Discover Quang Binh Province Vietnam: 5 Hidden Gems In The Central Coastal Region

Introducing Quang Binh Province Vietnam

Quang Binh Province is a hidden gem nestled within the thinnest stretch of North Central Vietnam. Quang Binh province spans from the vast East Ocean to Laos’s captivating Cha Lo Border, creating a mesmerizing canvas of diverse and lush landscapes. With its neighboring provinces of Ha Tinh to the north and Quang Tri to the south, Quang Binh stands as a nature marvel and an adventurer’s paradise!

The geography of Quang Binh province isn’t the only notable thing about it, though; it’s a treasure trove of natural beauty! Perhaps its crowning jewel is its legendary cave system, but it also boasts breathtaking beaches, temples, jungles, rivers, and forests conducive to unforgettable outdoor adventures!

Best of all, Quang Binh Province is still very much undiscovered. Considering how stunning many parts of it are, it’s pretty astounding how few tourists even hear about it. That’s why this overview of the area will hone in on five hidden gems that characterize the magical beauty of Quang Binh province.

1. Dong Hoi City

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A group of fishermen on sea side in Quảng Bình. Photo by VIA Ambassador Le Van Anh Tai

Dong Hoi is a charming coastal city located in Quang Binh Province, the main gateway to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. The city has a population of 136,000 and is the unofficial capital of Quang Binh Province.

Despite its small size, Dong Hoi City offers a quaint and provincial setting for exploring the authentic culture of small cities in Central Vietnam. Visitors can enjoy Vietnam War history, great seafood, beautiful beaches, opportunities for authentic cultural experiences, and the gateway to Phong Nha National Park.

Enjoy a beautiful river boardwalk, seafood, and beer. Swim in crystal-clear turquoise water. Relax in a peaceful atmosphere with the clean streets of this eco-conscious city. Soak up the quiet, peaceful atmosphere you can’t find in major cities like Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi.

What to Do in Dong Hoi City

The city has many popular attractions, including Nhat Le Beach, Nhat Le River, and Bao Ninh Beach for a quiet getaway. History buffs can admire Dong Hoi Citadel and Tam Toa Church. Relax, unwind, and indulge at local seafood restaurants, locally known as “hải sản bờ kè.” Experience a lively ambiance while relishing in freshly caught, authentic coastal cuisine in a casual, family-style, authentically Vietnamese way. Dong Hoi also offers the opportunity for day trips into Phong Nha.

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Sunset on Nhật Lệ beach. Photo by Quảng Bình Travel

How to get to Dong Hoi?

Getting to Dong Hoi is straightforward with multiple transportation options. You can fly to Dong Hoi Airport with domestic flights operated by Vietnam Airlines. Alternatively, take a train to Dong Hoi Railway Station, well-connected to major cities in Vietnam. Local buses are also available. For flexibility, consider renting a private car or motorbike to explore at your own pace.

2. Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, Quang Binh Province

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site that’s home to rich biodiversity, incredible geography, isolated villages, and much more. In other words, the park is an adventurer’s paradise and undoubtedly one of the most rustic places in Vietnam.

If you’re in Quang Binh Province or anywhere in the vicinity and you love nature, Phong Nha-Ke Bang is a must-visit.

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In case, you can’t go into the cave, the beauty of Phong Nha still wait for you outside. Photos by VIA Ambassador Etienne Bossot

What to Do in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has a wealth of unforgettable experiences waiting to be uncovered! From marveling at the mesmerizing karst formations, kayaking and ziplining over forests and rivers, swimming in mineral hot springs, and exploring the famous Ho Chi Minh trail.

For adventure seekers, the park’s extensive cave network provides options for both hardcore explorers and family-friendly outings. Visitors can also learn about the day-to-day life of locals on a farm stay or visit the Phong Nha Botanical Gardens.

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Son river is the main way for passengers to go to Phong Nha cave. Photo by VIA Ambassador Etienne Bossot

Explore Phong Nha’s Cave System:

The many caves below Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park are so extensive that they need a section all of their own. Let’s take a look at a few of the most notable caves in the Phong Nha cave system.

  • Son Doong Cave — Son Doong Cave is the largest cave in the world in terms of volume. It stretches a total length of 9km from the cave entrance, and the interior is so massive that it is home to the longest underground river in the region with its own unique ecosystem not found outside the cave. A permit or a guided tour ticket is required to explore Son Doong Cave, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime adventure tourism experience.
  • Paradise Cave — Also known as “Thien Duong Cave,” this cave is much more easily accessible than others in the Phong Nha cave system because of its smooth terrain and well-lighted walkways. You could even stand at the cave entrance and admire the inside of Paradise Cave without entering. That being said, the stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave are so numerous and so colorful that Paradise Cave is perhaps the second most famous cave in Phong Nha.
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Son Doong is the world’s largest cave in Quảng Bình. Photo by Andrew Svk
  • Hang En Cave — Hang En is not as deep as many caves in Phong Nha, but the towering entrance and sun-drenched mausoleum-like interior are unique. Visitors can trek into the sandy cave and camp inside for the night, creating an unforgettable experience.
  • Dark Cave — Also called “Hang Toi,” Dark Cave offers ziplining, kayaking, hot springs, and mud bathing. Dark Cave is a good destination for those seeking adrenaline-pumping activities in the Phong Nha cave complex.
  • Tien Son Cave — Tien Son Cave is another one that’s easy to traverse once you’re there. What separates it from the other caves on this list, though, is that the appeal of this particular cave is just as much about the trip to the cave entrance as it is about the cave itself. Visitors must take a short boat ride along the Son River before hiking along a steep but extremely lush jungle path to Tien Son cave.
  • Phong Nha Cave — Possibly the most touristy cave in the park, but a well worth it, beautiful, scenic and relaxing experience! Visitors have to take a guided boat tour to make their way through this 1.5km-long water cave.

Son Doong is the world’s largest cave in Quảng Bình. Photo by Andrew Svk

Learn all about Phong Nha Cave Tours: Explore Central Vietnam’s UNESCO Wonders with our helpful article.

How to Get to Phong Nha?

After getting to Dong Hoi City (a bit more on that in the previous section), getting to Phong Nha-Ke Bang is easy. Simply take a car or motorbike west from Dong Hoi and watch the well-paved roads gradually give way to dirt tracks as you enter Phong Nha.

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Motorbikes are recommended when going to Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng. Photo by VIA Ambassador Etienne Bossot

3. Ba Don Town, Quang Binh Province

Ba Don is a serene safehaven where travelers can enjoy some smalltown hospitality while getting way off the beaten track. The tranquil atmosphere and the beautiful scenery that can be taken in from almost any spot in the city will serve as a constant reminder that you’re far from skyscrapers and city lights. Instead, you’ll get to soak up the town’s unique blend of natural beauty and uniquely Central Vietnamese cultural heritage.

What to Do in Ba Don Town

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A morning in Quang Binh. Photo by VIA Ambassador Etienne Bossot

Spending time in Ba Don may not be as glamorous as visiting metropolises like Ho Chi Minh City or Danang, but it’s arguably a better window into Vietnamese life. You can immerse yourself in local culture through activities like:

  • Swimming or fishing in the Gianh River.
  • Visiting the beach. Bai Xep and Bai Da Nhay are two popular and serene local beaches that are just a few minutes out of town.
  • Visiting temples. Tam Co Temple and Cam Thanh Temple are good places to observe local cultural and spiritual practices.
  • Eating local cuisine. “Ca loc” is a favorite type of fish in the area, and it is used in delicacies like “cha ca ca loc,” “banh xeo ca loc,” “nem ca loc,” and more. Also be sure to try “bun rieu cua” and “com hen.”

How to Get to Ba Don Town?

  1. By Air: The nearest airport is Dong Hoi Airport in Quang Binh Province. From there, you can take a taxi or arrange for local transportation to Ba Don Town, which is approximately 90 kilometers away.
  2. By Train: Travelers can take a train to Dong Hoi Railway Station, which is well-connected to major cities in Vietnam. Once at Dong Hoi, you can hire a taxi or use local buses to reach Ba Don Town.
  3. By Bus: Regular bus services operate between Dong Hoi and Ba Don Town. You can take a bus from Dong Hoi to reach your destination conveniently.
  4. By Private Car or Motorbike: Renting a car or motorbike offers flexibility and allows you to explore the region at your own pace. The road trip to Ba Don Town offers scenic views along the way.

4. Quang Trach, Quang Binh Province

Quang Trach, nestled in the heart of Quang Binh Province, embodies the rustic charm of rural Vietnam. This district boasts diverse landscapes, including serene coastal areas, lush forests, and fertile agricultural lands. Travelers can immerse themselves in local culture, explore untouched natural beauty, and interact with friendly locals. It’s an ideal destination for those seeking a genuine rural Vietnam experience.

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Sunset in Phong Nha, Quang Binh. Photo by VIA Ambassador Etienne Bossot

What to Do in Quang Trach

  • Bai Chuoi Beach: Relax on the quiet and serene Bai Chuoi Beach, enjoying the tranquil ambiance and soothing waves.
  • Explore Local Villages: Stroll or bike through charming villages, engaging with locals and experiencing their daily life.
  • Thien Duong (Paradise) Cave: Visit Thien Duong Cave, also known as Paradise Cave, renowned for its stunning stalactites and stalagmites.
  • Biking and Hiking Trails: Discover the countryside and scenic landscapes through biking or hiking on local trails, perfect for nature enthusiasts.

How to get to Quang Trach?

  1. By Air: Fly to Dong Hoi Airport and then take a taxi or bus to Quang Trach, approximately 60 kilometers away.
  2. By Train: Arrive at Dong Hoi railway station by train and proceed to Quang Trach by road.
  3. By Bus: Regular bus services connect major cities to Dong Hoi, where you can find local buses or taxis to Quang Trach.
  4. By Car or Motorbike: Rent a vehicle for a road trip, offering flexibility and scenic routes.

5. Bo Trach Rural District

Bo Trach is about the furthest off the beaten track you can get. If you find yourself there, It’s a great opportunity to explore what makes rural Vietnam special.

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A group of farmers collecting hay. Photo by VIA Ambassador Etienne Bossot

What to Do in Bo Trach Rural District

You can dive into the countryside of rural Vietnam by:

  • Renting bicycles and going on a self-guided tour through local villages.
  • Swimming or relaxing at the Con River.
  • Simply enjoying the serenity of the area. This is one of those places where you can almost hear the sounds of silence hanging heavy in the air, which is something most tourists don’t often get to experience.
  • Sample local cuisine — Dishes like “banh xeo,” savory Vietnamese pancakes made from rice flour, are available with an added touch of rural flavor you don’t get in even small towns like Ba Don.

How to Get to Bo Trach

Bo Trach is just to the north of Dong Hoi, home to a domestic airport. The North-South reunification highway runs through the district and is well-networked throughout it, so you’ll have no trouble navigating it by road.

Weather in Quang Binh Province, Vietnam

Different regions of Vietnam have very different weather patterns, so it’s important you check the weather in Quang Binh province before you plan a trip there. The chart below shows the average daily temperature (in Fahrenheit) and the average rainfall per day (in inches) for each month of the year in Quang Binh.

JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
Temp68.2970.8375.3880.886.0587.0185.3284.8182.9278.0374.7569.08
Rain2.771.111.441.6421.944.013.8910.1418.037.594.24
A table showing average temperature and rainfall measurements by month.

As you can see, Quang Binh province gets extremely rainy during the months between September and November. Travelers should probably steer clear of the area during those months since the resulting floods can be dangerous.

Furthermore, Quang Binh gets very hot between May and August, especially when the area’s high humidity is factored in. Travelers should be comfortable with heat if they plan on visiting during these months!

Quang Binh Is Waiting

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In case you can’t go into the cave, the beauty of Phong Nha still wait for you outside. Photos by VIA Ambassador Etienne Bossot

Undoubtedly, the magical Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is the “main attraction” that keeps Quang Binh at the forefront of Vietnam’s tourism industry! But if you’re feeling adventurous and want a taste of authentic local life in Vietnam, there’s also much more to the province than that. From the sleepy seaside streets of Dong Hoi City to the dirt paths dotting the tiny villages outside Ba Don, the province is home to many communities that put central Vietnamese values and culture on display.

The rural beauty of Vietnam’s wildlife and ecotourism opportunities shine in Quang Binh, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers in central Vietnam.

Are you ready for an adventure in Quang Binh? Don’t miss out on booking your one-day cave tour with Vietnam Is Awesome. Plus, explore the nearby cities of Hue, Da Nang, and Hoi An for even more exciting experiences. Check out the helpful links below:

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Written by Dustin Kemp
Content Writer - Vietnam Is Awesome
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Dustin moved to Ho Chi Minh City in 2014 and quickly fell in love with the culture and people of Vietnam. He brings his passion to his writing and planning as the Content Manager at Vietnam Is Awesome.