Route overview from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh
Bus from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh (recommended)
7 hours, 220.000 VND (€8)
We recommend taking the bus from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh. The bus leaves around 21:00-21:30 from the main street in Phong Nha and arrives around 4:00 in the morning in Ninh Binh or Tam Coc. Besides the bus is faster and cheaper, this way of traveling 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 safe a few bucks? Then get your ticket in Ninh Binh/Tam Coc.
Bus + Train from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh
10 hours, 620.000 VND (€23,50)
When you want to travel by train, you first have to take the bus or taxi 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.
Option 1: Bus
Route: Phong Nha Ninh Binh
Duration: 7 hours
Costs: 220.000 VND (€8)
Phong Nha and Ninh Binh are not always common stops for buses. There a three bus companies that do make a stop in these towns/cities. These are Hung Thang (Long Travel), Camel Bus and Queen Bus. Note that none of these companies receive very good reviews but it’s your only option and keep in mind that most people only leave a review with bad experiences.
Sometimes buses are overbooked what means some people will have to sleep in the walkway. That’s why we also recommend arriving early at the bus station.
If you can choose, we recommend Hung Thang (Long Travel) as they receive better reviews than Queen and Camel Bus.
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 around 220.000 VND (€8) for a sleeper seat.
One bus that makes a short stop in Phong Nha is Hung Thanh. This 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.
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. Tickets are slightly more expensive but you will assure yourself a ticket and another advantage is that you can leave a bad review or complaint about the bus company when they provide bad service. Booking a ticket online costs around 350.000 VND (€13,50).
Option 2: Bus + Train
Route: Phong Nha Dong Hoi Ninh Binh
Duration: 10 hours
Costs: 620.000 VND (€23,50)
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 hour by bus or taxi.
From here, there are about 7 trains a day leaving to Ninh Binh. Although we normally prefer the sleeper train when traveling long distances, we recommend taking a day train for this route. The only options with the night train is the SE2 or SE20 which either leave or arrive in the middle of the night.
Bus: Phong Nha Dong Hoi
Duration: 1-1,5 hours
Costs: 60.000 VND (€2)
We advise to take a train from Dong Hoi during the day, so you can still use the local bus 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 (€18) to Dong Hoi.
See “From Dong Hoi to Phong Nha” for the bus schedule and more details.
Train: Dong Hoi Ninh Binh
Duration: 8 hours
Costs: 560.000 VND (€21)
We recommend taking the SE2 sleeper train if you want to travel by night. When you choose to travel during the day, we recommend SE6 or SE12.
You can find several accommodations in a walkable 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 see why we prefer Tam Coc.
Suggested trains from Dong Hoi to Ninh Binh:
|SE6||08:42-16:48||8h 6m||560.000 VND (€21)|
|09:41-18:06||8h 25m||277.000 VND (€10,50)|
|SE2||19:40-03:17||7h 37m||605.000 VND (€23)|
Soft seats cost around 277.000 VND (€10,50) and sleeper beds start from 446.000 VND (€16,50).
My favourite places to stay in Tam Coc (Ninh Binh)
Tam Coc Family Hotel
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 €15 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.
Tam Coc Bungalow
Or do you prefer to stay close to the river? Tam Coc Bungalow has beautiful bamboo bungalows with spacious rooms from €23 or dorm rooms for just €5.
What we really liked about this place is that they have a great common area. Watch locals paddling back to Tam Coc town during sunset and dare the staff to play a game of pool in the evening.
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