7 Reasons Why You MUST Visit Phong Nha (No. 6 Is Crazy!)
If you’re coming to Vietnam and you like phenomenal natural beauty, uncovering hidden spots, and getting out of your comfort zone, Phong Nha is a must. Vietnam cave tours are easily the best in the region, if not the world, so while you’re exploring Vietnam – don’t be afraid to dive right in! But there’s so much more to this breath-taking destination, including hiking, cycling, motorbiking, kayaking, and the Duck Stop. Yes, The Duck Stop, more on that story later.
Here are 7 reasons why Phong Nha is an unmissable destination:
1. Unspoiled adventure and jungle tours
Sick of overcrowding at tourist hot spots? Phong Nha gives you something way off the beaten track and lets you explore the immense natural beauty in peace. The largest cave in the world, Son Doong Cave, was only discovered in 2009, and other giant caves are still being stumbled upon today.
This could be your chance to discover the next massive caves or at very least, capture some incredible moments for Instagram!
Outside of these enormous cave systems there is dense jungle foliage to trek through, keeping you perfectly isolated from the madness of the modern world.
2. The largest cave in the world
This magnificent catacomb of caves is the home of Son Doong Cave, the largest cave system in the world. Get yourself out of the rat race and into one of the most stunning natural beauties on the face of the earth, in Phong Nha.
While this particular Vietnam cave tour may be a little expensive for the average enthusiast (think thousands of dollars), Phong Nha is blessed with countless, beautiful caves, many of which are absolutely massive and considerably more affordable (see below).
The size and diversity of Phong Nha’s other cave systems, along with their more affordable exploration prices, make Phong Nha a must-visit destination – especially for someone looking to do something a little different in Vietnam. Anyone can sit around at Hanoi’s Bia Corner, but not everyone who visits Vietnam thinks to check out Phong Nha.
Still, the fact that some chambers of this cave are 200 metres high – the same height as two Big Bens stacked on top of one another – it could well be worth saving up!
Expeditions to caves like Hang Pygmy, the 4th largest cave in the world, offer a challenging, but rewarding experience, whereas different caves like Tra Ang, which has only been open to visitors for two years, give you the chance to swim through 1km of ancient cave river. Find the right cave tour for you, based on what you want to get out of the trip.
We’ve mentioned the unspoiled natural beauty of Phong Nha already, but there’s more to the destination than caves. You can delve deeper into the iconic jungles of Vietnam than most people dare with the help of our exceptional guides.
Trekking through the jungles, you’ll discover there’s much more to Vietnam to motorbikes and rice wine – there’s a rich, biodiversity to Phong Nha that’s unlike anywhere else in Vietnam. Sprawling jungle is met with picturesque rivers that weave through valleys, so you can take a quick swim to cool off.
5. Cycling and motorbiking
Meandering through Bong Lai Valley is such a peaceful pastime that you’ll need to make sure you take a break from your busy caving schedule.
Along the way you can stop off at some of the local drinking haunts (see drinking haunts below) and experience a duck massage (see duck massage below).
Besides that, just winding your way through the sweeping vistas past limestone karsts and around the rivers is an essential experience for anyone looking to lose themselves in the serenity of Vietnam’s lesser known beauties.
6. The Duck Stop – no, really
As odd as it may sound, this family run farm goes head to head with the Vietnam cave tours as Phong Nha’s top attraction. For many people passing by on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, this really is a reason to stop.
A tenacious 16-year-old schoolboy basically set up the whole thing. You ride around on the family’s water buffalo, named Donald Trump, and have a mob of ducks peck your feet as a form of massage.
It’s completely nuts, but wholesome and charming, and one of the best reasons to visit Phong Nha. If you came to Phong Nha and didn’t see the ducks, did you even go to Phong Nha?
7. The food
While the food may be the central point of this section, one place stands out amongst the rest. Initially ‘discovered’ by Ben, local exploration expat, the Pub with Cold Beer has become a beacon for foodies and has appeared in the New York Times, Huffington Post and The Guardian.
While all the food in Phong Nha is delicious and fresh, nothing is quite like the chicken at The Pub with Cold Beer. You can even kill it yourself, if you’re into that sort of thing.
If you’ve not found what you’re looking for yet, check out our complete guide to everything you need to know about Phong Nha here.