Love to learn the local but sick of being in a scheduled tour? We are here to help you out with Independent Travel section to give you the suggestion on the itinerary with more freedom and flexibility to explore at your own pace. No guides or escorts accompany you and there’s no touring schedule, you are free to roam by yourself with the fullest taste of Quang Binh.

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS YOU CAN DO BY YOURSELF

LOCAL CUISINE EXPERIENCES

  • Dong Hoi

    Mother Suot Statue

  • Dong Hoi

    Tam Toa Church

  • Dong Hoi

    Quang Binh Citadel

  • Dong Hoi

    Nhat Le Beach

  • Phong Nha

    Chay Lap Water Sport Center

  • Phong Nha

    Zip line – Dark Cave

  • Quang Binh Cuisine

  • Quang Binh Cuisine

  • Quang Binh Cuisine

  • Quang Binh Cuisine

  • Quang Binh Cuisine

DONG HOI

  • Quang Binh Citadel

Quang Binh Citadel is located in Dong Hoi, Quang Binh Province. It is a complex of high fences and towers, forming a fortress that protected the kings and the capital of the Nguyen dynasty since 1630. The citadel is 1500 m away from Nhat Le Beach; it stands vividly as an honorable symbol of the brave country, attracting visitors from many places around the country and the world.

  • Mother Suot Statue

Mother Nguyen Thi Suot (1906 – 1968), was a labor heroine in the Vietnam War, a 60-year-old woman who risked her life doggedly ferrying Vietnamese soldiers and artillery in a small wooden boat to the other side of the bank of Nhat Le River. The Mother Suot Statue stands proudly in a square next to Nhat Le River and has become a historical tourism place in Quang Binh. The statue is stone-crafted as a picture of the courageous Mother Suot as she was sailing across the river with soldiers on board.

  • Tam Toa Church

Tam Toa Church is an old Catholic church built during the late 19th Century in Dong Hoi, Quang Binh Province. During the Vietnam War, the church was destroyed by American bombs and only the facade & the big bell remains behind some iron gates. Tam Toa Church is considered as a historical symbol of the enduring lives of Vietnam through wars and an endless pride of the local people.

  • Nhat Le Beach

Nhat Le Beach is a beach in Dong Hoi, which is the capital of Quang Binh Province, located on the mouth of the Nhat Le River as it empties into the East Sea. The beach is generally empty with a smattering of locals, a few hotels and restaurants, scattered construction work, and a small play park for kids. The sand here is soft and fine, and the view is gorgeous. There is a four-star resort at the opposite bank of the river.

  • Dong Hoi Local Market

The Dong Hoi local market is located along the bank of Nhat Le River. Almost every city in Vietnam will have its own wet market, but the market in Dong Hoi is actually quite impressive in terms of size and variety of fresh products. Dong Hoi is a significant fishing port along the Vietnamese coast, so the selection is wide. Don’t forget to stop by local cafes to enjoy the traditional Vietnamese fashion of having coffee while browsing around the city.

PHONG NHA - WATER SPORTS CENTER

  • CHAY LAP FARMSTAY & CHAY LAP RIVERSIDE WATER SPORTS CENTER 

If you’re looking for some rest & relaxation as well as some light adventure water sports, venture no farther than Chay Lap Farmstay. Located just a few kilometers from the National Park entrance and 18 km from Phong Nha, this countryside resort has a swimming pool, a great restaurant, and by far the best drinks list in the region. It also boasts lots of different water activities for adventurers of any age.

For dining, you can eat inside at the air-conditioned Expedition Café (you won’t find many of those around here!), outside by the pool, or even down by the Riverside Café next to the Water Sport Center. Meals at the Expedition Café range from Vietnamese cuisine to pastas and pizza, so there’s something for everyone. Light food and drinks are served at the Riverside Café.

You can put your feet up and hang out by the pool, or you can be more adventurous and head down to Chay Riverside where you’ll find the Water Sport Center. Here you will have your choice of river cruises, sailing, kayaks, water skippers, and round boats. Each of these is sure to

PHONG NHA - KAYAKING

  • Kayaking at Oxalis

If you like starting or winding down your day with a light dose of adventure, why not rent a kayak at Oxalis Headquarters? From Oxalis, you can kayak just up the river to Ho Khanh’s Homestay or Phong Nha River House, both of which boast excellent Vietnamese coffee. Phong Nha River House also dishes up the best Vietnamese food in town. Both locations have a beach where you can leave the kayak if you pop in for a drink, but please ask the staff there to help you tie it up so it doesn’t float away. For those who want to go a little farther, a paddle up to the entrance of Phong Nha Cave is a good choice (but please, don’t enter the cave via kayak).

PHONG NHA - CHILL OUT

  • Beach at Oxalis

Need a lazy day? Why not spend it lounging on the beach at Oxalis! Deck chairs sit atop the sand, or you can also bring down a cushy bean bag chair to lie on. Waitstaff are happy to serve your drinks on the beach and you can take a dip in the river if you need to cool off; curl up on a bean bag chair with a book and hot coffee in the winter months.

  • Pub Crawls

If a few drinks throughout the day is more your style, consider a pub crawl throughout Phong Nha and Bong Lai Valley. Please be careful if you’re driving and indulge yourself responsibly (proper medical care isn’t close)! Your best option would be to hire a licensed motorbike driver for the day who can take you around while you jump on back and soak up the views, take photos, and drink without worrying about how to get home safely. A sample itinerary is Easy Tiger –> Bomb Crater Bar –> Moi Moi –> Pub with Cold Beer –> sunset at Farmstay. Or you could leave Farmstay sooner and enjoy Bomb Crater Bar at sunset instead. The highlight of this choice is getting to take a swim in the river while enjoying the sunset!

  • Bong Lai Valley

If you want to see Bong Lai Valley but perhaps without making all the beer stops, maybe just pick one or two choices to check out. Bong Lai Valley is home to several families who cater to travelers in search of good food and a cold beer. The original Pub with Cold Beer is perhaps the most well-known, but these days Moi Moi, The Duck Stop, and Wild Boar Eco Farm give them a run for their money on great views, fresh food, and incredible hospitality. Food is all fresh from the garden/farm and served family style. Going in a group is always more fun!

Price: The price of a meal per person is about 100,000 VND at these stops, depending on group size; beers are about 20,000 VND (prices subject to fluctuate)

PHONG NHA - PARADISE CAVE

Paradise Cave is a must-see during your stay here, especially if you’re riding the National Park loop. Once thought to be among the biggest caves in the world, what is referred to as Paradise Cave is actually a dry passage of Vom Cave System. Vom Cave is the longest dry cave in Asia at 31 km. Currently tourists can visit the first kilometer of Paradise Cave, which is entered via a long set of stairs followed by a wooden boardwalk. There is a light system set up in the cave which allows you to marvel at all the formations and get some good photos as well. The price doesn’t include the electric carts which take you from the front entrance to the bottom of the stairs leading up to the cave. You’re welcome to opt out of the cart and walk instead, but the stairs aren’t optional so get those legs ready.

Price:  250,000 VND per adult and 125,000 VND per child

PHONG NHA - DARK CAVE

Dark Cave is for the more adventurous and is a very muddy excursion. You’ll definitely want to bring a change of clothes with you and a towel if you go. The cave is reached via a very short kayak or a zip-line. There are smaller zip-lines and some family activities are available as well, the price of which is included in the cave tour.

*Please be advised that we highlight Dark Cave in this section because many people ask about it, but we are not liable for their safety standards nor do we endorse participation in this activity.

  • Price (entrance fees vary): High season all-inclusive (cave and zip-line) 450,000 VND per person.
  • Low season all-inclusive 250,000 VND per person.
  • High season limited access (zip-line & kayak) 270,000 VND per person.
  • Low season limited access 170,000 VND per person.

PHONG NHA - NUOC MOOC ECOTRAIL

The ecotrail is tucked into the jungle just off the main road of the national park loop. The trails are defined by bamboo floorboards and clearly marked paths, and they’ll take you over gushing rivers and to some small lagoons; the first lagoon has been set up with a mini ropes course and is great fun for kids. As you venture further along the trails, you’ll find a larger area set up for kayaking and splashing around. The ecotrail can be a bit busy during the summer months when kids are out for school break, but it’s still worth a visit to if you’re looking to cool off.

Price: 80,000 VND per person for basic entrance fee; 180,000 VND for all access pass

PHONG NHA - PHONG NHA CAVE

Another must-see attraction in Phong Nha, this cave is located at the top of a fork in the Son River; to reach it; you’ll purchase tickets from the Tourism Center in town and then hop into a dragon boat which will take you 3 km up the river to the entrance of the cave. You’ll then continue through the first km of the cave by boat, and on your way out, be able to explore about 500 m by foot. The boat picks you back up and returns you at the Tourism Center in town. This is a great choice if the weather is too hot for riding a motorbike and you need a cool escape. The cave is artificially lit in a very tasteful manner, highlighting the most fascinating formations well and providing excellent conditions for photographic opportunities.

Price: 150,000 VND/per person entrance fee and 360,000 VND/boat (which seats 12); you can pay 300,000 VND extra for an English speaking guide to accompany you on the boat (upon availability)

DONG HOI - SHRIMP & PORK TAPIOCA DUMPLINGS

Banh bot loc (Shrimp and Pork Tapioca Dumplings) is a small, clear-looking, chewy tapioca dumpling in Vietnamese cuisine that can be eaten as appetizers or small snacks. They are usually filled with shrimp and pork belly, often being topped with fried shallots and served with sweet chili fish sauce. Banh Loc Me Xuan is the most popular brand of true Banh bot loc in Quang Binh. Things that make Banh Loc Me Xuan unique is the fresh ingredients with special way of making it taste totally different from others. Banh Loc Me Xuan is just bite-size – but the filling is bursting with wonderful flavors, giving you a taste of life that will never be forgotten!

DONG HOI - LOCAL CAKES

Tu Quy Restaurant is well-known as the best restaurant in town for Vietnamese street food dishes. With much variety in the menu, Tu Quy Restaurant offers tourist a great taste of local cuisines of ‘banh xeo’ (Vietnamese crépe), ‘banh khoai’ (stuffed omelette), ‘bun thit nuong’ (Vietnamese Grilled Pork & Rice Noodle), ‘banh beo’ (Water fern cake), with the most popular dish being ‘banh xeo’.
Like the salad roll, the “banh xeo” is a dish that involves the messy but delicious process of wrapping the crepe in lettuce with cilantro and basil. One piece on the bottom, and another on top encase what is usually a salad consisting of bean sprouts, prawns, boiled pork, taro and carrot. Drench in fish sauce and you have a deliciously messy slice of fine pleasure. Tu Quy Restaurant is famed for the best restaurant of ‘Banh Xeo’ in town.
You will not want to miss the chance to have a closer taste of Quang Binh’s traditional cuisine in this one small little dish!

DONG HOI - LOCAL RESTAURANTS

  • QB Restaurant & Café

Established in 2006, the QB Bar & Restaurant is located in the central city square, known as the Quang Binh Citadel (01 Le Loi Street, Dong Hoi). The restaurant serves different kinds of cuisine from all around the world including Vietnamese, Korean, Italian, Japanese.  Hotpots and grills are the most popular dishes. The QB restaurant also offers a wide selection of drinks such as teas, coffee (Western & Vietnamese coffee are available), smoothies and juices. Customers will even be more satisfied by comfortable furniture and welcoming ambience in the restaurant.

  • Chang Chang Restaurants

Chang Chang Family is a group of local cuisine restaurant in Dong Hoi, Quang Binh. There are three members of the chain: Chang Chang Riverside, Chang Chang Quan & Chang Chang Party. The goal of Chang Chang Family is to create a traditional Vietnamese atmosphere in Dong Hoi, followed by the mission of “each dish is Vietnam”. Chang Chang Restaurant welcomes hundreds of domestic & international tourists a day with their beautifully delicious food.

Chang Chang Riverside is a restaurant that lies by the Nhat Le River Bank. Owning one of the best view of the river & Bao Ninh island, Chang Chang Riverside brought up a romantic side of Quang Binh, serving some of the best traditional dishes in town.

Chang Chang Quan & Chang Chang Party is the place that will be most suitable for group meetings, friend reunions with the wide & modern space. Along with the beautiful decorations, the quality of food of Chang Chang will never disappoint anyone’s tastes.

PHONG NHA - WESTERN & VIETNAMESE FOODS

  • Expedition Restaurant & Lounge – Chay Lap Farmstay

Eat, Sip, and chill from sunrise to sunset and into the evening hours beyond in Expedition Restaurant. This hub of Chay Lap Farmstay is a great place to dine and unwind during your stay and meet up with other guests who are part of the Farmstay family while you are staying here.

Expedition Bar adjacent to the main restaurant area is the casual lounge bar area offering a combination of seating styles to sit back and relax in, while enjoying your favorite chilled beverage from the large beverage list. Light snacks from our ‘Peckish Nibbles’ menu will compliment your favorite beverage before dinner.

  • Oxalis Home

Expedition Cafe is situated next to Son River. The cafe offers the perfect spot to enjoy a freshly prepared meal and refreshing cold drink with seasonal fresh juice and dishes. The menu is created and improved based on the availability of local food in Phong Nha.

At Expedition Café of Oxalis Home, the team is dedicated to providing customers the best dining experience. Other Services: Expedition Café also organizes dinner on the nearby islands or on the beach below. Customers can personalize their own meal and setting. Just down the stairs, Expedition Café has just opened a river beach equipped with beach towels for rent and safety jackets.

  • Phong Nha Lake House Restaurant

The Lake House offers exquisite Vietnamese and Western cuisine overlooking a beautiful natural landscape. The Lake House restaurant is an experience itself; it combines the highest possible standard of taste, presentation and atmosphere.

The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner & caters to private functions. Using fresh ingredients, the Lake House chefs are free to let their creativity flow, to bring you traditional and unique culinary delights using the best possible locally-sourced Pacific Rim produce. Lake House offers a swim-up bar and relaxed lounge area on both their pool deck below and their upper deck where the restaurant is located.

Both decks are perfect places to relax with friends and family whilst overlooking the stunning lake. Sip on an authentic Vietnamese coffee while you watch the sunrise. Enjoy a light snack and cool beverage while you plan your adventure for the day. As the late afternoon light descends over the lake enjoy a cocktail on the balcony, before digging into an evening feast. Customers are always treated with a very warm welcome and high customer service.

  • Bamboo Café

Phong Nha Bamboo Cafe opened in July 2014 and it is owned by a local couple, Hai & Van. Hai is one of the first people who initiated tourism development in this small town, and he is a strong advocate in the community of animal and environmental welfare and conservation. He and his wife came up with the idea to create a beautiful and chill space for all travelers to stop by to enjoy great coffee and food (mostly Vietnamese food with a Western touch and some Western food options as well). It was also designed as an atmospheric place to meet other people and learn about local culture. Friendly and smiling staff are always there to serve and help you at anytime. As a local business, Bamboo Cafe prefers to employ locals from around this region to work for them. Many of them used to be farmers and had never worked in tourism before, and now they are working at Bamboo Café and largely contributing to the success of the business

PHONG NHA - LOCAL FOODS

  • Vung Hue Restaurant

Located on the other side of the street from the Phong Nha Tourism Center, Vung Hue Restaurant sits just off the main road. Turn up the street which runs next to the Phong Nha Bus Station, and it’s 100 m in the distance on the right-hand side.

Vung Hue Restaurant is the destination for local food, especially for groups of travelers. They serve almost all tasty local specialties such as local chicken, perch fish, carp fish, “mat” fish, local crayfish, and local vegetables such as morning glory, Malabar spinach, and more. They have a good menu but most of the best dishes are served seasonally.

Hours of Operation: 8:00 am – 09:00 pm

TIPS FOR TRAVEL INDEPENDENTLY 

MOTORBIKE RENT

Dong Hoi

  • Phone

    +84 (0) 127 373 7373 (Buffalo pub and hostel)

  • Price

    ~ VND 150,000 – 200,000/day

Phong Nha

  • Phone

    +84 (0) 918 915 823 (Thang’s Phong Nha Riders)

  • Price

    ~VND 100,000 – 150,000/day

MEDICAL CARE

Dong Hoi

  • Vietnam - Cuba Friendship Hospital
  • Address

    Nam Ly Ward, Dong Hoi City, Quangbinh Province

  • Phone

    +84 (0) 52 3825 105

Phong Nha

  • Local Medical Clinic

    (No English Spoken)

  • Address

    Near the entrance to town

ATM

Donghoi

  • BIDV
    • 46 Quang Trung Street, Donghoi City
    • 01 Tran Hung Dao Street, Donghoi City
    • 189 Huu Nghi Street, Donghoi City
  • Vietcombank
    • 54 Nguyen Huu Canh Street, Donghoi City
    • 03 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Donghoi City
    • 312 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Donghoi City

Phong Nha

  • Sacombank
    • In front of Phong Nha Tourism Center

Holidays

Vietnamese Holidays

  • 28/01/2017 – 30/01/2017: Vietnamese New Year

  • 07/04/2017: Hung Kings Commemorations

  • 30/04/2017: Liberation Day/Reunification Day

  • 01/05/2017: International Workers’ Day

  • 02/09/2017: National Day