How To Get From Phong Nha to Ninh Binh?
When travelling the 400km distance from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh, you have 2 options: you can take a bus (7 hours) or the train (10 hours). Rates range from $9.50 to 25.50.
We recommend taking the bus from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh. Besides the fact that it is faster and cheaper, travelling by bus also saves you the hassle of changing methods of transport.
You can book your bus ticket from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh at a slightly higher price with BookAway. Want to save a few bucks? You can also try booking with a local agency.
When you want to travel by train, you first have to take the bus or taxi to Dong Hoi railway station. From here, you can take the day or night train to Ninh Binh. From Ninh Binh railway station, you can get a taxi which brings you in 15 minutes to Tam Coc.
|Bus||7 hours||220,000 VND ($9.50)||Check bus tickets|
|Train||10 hours||585,000 VND ($25.50)||Check train tickets|
View itinerary from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh
- Phong Nha
- 7 hours
- Ninh Binh
- Phong Nha
- 1-1.5 hours
- Dong Hoi Railway Station
- 8.5 hours
- Ninh Binh
Phong Nha to Ninh Binh by Bus
Duration: 7 hours
Costs: 220,000 VND ($9.50)
Phong Nha and Ninh Binh are not common stops for buses. There are 4 bus companies that do make a stop in these towns/cities. These are Camel Travel, Hey Travel, Hung Thanh (Long Travel) and Queen Cafe. Note that reviews for these companies are very inconsistent. If you’re lucky, you can get a good bus with great staff. But that is not always the case.
There have been cases of overbooked buses, where some people had to sleep in the walkway. That’s why we also recommend arriving early at the bus station.
If you can choose, we recommend Hung Thanh (Long Travel) as they receive better reviews than the other options.
Book online with BookAway
If you want to make sure you have a ticket on the bus for your preferred date, we recommend booking online at BookAway. Although tickets are slightly more expensive, you can buy them even a few weeks before your trip. Very few buses operate on this route daily and there’s a risk of tickets getting sold out.
Another advantage is that you can leave a bad review or complaint about the bus company when they provide bad service. Tickets booked online start at 270,000 VND ($11.50).
Book your ticket at a local agency
We recommend booking your ticket at least one day in advance since there are not many alternatives if Hung Thanh is fully booked. Expect to pay at least 220,000 VND ($9.50) for a sleeper seat.
Hung Thanh bus leaves between 21:00 and 21:30 from the bus stop in front of Easy Tiger and arrives around 4:00 in Ninh Binh. The drop off point is at Kinh Do Hotel in Ninh Binh or The Long Hotel in Tam Coc.
|Camel Travel||21:00-04:00||7h||270,000 VND ($11.50)|
|Hey Travel||21:00-06:45||9h 45m||395,000 VND ($17)|
|Hung Thanh||21:00-04:00||7h||220,000 VND ($9.50)|
|Queen Cafe||21:00-04:00||7h||220,000 VND ($9.50)|
Phong Nha to Ninh Binh by Train
Duration: 10 hours
Costs: 585,000 VND ($25.50)
The closest railway station to Phong Nha is Dong Hoi railway station (not Dong Ha!). This railway station is 40km south of Phong Nha and takes about 1.5 hours by bus or taxi.
From here, there are about 4 trains a day leaving for Ninh Binh. Although we normally prefer the sleeper train when travelling long distances, we recommend taking a day train for this route. The only options for the night train are the SE2 or SE20 which either leave or arrive in the middle of the night.
Step 1: Phong Nha to Dong Hoi by Bus
Duration: 1-1.5 hours
Costs: 60,000 VND ($2.60)
We advise to take a train from Dong Hoi during the day, so you can still use the local bus going from Phong Nha to Dong Hoi. In case you miss the latest bus that leaves at 17:00 from Phong Nha, you can book a taxi for approx 500,000 VND ($22) to Dong Hoi.
See “From Dong Hoi to Phong Nha” for the bus schedule and more details.
Step 2: Dong Hoi to Ninh Binh by Train
Duration: 8.5 hours
Costs: 460,000 VND ($20)
We recommend taking the SE2 sleeper train if you want to travel by night. When you choose to travel during the day, we recommend SE8 or SE12.
You can find several accommodations within walking distance from Ninh Binh railway station. Yet, we recommend continuing your journey to Tam Coc. This little village is 6km south of Ninh Binh and takes about 15min by taxi.
See our Ninh Binh destination page to find out why we prefer Tam Coc.
Suggested trains from Dong Hoi to Ninh Binh:
|SE6||08:35-16:53||8h 18m||415,000 VND ($18)|
|SE8||05:21-13:34||8h 13m||420,000 VND ($18)|
|SE2||19:39-03:18||7h 39m||460,000 VND ($20)|
Soft seats cost around 255,000 VND ($11) and sleeper beds start from 460,000 VND ($20).
My favourite places to stay in Tam Coc (Ninh Binh)
Want to stay in a real Vietnamese Guesthouse? Tam Coc Family Hotel is a perfect example why you don't have to spend more than $17 for a great guesthouse.The super friendly owners will tell you the best spots to visit and will make sure you have a good start of your day with a delicious breakfast. It's a 1-minute walk from the Tam Coc river and drop-off point of the bus.
Do you prefer to stay close to the river? Tam Coc Bungalow has spacious bamboo bungalows right next to the Tam Coc river. Bungalows start from $32 and dorm rooms from $6.
What we really liked about this place is their common area. From the terrace you can watch the locals paddling back to Tam Coc town during sunset and in the evening you can play a game of pool at the open restaurant area.
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