Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. Picture credit Andrew Oliver on flickr.
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has been voted number 15 in the Tripadvisor 2021 Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best World National Parks category.
The national park, in north-central Vietnam, is the oldest karst area in Asia being around 400 million years old. Apart from the limestone karsts the park has incredible caves, mountains, tropical forests and underground rivers. Wildlife include tigers, elephants and black bears.
The area remains undeveloped and is a real adventure playground for people of all ages especially now before the masses eventually arrive and development increases.
Key attractions include:
- Son Doong – the world’s largest cave is not easy to get to but it is well worth the trek to stand in this stunning which has stalagmites reputed to be as big as Big Ben.
- Pygmy Cave – a small name for a cave that is the world’s fourth largest. A cheaper and slightly quicker alternative to Son Doong but still a challenging journey to swim in underground rivers in Tiger Cave and wade through jade-coloured ponds in Over Cave.
- Phong Nha Cave and Paradise Cave – the most accessible and popular attractions in the area can each be done as part of a half-day tour. Suitable for all ages
- Tu Lan – this cave system has an extensive network of tunnels that allows visitors to wade, swim, crawl and climb through the passageways and underground rivers
- Hang Va and Nuoc Nut – Wonderful stalagmites and rock pools are the rewards for the most adventurous and energetic travellers
- Hang En – The world’s third largest cave and more accessible that most others in the area
Getting to Phong Nha is usually either by train – take the Reunification Expresss from Hanoi of Ho Chi Minh City and get off at Ninh Binh, Hue or Da Nang. Alternatively there are flights from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Chiang Mai to Dong Hoi airport.
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