Seeking an escape from the turbulent urban life? Why not give Hue – Vietnam’s former capital city – a try. With the 19th-century citadel, various royal tombs and the poetic Perfume River, Hue brings you a nostalgic and romantic vibe. Not far from here, you can easily reach the worldly-renowned Phong Nha, a UNESCO-listed heritage in Quang Binh Province offering beautiful caves and karst terrains.
Read on for our top recommendations to travel from Hue to Phong Nha.
What to Know about Phong Nha
Distance between Hue and Phong Nha: 210 km
- Ever heard about the world’s most tremendous natural cave of Son Doong? Brace yourself because it is only the prime example of the Phong Nha’s caves system. Thousands of years of weathering have created a natural masterpiece in Phong Nha with ancient karsts, twisty rivers, and jungle-clad mountains.
- Caving is the absolute favorite activity in Phong Nha. You can also go camping and kayaking to take in the otherworldly beauty of Phong Nha.
- Some caves in Phong Nha have entrance restrictions for conservation purposes, but some are open to the public. Make sure to check with the local tour operator to plan your visit.
- Best time to travel: You should go in the dry season (from April to August) when the outside temperature is 36-37°C and the cave temperature is 20-21°C. The caves are inaccessible in the rainy season (October – December)
- The most popular transports to go from Hue to Phong Nha: bus, train, motorbike, taxi
- Phu Bai International Airport is Hue’s international airport
Phong Nha from above
Suggestions for How to Travel from Hue to Phong Nha
Catch a Bus to Get from Hue to Phong Nha
Choosing a bus for your 210-km travel is an economical choice. You have two options, a public bus or a private bus. But as tourists, you are highly recommended to pick the latter. A private bus helps you to plan the trip easier by allowing you to book in advance and provides you comfort with air conditioning, wifi, blankets, water, etc.
Price: VND 150,000 – VND 300,000/ticket
Duration: 4 – 5 hours
Sitting in the front or middle seat will be more comfortable
Recommended brands: The Sinh, Hung Thanh, Tan Nhat
Private buses are way less crowded than public ones
Take a Train to Get from Hue to Phong Nha
Once venturing Vietnam, don’t miss the chance to spend a night on the train. Unfortunately, there is no direct train to Phong Nha so you now have to switch vehicles. If you depart at Hue at night, Dong Hoi (Quang Binh Province) will welcome you with the cool and fresh air the next morning.
From Dong Hoi train station, you can either catch a bus or a taxi to Phong Nha. Since this will take you from 45 minutes to 1 hour, remember to calculate this period when you map out your plan.
- Itinerary: Hue – Dong Hoi – Phong Nha
- Train from Hue to Dong Hoi: 3 hours – 3 hours 30 minutes
Train ticket price: VND 100,000 – 250,000
- Bus from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha: Nam Ly Bus Station on Tran Hung Dao Street (14 km from the Dong Hoi train station)
Bus ticket price: VND 35,000/person
Bus travel time from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha (about 45 km): 45 minutes – 1 hour
Tips for Taking The Trains in Vietnam
The train’s interior is quite neat and clean
Dong Hoi train station
To avoid scams and language barriers, always buy your train and bus tickets online. Search for train routes and bus lines to go from Hue to Phong Nha in the form below:
Grab a Taxi/Private Car to Go from Hue to Phong Nha
No matter where you go, this is the simplest way to reach the destination. Though it seems pricey, you get the personalized service you pay for. This option allows you to make the most of your trip by visiting some spots on the road.
- Estimated taxi meter: VND 20,000/kilometer
Estimated cost for the journey: VND 2,500,000 – VND 3,000,000
- Duration: 4 hours
- Itinerary: You should drop by other tourist attractions before coming to Phong Nha:
Hue – La Vang Church – Quang Tri Citadel – Hien Luong Bridge and Ben Hai River – Phong Nha
- Recommended brands: Vinasun, Mai Linh, Thanh Cong, GILI, Huong Giang
- Tips: 3 Tips to Avoid Taxi Scams
What’s great about a taxi/car is that it is flexible but does not require you to drive by yourself
Hien Luong Bridge is a witness of the war
A pilgrimage festival at La Vang Church
Rent a Motorbike to Ride from Hue to Phong Nha
Cheap and adventurous – that’s all you can say about a motorbike trip from Hue to Phong Nha! However, if you are not an experienced biker, this can be a great challenge since you have to deal with several passes and narrow roads. Note that you will have to travel back to Hue to return the vehicle, so the entire trip would take around 3-4 days.
- Price: VND 150,000 – 300,000/bike/day (depending on the type of motorbike)
- Duration: 4 – 5 hours
Option 1: Hue – Route 1A – Route 16 – Son Trach – DT 20 – Phong Nha.
Option 2: Hue – Route 1A – Ho Chi Minh Road – Son Trach – DT 20 – Phong Nha.
- Suggested rental places:
Hue Motorbike Adventure
29/103, Nhat Le Street, Thuan Thien, Hue City
31/4, Nguyen Tri Phuong Street, Hue City
19 Ha Noi Street, Hue City
- Check the engines and gears of the bike carefully
- A driving license and passport are required when renting a bike. If the place keeps your passport then they won’t ask for the monetary deposit. However, if you rent from your hotel, you can save time on the paperwork and ask for the motorbike to be delivered to you.
- Deposit for renting a bike in Hue is from VND 3,000,000. You will get the deposit back when returning the bike.
- Read 5 Motorbike Riding Tips for First-time Passengers
Maintain your speed while riding, usually between 40 – 50 km/h
Final Thoughts of How to Travel from Hue to Phong Nha
As the way from Hue to Phong Nha is quite winding with several passes, don’t be surprised if you feel dizzy or tired while traveling. Besides, never buy bus or train tickets from vendors but instead, book on the official website or go directly to their office in the city.