Trains run from most major coastal cities up and down Vietnam and they can be a fabulous travel experience.. If you are taking an overnight train, try to book a soft-sleeper cabin (4 beds per cabin) or even a hard-sleeper (6 beds per cabin instead of 4) for the most comfortable journey. If you book a train ticket to Dong Hoi, you will still need to arrange a transfer from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha.
HANOI TO/FROM PHONG NHA
It is relatively easy to reach Phong Nha from Hanoi and vice versa with a number of transport options including train, bus and of course by flight. Most bus companies will now stop directly in Phong Nha, and taking a bus is therefore becoming a popular choice amongst travellers as it saves on the additional transfer required from Dong Hoi (closest train station and airport to Phong Nha).
It is important to select a train with an arrival time in Dong Hoi at least 2-3 hours before your tour departure, as you will need to still make the 45 mins journey by taxi/private transfer to Phong Nha (additional VND 660,000 for transfer from Dong Hoi). We recommend the following trains from Hanoi to Dong Hoi:
• SE1 – departs Ha Noi at 7:30 PM (19:30) and arrives the following morning in Dong Hoi at 5:35 AM
• SE19 – departs Ha Noi at 8:10 PM (20:10) and arrives the following morning in Dong Hoi at 6:10 AM:
• SE4 – departs Dong Hoi at 7:52 PM (19:52) and arrives the following morning in Ha Noi at 5:30 AM
HUE TO/FROM PHONG NHA
Hue is located just a few hours drive from the jungle and caving capital of Vietnam. It is a relatively convenient route with trains and buses of offer from a number of companies, as well as it being a short drive by private transfer if you preferred
Hue is just a short 4-hour train journey from Dong Hoi and is a popular city to visit before or after one of our caving adventures. However, the connections in the late evening or morning are not great and would have you arriving in Dong Hoi at a bleary-eyed 1:00 AM or 04:30 AM, making it difficult to check in to any hotel.
We would suggest arriving the day before if you intend on taking a train from Hue to ensure you have plenty of rest before your jungle and caving adventure. We would therefore recommend the following trains from Hue to Dong Hoi.
• SE2 – departs Hue at 3:31 PM (15:31) and arriv
es in Dong Hoi at 6:30 PM (18:30)
• SE4 – departs Hue at 4:47 PM (16:47) and arrives in Dong Hoi at 7:37 PM (19:37)
• SE5 – departs Dong Hoi at 7:40 PM (19:40) and arrives in Hue at 10:42 PM (22:42)
Of course, you have quite a few more options if you choose to stay an additional night in Phong Nha, with some early morning trains departing Dong Hoi to Hue at 5:50 AM, 6:28 AM and 7:40 AM. Don’t forget you will need to arrange your transfer from Phong Nha to Dong Hoi in advance if you plan on making your early morning train.
DA NANG (HOI AN) TO/FROM PHONG NHA
Da Nang is the biggest city in central Vietnam with beautiful beaches, mountains and a 45 mins drive from the UNESCO world-heritage town of Hoi An. It is a 7 hour train/bus journey between Da Nang and Phong Nha.
We recommend arriving the day before your tour if you are taking the train from Da Nang to ensure you get a good nights sleep and not arriving too early in the morning. Do not forget if you are travelling on the train to Dong Hoi, you will need to book an additional transfer between Dong Hoi and Phong Nha (VND 660,000 each way).
• SE2 – departs Da Nang at 12:46 PM and arrives in Dong Hoi at 6:30 PM (18:30)
• SE4 – departs Da Nang at 2:13 PM (14:13) and arrives in Dong Hoi at 7:37 PM (19:37)
• SE3 – departs Dong Hoi at 7:40 AM and arrives in Da Nang at 1:00 PM (13:00)
HO CHI MINH CITY TO PHONG NHA
Ho Chi Minh City, also still known by its former name of Saigon, is the biggest city in Vietnam. It is a focal point for those looking to see highlights such as the Mekong Delta, and it’s also a hub for international travel.
The only practical way to journey between Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and Phong Nha is to take a flight with Vietnam Airlines (or from February, Jetstar Pacific Airlines) to Dong Hoi City (located 45 mins drive from Phong Nha). The tickets cost between $80 and $120 each way and please note the flights are not daily.
The bus and train journeys are both just too long to be viable options for those wanting to get quickly between the two cities. Alternatively, for those on a budget but who have a little bit more time, it’s common to find that the cheapest flights are often available between HCMC and Da Nang or Hue (versus direct to Dong Hoi). From Da Nang or Hue, one can find a train to get to Dong Hoi, or even a bus to Phong Nha directly.
Taxi from Dong Hoi railway station to Phong Nha: 500.000 VNĐ
PHONG NHA GECKO HOSTEL
Accommodation & Phong Nha tours