When it comes to tourist attractions in Vietnam, it is not an overstatement to consider Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park at the top. With magnificent landscape, biodiversity, and karst-specific geomorphology, Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park offers an unforgettable experience for your trip to Quang Binh province. From exploring caves to jungle trekking, this site is a true natural wonder waiting to be discovered.
1. An overview of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park Vietnam
- Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park location: Phong Nha town, Bo Trach district, Quang Binh province, Vietnam
Where is Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park? The National Park is situated in the north part of the Annamite Range in Quang Binh province, which is accessible from major cities for tourists to take a Phong Nha Ke Bang tour.
- Total area: 123,326 hectares
Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park is divided into 3 areas, which are 100,296 hectares of strictly protected area, 19,619 hectares of ecological restoration area, and 3,411 hectares of service subdivision.
Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park Vietnam was recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage Site. This is a remarkable natural wonder, featuring a system of massive limestone mountains with diverse geology and topography. The park is nestled under a tropical forest canopy, which is a proper environment for plants and animals to thrive.
Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park has a cave system that is the oldest in Southeast Asia. There are two major cave systems: Phong Nha Cave and Vom Cave. Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park caves are so outstanding that they are often referred to as the "Kingdom of Caves."
2. Why is it named Phong Nha - Ke Bang?
The name "Ke Bang" refers to a bygone era when many villages were named using two descriptive words at the beginning like "Ke" or "Co" (such as Ke Sot Village or Co Lac Village). Even though the villages no longer exist, the word was used to name this area.
The phrase "Phong Nha" is a very symbolic word. “Phong" is a Sino-Vietnamese word for “wind” and “Nha” is a Sino-Vietnamese word for “teeth”. Phong Nha itself evokes the image of the wind gently blowing through the gaps between the rocks.
In addition, "Phong Nha" is a nod to the famous Phong Nha Cave, which has been known since the French colonial period. By incorporating this well-known landmark into the name of the entire national park, the management board hopes to attract more visitors to explore its natural beauty and cultural heritage.
3. The 7 best things that Phong Nha - Ke Bang is famous for
Is Phong Nha worth visiting? In order to answer this question, below are seven notable features of Phong Nha Cave to give you a comprehensive understanding of what to expect on your visit here.
3.1. The longest wet cave
Vom cave, the longest wet cave in the world, boasts an impressive 28 kilometers of underground exploration. Visitors will be left breathless as they navigate through this immense cave and marvel at the fresh water of the underground river. The vastness of Vom Cave is truly awe-inspiring and will leave a lasting impression on every visitor.
3.2. The highest and widest cave mouth
Visitors standing in front of Phong Nha Cave mouth will definitely be overwhelmed by its magnificence. The cave's wide entrance lets the sunlight in, which creates a unique light contrast in different corners of the cave. The deeper visitors go into the cave, the darker it gets. As you row your boat in, you will feel like a tiny little man against the tremendous nature.
3.3. The widest and most beautiful sandy beach and reef
Throughout millions of years, natural processes and water erosion have formed a stunning submerged landscape inside Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park in general and Phong Nha Cave in particular. Visitors will not believe their eyes when they see the natural reefs that have the shapes of animals, people, and even clouds. You will be amazed at this sophisticated handiwork of nature, carved out with such precision and beauty.
3.4. The most beautiful underground lake
Inside Phong Nha Cave, you will see a magical underwater lake, which is truly a sight to behold. The crystal-clear blue water reflects the light that penetrates through the cave's ceiling, making a fairy world for visitors to contemplate and immerse themselves in.
3.5. The most majestic and magnificent system of stalactites
Another not-to-be-missed feature in Phong Nha Cave is the incredible stalactites. These massive stalagmites have impressive size and shapes and also come in a variety of beautiful colors. Once sunlight shines on them, you cannot help but feel entranced by the beauty of the cave.
3.6. The longest underground river in Vietnam
In Phong Nha Cave, there is a subterranean river that stretches over an impressive 1,500 meters. The cool and clear water flows through rock formations, sculpting them into unique and stunning figures. It is hard to believe that such stunning works of art were created by nature. Tourists can experience the magic of this underground river by taking a boat ride or swimming.
3.7. The widest and most beautiful dry cave
Thien Duong Cave in Quang Binh is the most beautiful dry cave in Vietnam. As you step inside, you will see wooden walkways thoughtfully designed for your easy exploration. The deeper you venture into the cave, the more you will be astonished by its natural beauty. The cave ceiling twists and turns like waves of water. Countless stalactites of varying shapes and sizes are illuminated with sparkling lights, creating a shimmering scenery.
4. Best things to do at Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park Vietnam
4.1. Unveil the wonders concealed within the extraordinary caves
Son Doong Cave: The world's largest cave, Son Doong, is a surreal underground paradise with vast chambers, ancient stalagmites, and an underground river that winds through its enchanting expanse.
Tu Lan Cave: Tu Lan offers a thrilling adventure with its emerald pools, cascading waterfalls, and intricate limestone formations, creating a stunning subterranean landscape.
Phong Nha Cave: Entering Phong Nha Cave unveils a mesmerizing world of gleaming stalactites and stalagmites, as you navigate along an underground river that flows through its captivating chambers.
Paradise Cave: As you step into Paradise Cave, you'll be greeted by towering stalagmites and stunning formations, illuminated by soft lighting that accentuates its ethereal beauty.
Hang Va and Nuoc Nut Caves: The journey to Hang Va and Nuoc Nut Caves reveals chambers adorned with delicate stalactites, guided by an underground river that adds to the allure of this subterranean wonderland.
Hang En Cave: Hang En, one of the world's largest cave entrances, invites you to a surreal camping experience within its vast chamber, under a starlit sky that contrasts the dark cavern.
Pygmy Cave: Pygmy Cave boasts intricate calcite formations and unique underground landscapes, igniting the imagination of explorers who venture into its captivating depths.
4.2. Overnight adventures: Camping and caving
For those seeking an immersive experience amidst the natural wonders of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, the option of camping and caving overnight offers an unparalleled opportunity. Imagine spending the night within the heart of these ancient limestone formations, surrounded by the secrets of the underground world. As daylight fades, the caves take on a mystic allure, with the soft glow of headlamps illuminating your path. The experience is not only adventurous but also educational, as expert guides share insights into the park's geology, history, and the unique ecosystems that thrive within.
4.3. Explore by wheels: Cycling and motorbike tours
For enthusiasts of two-wheeled exploration, the opportunity to discover the wonders of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park Vietnam through cycling or motorbike tours presents an invigorating approach to unveiling its hidden gems. Experience the exhilarating rush of wind as you traverse picturesque pathways, absorbing the verdant panoramas and the abundant biodiversity that graces the park. Alternatively, embrace an adventurous spirit on a motorbike, navigating winding routes that lead to concealed alcoves and awe-inspiring vantage points. Whether you opt for the leisurely rhythm of cycling or the adrenaline-pumping thrill of a motorbike, both avenues yield a distinct viewpoint, enabling an intimate connection with the park's multifaceted landscape.
4.4. Wander and Trek: Strolling and Hiking
You can immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Phong Nha - Ke Bang Caves by taking a leisurely stroll or embarking on a rewarding hiking adventure. Whether you opt for a tranquil amble or a challenging hike, the park's diverse landscapes offer a captivating journey. Wander along well-marked trails that wind through lush forests, revealing hidden streams and delicate flora. For those seeking a more rigorous experience, hiking paths lead to panoramic viewpoints that offer breathtaking vistas of the surrounding karst formations.
5. Explore the hidden cultural values of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park
Visitors to Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park have the chance to not only contemplate a beautiful masterpiece of nature but also dive into a cultural treasure trove.
- Values of natural beauty: Phong Nha Cave is simply awe-inspiring, reminding us of how nature has bestowed upon us with magnificient gifts.
- Values of rich history: The cave's rich history has been carefully preserved over the years, allowing visitors to experience its enduring beauty and discover the fascinating stories that it holds.
- Values of tourism: With the conservation and sustainable development of Phong Nha Caves natural beauty, the area has become a hub for tourism. This tourist destination has been attracting millions of visitors from around the world every year and creating new job opportunities for the local people.
6. How to get to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park?
To get to the National Park, there are several means of transportation for visitors to choose from. If you depart from other cities, a plane will be the best choice to reach Quang Binh province. From the center of Quang Binh, you can choose to go either by:
- Motorbike: If you prefer flexibility, a motorbike is the ideal option. It takes approximately an hour to travel 45 kilometers from the city center of Dong Hoi, Quang Binh, to get to the National Park.
- Car: For a more comfortable ride, a car can get you from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha in just 45 - 50 minutes.
- Bus: For budget-conscious travelers, a bus is an excellent choice. As the bus will make several stops along the way, a trip to the National Park will take about 65 - 70 minutes.
7. Frequently asked questions about Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park
7.1. What are the opening hours of the national park?
Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park opens its doors to visitors from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM, so make sure to plan your visit accordingly.
7.2. How much is the ticket price to enter the national park?
- Adults: 150,000 VND
- Children under 1.3 meters: 75,000 VND
- Boat fee: 360,000 VND per boat, which can accommodate up to 12 passengers including children and are equipped with life vests
7.3. Is it possible to take photos or film inside the caves?
Visitors are welcome to take photos and film during their exploration of Phong Nha Cave. There are many designated rest areas, with wooden floors and proper lighting, where you can capture those picture-perfect moments.
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Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park is a nature treasure in Vietnam that should not be missed out on. With its magnificent karst landscape and vast network of caves and underground rivers, this park offers an unforgettable experience for all nature lovers. Therefore, it should be at the top of the bucket list for anyone planning a trip to Vietnam.