At an impressive five miles in length, Phong Nha Cave was once believed to be the largest in Vietnam, until the discovery of Son Doong. Although only a fraction of Phong Nha Cave can be explored by tourists, the unrivalled beauty you will be treated to deserves the attention of even the most prestigious of camara lenses. Located to the north of Vietnam’s coastline, this incredible cavity can only be accessed by boat after a three mile (30 minute) ride upstream.
Phong Nha Cave has always inspired a mystical fascination among the local community, since the time of the Cham people, around the ninth or tenth century. The Vietnamese people of later ages would often travel to Phong Nha Cave to pay homage to the guardian spirits during times of drought, often met with success too. Legend has it that the rainmaker was deeply offended by the invasion of the Europeans during the 20th century, however this did not deter them from creating a small hotel in the area, due to rising popularity of Phong Nha and the surrounding caves. Originally the cave was lit up with an array of flamboyant and psychedelic lighting, however it has since been revamped with more elegant decor schemes, tailored to display the cave’s best features. This area played a small role in the American war as it was regarded as a safe warehousing space; evidence of bombing attacks above the entrance of Phong Nha Cave can still be seen today.
Once your boat transfer approaches the entrance of Phong Nha Cave, your driver will turn the engine off and resort to paddle power for safety reasons. However, this will also give you more time to appreciate the complexity and beauty of the rippling limestone walls, as well as the monumental stalagmites and stalactites. You will eventually reach a subterranean beach and will have the option to follow the half kilometre trail throughout other parts of the cave. Wearing flip flops will be adequate, however be sure to stick to the highlighted path to avoid injury on the jagged rock formations.
As Phong Nha Cave is located in the north of Vietnam, the surrounding area experiences a similar weather system. Between 2000 and 2,500 mm of rainfall soaks this area per year, with the most abundant water levels being between September and December, therefore it’s best to avoid visiting around this time. From October to December, the temperatures can occasionally drop to as low as 6°C, which will make your trip very unpleasant. The driest months of the year are February and March, however any time between February and August are perfectly adequate for a visit to Phong Nha Cave.
See our North of Vietnam Tour Packages with Phong Nha Cave or our complete range of private tailor-made holidays.We can help you see this strange cultural phenomenon for yourself, in some of Vietnam’s most bustling cities.