When travelling the 335km distance from Hoi An to Phong Nha, you have 3 options: you can take the train (8 hours), the bus (8.5 hours), or the motorbike from Hoi An to Hue before continuing by bus or train from Hue to Phong Nha. Fares start at $11.50.
To start with, we do NOT recommend to travel straight from Hoi An to Phong Nha. Instead, we suggest to book a motorbike tour or rent one and drive over the Hai Van Pass from Hoi An to Hue.
If you don’t want to ride a bike, we recommend taking the train. The train goes along the Hoi Van Pass andoffers almost the same views.
Since the bus takes a different route through a tunnel, you won’t be able to see the beautiful landscape. We think that missing this highlight is really a shame. But in case you still want to take the bus, you can find the description below. There is no direct bus so you have to book a bus that brings you to Hue first. After a break, you can continue your journey with a different bus to Phong Nha.
Hai Van Pass by Motorbike
The Hai Van Pass is often compared to the ‘Great Ocean Road’ in Australia and is one of the highlights of central Vietnam. There are several companies offering motorbike rental with a pick-up in Hoi An and drop-off in Hue.
Don’t worry about your luggage, they also transport your luggage with their own van to Hue. We recommend planning a full day for this and book one night in Hue. Then you can take the morning bus or train to Phong Nha.
When you want to travel by train to Phong Nha you have to book a train from DaNang to Dong Hoi railway station (not Dong Ha!).
You will be travelling for the largest part of the day with this route, but it also includes an amazing train journey between DaNang and Hoi An. Nevertheless, we advise doing this part with a motorbike to get the best experience.
Step 1: Hoi An to Da Nang by Bus
Duration: 45min Cost: 20,000 VND ($0.90)
From the bus station in Hoi An, you can take a public bus to Da Nang railway station for 20,000 VND ($0.90). Another alternative is to take a shuttle bus or a taxi.
We recommend taking train SE10, leaving at 9:57 in Da Nang and arriving at 16:00 in Dong Hoi. With this train, you can still take one of the two last public buses leaving at 16:00 or 17:00 for Phong Nha.
Suggested trains from DaNang to Dong Hoi:
185,000 VND ($8)
185,000 VND ($8)
185,000 VND ($8)
Soft-seats start at around 185,000 VND ($8) and sleeper berths start from 235,000 VND ($10).
When taking a bus from Hoi An to Phong Nha, you have to change buses in Hue. We follow the recommendation of two well-known agencies from Phong Nha (Oxalis and Easy Tiger). These organizations recommend travelling with Hung Thanh bus, which partners with Hanh Cafe bus company.
Combined bus ticket with Hanh Cafe
You can buy a combined bus ticket with Hung Thanh/Hanh Cafe at 105 Ton Duc Thang in Hoi An. The Hanh Cafe bus brings you from Hoi An to Hue, from where you continue with the Hung Thanh bus which arrives around 21:00 in Phong Nha. A combined ticket costs around 250,000 VND ($11).
Separate bus tickets
Want to arrive earlier in Phong Nha? Book a single bus ticket with Hanh Cafe from Hoi An to Hue. When you arrive in Hue, you should buy another bus ticket to Phong Nha. We recommend buying tickets with the DMZ bus if you want to include a stop at the DMZ.
The DMZ bus leaves Hue at 14:00 and arrives at 18:30 in Phong Nha. Buying these tickets separately costs around 280,000 VND ($12.50) in total. We recommend calling the DMZ bus company before you travel to Hue to make sure they have seats available for the desired time.
Another option is to book separate bus tickets online via BookAway or Baolau.
Step 1: Hoi An to Hue by Bus
We recommend travelling on Hanh Cafe or the Sinh Tourist. They are both well-known bus companies in Vietnam. See their bus schedules below:
190,000 VND ($8)
The Sinh Tourist
180,000 VND ($7.50)
The Hanh Cafe bus departs from Hanh Cafe at 2 Thai Phien near Hoi An Post Office and makes a short stop in Hue on 49 Chu Van An St. The bus will continue the journey to Phong Nha from this address.
Visit the page about Hoi An to Hue for a more detailed description.
There are several bus companies operating on this route, but we prefer the DMZ bus. The bus with an extra stop is a great way to see the DMZ as well. You will arrive later in Phong Nha with this option. But, the chance to visit the DMZ bridge and the Vinc Moc tunnels on the way to Phong Nha is something you shouldn’t miss.
150,000 VND ($6.50)
DMZ (with stop)
490,000 VND ($21.50)
DMZ (without stop)
155,000 VND ($7)
150,000 VND ($6.50)
The Sinh Tourist (not available)
260,000 VND ($11.50)
See Hue to Phong Nha for more bus options when you decide to buy the tickets separately.
In case you didn’t buy a combined ticket, you can go to DMZ bar in Hue and buy a ticket to Phong Nha for 150,000 VND ($6.50). The bus leaves from this DMZ bar where you can also store your luggage until the bus leaves. This way you are free to explore Hue for the remaining 2 hours and get a nice lunch somewhere in the city.
Note: Camel Travel & Queen Cafe also operate on this route, but recently there have been various issues with these companies according to Easy Tiger. They dropped people 45KM away from Phong Nha or did not want to leave till the bus was full. For this reason, we strongly recommend following their advice and travel by train or with Hanh Cafe/Hung Thanh bus instead.
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.