When is the Best Time to Visit Phong Nha?
The ideal time to visit is from February to August, when the weather is dry, making it suitable for cave explorations and outdoor activities.
A. Getting to Vietnam
If you’re headed to Phong Nha, the closest international airports are Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi and Da Nang International Airport.
B. How to get to Phong Nha
Take a domestic flight to Dong Hoi Airport. From Hanoi or Da Nang, Phong Nha is just a 40-minute drive away. A taxi is the most convenient option for the trip, but many companies are running shuttles from the airport. Spend a few minutes looking for a shuttle for a much cheaper trip.
C. How to get around in Phong Nha
- Motorbike Rentals: Rent a motorbike to explore at your own pace. Find rental shops in town or at your hotel. Hire a driver for the Phong Nha Loop if you need more experience driving.
- Bicycle Rentals: Ideal for those who prefer a slower pace to enjoy the scenic landscapes.
- Taxis or Private Cars: Convenient for longer distances or group travel. They can be booked through hotels or local services.
- Guided Tours: Many opt for organized tours that include transportation, especially for visiting the famous caves and national park areas. Learn all about cave tours in Phong Nha and how to navigate them with our comprehensive guide.
- Walking: Strolling through the village center is a great way to explore the area. This lets you discover various restaurants and cafes along the Phong Nha River. Walking is ideal for short distances and immersing yourself in the local atmosphere.
Before You Go: Visa, Currency, Timezone, Voltage, ATMs, Credit Cards, Internet, SIM Cards, Tips
- Visa: Check visa requirements based on your nationality. Find out more about getting a Vietnam Visa before you visit Phong Nha.
- Timezone: Vietnam is in the Indochina Time Zone (ICT), UTC+7.
- Voltage: The standard voltage is 220V, and the outlets usually accept three different plugs: A, C, and F. If you are from Europe, Japan, or the Americas, your plugs will work fine. Otherwise, you’ll need an adapter. Note that many Vietnamese outlets do not have a third hole for grounding, and so can only accept two-pronged plugs.
- Internet: Most cafes, hotels, and restaurants in Phong Nha offer free Wi-Fi, but it’s recommended to buy a local SIM card with data at the airport upon arrival. Cell service or data coverage may be limited in some parts of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, especially in remote areas.
- SIM Cards: You can buy SIM cards at the airport or local stores. You’ll need to provide your passport. Viettel, Mobifone, and VinaPhone are the best mobile networks in Phong Nha and most of Vietnam.
- Currency: Vietnam uses the Vietnamese Dong (VND). VND only comes in bills (no coins), and 1 USD equals about 24,000 VND (commonly abbreviated as 24k). Some shops catering to tourists may accept USD, but most only take VND.
- Credit Cards: Visa and MasterCard are commonly accepted at large businesses like hotels, indoor restaurants, or upscale shopping venues, but smaller enterprises usually only take cash.
- ATMs: A few ATMs are available in Phong Nha. However, most businesses accept VISA and credit cards. It is recommended that travelers carry some cash for convenience.
- Tipping: Vietnam is not a tipping culture, so a tip is not expected. A tip is a good way to bring a smile to someone’s face, though. Note that cab drivers and tour guides often rely on some tipping, so it’s a good idea to tip them.
Understanding Culture & Customs In Phong Nha
Phong Nha’s local culture is deeply connected to its natural environment. The community values preserving their natural heritage and practices a simple, rural lifestyle. That means respecting nature is the #1 rule when visiting Phong Nha. Besides that, remember the general rules of Vietnamese etiquette, and you should be fine. To learn more about the people and the natural beauty that make up the culture of Phong Nha, listen to our podcast about the park.