The best way to travel the 495km distance from Hanoi to Phong Nha is by bus. This direct night bus journey costs $12.50 and takes 10 hours. You can also take the train (11.5 hours) or a flight (3.5 hours). However, the two alternative options include a few transfers.
We recommend taking the night bus from Hanoi to Phong Nha. The advantage of the bus is that they drop you directly at the main street of Phong Nha.
Since Phong Nha doesn’t have a railway station, you have to take the train from Hanoi to Dong Hoi. From Dong Hoi railway station, you can take a bus or taxi which takes you in 1-1.5 hours to Phong Nha.
The same goes for flying. The closest airport to Phong Nha is Dong Hoi. From Dong Hoi Airport, it is best to take a taxi to Phong Nha.
There are four companies operating sleeper buses on the route from Hanoi to Phong Nha.
Duration might slightly vary because of extra stops. But in general, it takes about 10 hours by bus to Phong Nha. The bus stops at the center/main street of Phong Nha, which is in front of or close to the Easy Tiger hostel.
Queen Cafe offers a pick-up service which makes up for the slightly higher price. If you prefer to book with Queen Cafe and Hung Thanh, you can book your tickets online via Baolau or at ‘Hung Thanh office’ at ‘162B Tran Quang Khai St’ or at ‘Hanoi Backpackers Hostel’ in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.
Tip: Let your accommodation know when you expect to arrive and which bus company you booked with. When the luck is on your side, you can check in early and enjoy your room straight away!
Hanoi to Phong Nha by Train
Duration: 11.5 hours Cost: 615,000 VND ($26.50)
When you travel by train to Phong Nha you have to book a train to Dong Hoi station (not Dong Ha!). Dong Hoi railway station is 40km south of Phong Nha. The bus ride takes about 1.5 hours by bus or taxi to Phong Nha.
We recommend travelling by night so you don’t waste a day on travel. Taking the night train leaves you with one of the three options below.
Step 1: Hanoi to Dong Hoi by Train
Duration: 10h 14min Cost: 555,000 VND ($24)
We prefer the SE19, which leaves at 20:00 in Hanoi and arrives at 06:14 in Dong Hoi. The SE19 has the most convenient departure and arrival times. If this is not available, you can also take the train SE1.
Sleeper berths in 6-person cabins start from 555,000 VND ($24). Choosing a seat doesn’t make much sense. In case you want to save money, you are better off taking a bus.
You can take a taxi from the railway station in Dong Hoi to the bus station for 25,000 VND ($1.10). After this 5min ride, catch the local bus to Phong Nha. A bus ticket costs 35,000 VND ($1.50) and the bus ride takes about 1.5 hours.
Another option, but more expensive, is to take a taxi straight to Phong Nha.
Want to fly from Hanoi to Phong Nha? You have to book a flight from Hanoi Airport to Dong Hoi Airport and take a taxi from there to Phong Nha.
The flight takes 1 hour. But keep in mind that you have to travel 1 hour from Hanoi center to the airport and another hour from Dong Hoi airport to Phong Nha. Including 2 hours extra time at the airport, 30 minutes to collect your luggage and some time to find a taxi, it will cost you about 5-6 hours to travel by plane. For this reason, we recommend travelling on the night train or sleeper bus instead.
Step 1: Hanoi City Center to Hanoi Airport by Shuttle Bus/Taxi
Duration: 1h 15min Cost: 40,000 VND ($1.80)
From Hanoi center to the airport takes about 1h 15min by shuttle bus or 1 hour by taxi. A shuttle bus costs around 40,000 VND ($1.80), but you can also order a taxi (Grab) for 200,000 – 300.000 VND ($9 – $13).
Want to know from where the shuttle bus departs or explore other options? See the page about Hanoi Airport. Here you also find information about the public bus and taxi.
Step 2: Hanoi Airport to Dong Hoi Airport by Flight
Duration: 1 hour Cost: 1,420,000 VND ($61)
The cheapest direct flight starts at 1,420,000 VND ($61). This is with Bamboo Airways, which operates at least 2 flights from Hanoi to Dong Hoi daily.
Vietjet Air, Vietnam Airlines and JetStar also operate flights for this route. Flights offered by these airlines are more expensive but if the cheapest flight is not anymore available, then you’ll have these airlines as your alternative.
Note that it is always best to book flights early to get lower rates. Click the button to check available flights for this route.
Thanks to the great hospitality of the family, this homestay will feel like your home. After a day of trekking you can take a dive in the pool or sit back and relax with a Netflix movie. The homestay is located right in front of the bus stop in the center of Phong Nha. Rooms with mountain views already start from $21,- including an outstanding breakfast!
Bonus: Free cancellation policy till the last day!
Want a more unique experience? The interior of Phong Nha Rustic Home creates a real rustic feel which makes you feel one with nature. It's located outside the city center, but you can use their free-bicycle rental to explore the National Parks or get to the center. Rooms start from $24.