Ninh Binh to Phong Nha

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How to get from Ninh Binh to Phong Nha

There are 3 ways to travel the 400 km from Ninh Binh to Phong Nha: an 8.5-hour bus with fares from 428,000 VND ($17), a 9.5-hour train with rates from 734,000 VND ($29.50), and an 8-hour private transfer with prices from 6,300,000 VND ($250).

3 ways to get from Ninh Binh to Phong Nha

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus8.5 hours428,000 VND ($17)Check bus tickets
Train9.5 hours734,000 VND ($29.50)Check train tickets
Private Transfer8 hours6,300,000 VND ($250)Book a private transfer

The bus is the only direct public transport from Ninh Binh to Phong Nha. What we like about this option is that there are buses departing from both Ninh Binh centre and Tam Coc centre. Another advantage is that all buses drop you off at the main street in Phong Nha.

When you travel by train, you’ll have to go to Dong Hoi. From Dong Hoi, you can take a public bus or taxi to Phong Nha. Taking a train is more expensive with combined rates of 734,000 VND ($29.50) for a sleeper berth in the train and public bus. It’s worth noting that train travel is generally safer and more comfortable than buses in Vietnam.

If you prefer taking a private transfer from Ninh Binh to Phong Nha, you can book a 3-seater car from 6,300,000 VND ($250).

Itinerary from Ninh Binh to Phong Nha

Ninh Binh to Phong Nha travelroute

Ninh Binh to Phong Nha by Bus

Duration: 8.5 hours
Cost: 428,000 VND ($17)
Duration: 8.5 hours
Cost: 428,000 VND ($17)

There are two main bus companies operating from Ninh Binh to Phong Nha. These are Queen Cafe and Grouptour.

Ticket prices start from 428,000 VND ($17). Depending on which company you travel with, the bus journey from Ninh Binh to Phong Nha takes 8.5 to 11 hours.

Own experience: I travelled this route with Queen Bus and had a very comfortable ride. However, the last two passengers who entered the bus had to sleep in the walkway, even though they booked their tickets from their accommodation. Travelling by bus in Vietnam is not as safe as in Western countries. Taking the train is safer, but for this route, it comes with more hassle.

Departure & Arrival station

The Queen Cafe bus departs from Ninh Binh Central Hotel in the city centre. Grouptour departs from Tam Coc Central Hostel.

Both bus companies arrive at the Central Backpackers Hostel along the main street in Phong Nha.

Bus Schedule from Ninh Binh to Phong Nha

Queen Cafe20:30-05:00428,000 VND ($17)
Check Bus Tickets
518,000 VND ($20.50)
Check Bus Tickets

TIP: Let your accommodation know when you expect to arrive and which bus company you booked with. When luck is on your side, you can check in early and enjoy your room straight away!

Ninh Binh to Phong Nha by Train + Taxi/Bus

Duration: 9.5 hours
Cost: 734,000 VND ($29.50)
Duration: 9.5 hours
Cost: 734,000 VND ($29.50)

Do you want to travel by train from Ninh Binh to Phong Nha? You can only take the train to Dong Hoi (not Dong Ha!), which you can find 40 km southeast of Phong Nha.

From Dong Hoi Railway Station, you can take a bus or taxi to Phong Nha.

Step 1: Ninh Binh to Dong Hoi by Train

Duration: 8 hours
Cost: 684,000 VND ($27.50)
Duration: 8 hours
Cost: 684,000 VND ($27.50)

There are 4 trains operating daily from Ninh Binh to Dong Hoi. But because this train journey takes roughly 8 hours, it’s best to catch one of the two overnight trains (you can see their schedules below).

With an overnight train, you won’t lose a day of travelling. You can also save a night on accommodation.

We recommend getting a bunk in a 4-berth cabin so you’ll have enough space as well as a comfortable bed to get a good night’s sleep. Rates start from 684,000 VND ($27.50).

Alternatively, you can get a cheaper yet less spacious bunk in a 6-berth cabin. Soft seats are also available, but we think they’ll be uncomfortable for this long journey. In that case, you might be better off taking a sleeper bus.

Train Schedule From Ninh Binh to Dong Hoi (Sleeper berth)

TrainScheduleSleeper berth
SE100:27-07:59684,000 VND ($27.50)
Check Train Tickets
SE321:44-05:45684,000 VND ($27.50)
Check Train Tickets
PRO TIP: Use the free N26 debit card to avoid the extra fees charged by your bank. This N26 debit card is becoming very popular among travellers, because they don't charge any fees on payments in foreign currencies (most banks charge 3%-5%). New members can order one for free on the N26 website

Step 2: Dong Hoi to Phong Nha by Bus/Taxi

Duration: 1-1.5 hours
Cost: 50,000 VND ($2)
Duration: 1-1.5 hours
Cost: 50,000 VND ($2)

There are 2 ways you can get from Dong Hoi Railway Station to Phong Nha: by bus for 50,000 VND ($2) or by taxi with fares from 400,000 VND ($16).

See our guide on how to get from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha for the bus schedule and more details.

Ninh Binh to Phong Nha by Private Transfer

Duration: 8 hours
Cost: 6,300,000 VND ($250)
Duration: 8 hours
Cost: 6,300,000 VND ($250)

If you have the budget for it, it’s also possible to travel from Ninh Binh to Phong Nha by private transfer. It’s an 8-hour journey so this option doesn’t come cheap.

Rates start from 6,300,000 VND ($250) for a 3-seater car. Bigger vehicles are also available for larger groups.

We recommend booking your ride via BookAway so that you can expect a spacious car with a professional driver.

Book a Private Transfer with BookAway

Our favourite places to stay in Phong Nha

Thao Nguyen Homestay

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!

Read More


Phong Nha Rustic Home

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.

Read More


More routes to Phong Nha

CatBa to Phong Nha

Dong Hoi to Phong Nha

Hanoi to Phong Nha

Hoi An to Phong Nha

Hue to Phong Nha

More routes from Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh to CatBa

Ninh Binh to Da Nang

Ninh Binh to Hanoi

Ninh Binh to Hoi An

Ninh Binh to Sapa

Halong Bay to Hanoi

Hanoi to Halong Bay

Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh

Hanoi to Sapa

Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh to Hoi An

Ho Chi Minh to Phu Quoc

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