After enjoying a simple breakfast at the hotel, we start our journey to discover well-known caves of Phong Nha. Let’s come to Phong Nha Cave first. After buying tickets, you will be taken on a motorboat to get into the cave. You will have a chance to enjoy the peaceful lakeside views in approximately 30 minutes. There will be no aircon on the boat then it would be good to have a hand fan, hat and sunglasses. When we reach the cave gate, they took the roof off the boat so that we can see beautiful stalagmites. They rowed you inside the cave and a local guide even show us some particular shapes like a hand, corn, etc. It is very interesting to hear that scientists say it takes hundreds of years for two rocks with hand shape to reach each other. With normal tours, we will explore only about 1.2 km from the entrance gate where there are lights. For those who prefer to go deeper inside, discovering 4.5km by kayak will be very exciting. Surely, miner with torch will be provided. Entrance ticket is VND 150,000 per adult and boat ride costs USD 360,000. You can share with other people to save cost as the maximum occupancy is 12 passengers per boat. After visiting Phong Nha Cave, you can also see the nearby Tien Son Cave with an additional fee of VND 80,000. I went there with my little daughter so I skipped this part. Still, some other members in the group all agreed that it worth to hike up the step and the view is breathtaking.
In the afternoon, we continue discovering another cave called Dark Cave. There are plenty of exciting activities to do there. I was expecting for the zipline and it was not disappointed me. Deep inside the Dark Cave, mud bath is good fun and a unique experience that I have never done before. You can also do kayaking on Chay River, water is crystal clear then photo opportunities are endless. Entrance ticket is VND 450,000 per person and for me, it is reasonable with mentioned experiences. Dark Cave is a great place to cool off for those with good physical conditions. Still, it is not for everyone – kids or elderly. If you travel Vietnam family holiday packages 2018, Paradise Cave seems more suitable.
Another highlight of our Phong Nha trip is motorbike tour. One the way from Phong Nha town to Dark Cave, you will see mountains, river and cows and children – all create a picturesque scenery of the countryside. One the way back to town from Dark Cave, we ride our motorbike through the national park with lush trees, green and cool.
The best way to finish a day in Phong Nha is enjoying the sunset on Son River. We choose a coffee shop on the riverside with sunbath chairs and just lie there, sip a cup of coffee. This kind of quiet and peaceful atmosphere is so hard to find in the city of Hanoi. When you end your trip in Phong Nha, you can either go back to Hanoi or travel onward to Hue – Hoi An with several hours ride by private car or public bus.
After they filmed the movie Kong: Skull Island, Quang Binh and Phong Nha is now becoming a rising attraction. I understand that there are plenty of attractive destinations out there, yet Phong Nha is something different from other popular spots. Just go there before massive tourism knocks this place. Phong Nha Cave, Tien Son Cave, Dark Cave and Paradise Cave can be seen daily and not required to book in advance. Still, for if you would love to explore En Cave or Son Doong Cave, you will need to check available dates and book early.