about caves. I love caves. Which makes little sense since I'm intensely claustrophobic, but then again I'm also ridiculously stubborn .... so, I came here. To explore caves. Which I ... read more


Leaving Hanoi was hard as we'd had a lovely time eating and drinking our way through all the streets of the old town, and wandering around the lake of an evening. Our next stop was the famous Phong Nha caves, home to the very recently discovered biggest cave in the world. To get there we took a tour to the "Halong Bay of the rice paddies" at Ninh Binh (Tam Coc). It was a beautiful trip in a small canoe along a central canal in the rice paddies with spectacular karst mountains rising up all around you. We also went through a few caves on the boat. It was very touristy however, with boats waiting for us at the end of the river to sell souvenirs, food and drinks, and pretty incessant "tip, tip sir, tip ... read more
Beautiful Tam Coc
Heading towards cave 1
Out the other side with beverage boats waiting


The whole point of heading north to Huế was to eventually make our way to Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park and one of Asia's largest cave systems. Our homestay was in Cu Nam, a rural village surrounded by rice paddies, about 180km north of Huế near the Laotian border. Cu Nam is off the beaten path and the tourist industry is pretty undeveloped so the people we met were extra-friendly and curious. The following morning we were picked up early for the 90 minute drive to the caves and met our fellow trekkers which included an experienced caver and photographer from Calgary named Joseph. Just our luck as Matt doesn't have a tripod and knew that the low light situation in the caves would make photography challenging. Luckily Joseph most generously gave us permission to use some ... read more
Leashed Cattle
Ready to Go!
Roberta descending into the first Cavern


vietnam von unten, ist das tages thema von heute. wir haben neue freunde: esther aus vorarlberg und ben aus neuseeland, die jetzt in schottland leben. zu viert mieten wir uns zwei mopeds um unter strahlend sonnigem vietnamesischen himmel eine tour zu zwei weiteren höhlen zu machen. vietnam lässt sich ja angeblich am besten via moped erkunden und unterwegs wird uns klar, warum. es fahren ohnehin beinahe ausschließlich mopeds, was es zum puren vergnügen macht, über die breiten straßen und ohne störende autos zu cruisen. rechts und links weitreichende reisfelder, kleine dörfer und immer die wundersamen berge in unmittelbarer nähe. nach kurzer strecke erreichen wir den nationalpark, zahlen völlig zurecht eine kleine gebühr, um dann durch irre grüntöne, entlang von türkisen flüssen und beeindruckenden kalkfelsen zu kurven. die straße ist in bestem zustan... read more
paradise cave
paradise cave II
paradise cave III




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