In recent years, Phong Nha has experienced bursts of tourism- and with good reason.
It’s national park, Phong Nha Ke Bang, holds a series of beautiful caves, some accessible by land, others by water, and even one by zipline.
And, Phong Nha is home to the official world’s largest cave (accessible to those with 3,000 USD to spare).
There is also a a botanical garden in this national park, as well as beautiful farmland down the river opposite of the park.
But, Phong Nha Ke Bang also has one thing that most people don’t know about; a boat-accessible village with breathtaking views of the river and mountains.
I found this place by two amazing coincidences.
1. One day I bicycled past the point where you take the boat across the river (not knowing what was on the other side), but seeing locals cross back and forth.
2. The receptionist at Easy Tiger hostel in town heard I was attempting to cycle through the national park to Paradise Cave (which I did!) and recommended me a shortcut involving crossing the river and cutting off 8 km of mountainous cycling…. I soon realized that very shortcut was the boat crossing spot I’d seen yesterday! And I was about to find out the beauty of this detour…
How to Get There-
- Getting to the boat
Relatively easy; about 5kilometers from Phong Nha town. You will follow the river towards the national park, and towards the mouth of Phong Nha cave.
Where you see the road intersect with another road down a hill; this is where you will catch the boat. You will see the boat on the river, it is thin, wooden, and only for standing.
Beautiful river scenes on the way!…………….. Where the road splits off..
2. Crossing the river
A 10 Dong payment for a one-way crossing. Takes about 3 minutes.
The boat is small, but it can hold bicycles/motorbikes!
Shortcut for locals to Phong Nha town too!…..This woman must have some muscles….
How to Navigate-
- Finding the main road
From where you will leave the boat are some dirt roads leading to some houses, follow them, and soon you will see the main cement road. Just keep following this road to go through the village.
2. Crossing the 1st bridge
You will get to a suspension bridge that is not marked on the map, cross it and go deeper into the village.
Kids love to play on these bridges…………… View from the 1st bridge
3. Crossing the 2nd bridge
Another suspension bridge you can cross to explore more of the village.
Beautiful in it’s own way!…………… View from the 2nd bridge.
- Don’t give to the cute children squealing “money, money”, this teaches them to beg.
- Don’t rely on map apps, the bridges aren’t marked and neither are some roads.
- Roam around! Enjoy the mountains surrounding you, and the aquamarine waters.