Phong Nha to Ninh Binh

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Overview Compare Bus Train Taxi To Stay

How to get from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh

When travelling the 400 km distance from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh, you have 3 options: an 8-hour bus, a 9-hour indirect train, and an 8-hour private transfer. Rates range between 425,000 VND ($17) and 6,540,000 VND ($260).

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus8 hours425,000 VND ($17)Check bus tickets
Train9 hours604,000 VND ($24)Check train tickets
Private Transfer8 hours6,540,000 VND ($260)Book a private transfer

The bus is the only direct public transport from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh. It is also the cheapest option at 425,000 VND ($17). Just because it’s direct doesn’t mean it’s convenient, though. Queen Cafe, the main bus operator for this route, doesn’t really get the best reviews.

There is no direct train from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh. When taking the train, you will take one from Dong Hoi, which you can find 40 km southeast of Phong Nha. Although indirect, trains are generally more comfortable and safer than buses in Vietnam.

If you have the budget for it, you can also get a door-to-door private transfer. Prices start from 6,540,000 VND ($260) for a 3-seater car.

Itinerary from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh

Phong Nha to Ninh Binh travelroute

Phong Nha to Ninh Binh by Bus

Duration: 8 hours
Cost: 425,000 VND ($17)
Duration: 8 hours
Cost: 425,000 VND ($17)

Queen Cafe operates one nightly bus from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh. A bus ticket costs 425,000 VND ($17) for the 8-hour journey.

While the bus is a direct option, we can’t guarantee that it is comfortable.

Queen Cafe Bus doesn’t really get a lot of good reviews. There have been incidents of overbooked buses, rude staff, and aggressive driving. These aren’t always the case. But if you’re taking the bus, we recommend arriving early at the bus station.

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 an extra transfer.

Departure and arrival station

Queen Cafe departs from Central Backpackers Hostel in Phong Nha city centre. It arrives at Ninh Binh Central Hotel in the centre of Ninh Binh.

If your hotel is in Tam Coc, you can get there by taxi for around 120,000 VND ($4.80).

Bus schedules from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh

Bus OperatorScheduleCosts
Queen Cafe21:15-05:15425,000 VND ($17)
Check Bus Tickets

With limited bus trips from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh, we recommend booking your ride online at least a few days before via BookAway.

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!

Phong Nha to Ninh Binh by Train

Duration: 9 hours
Cost: 604,000 VND ($24)
Duration: 9 hours
Cost: 604,000 VND ($24)

There is no train station in Phong Nha, but there is one in the nearby city of Dong Hoi, 40 km away. From here, there are about four trains a day leaving for Ninh Binh.

Step 1: Phong Nha to Dong Hoi by Bus

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

You can choose from 2 ways to get from Phong Nha to Dong Hoi Railway Station: a bus for 50,000 VND ($2) or a taxi with rates from 400,000 VND ($16).

Buses are available from 05:30 to 17:00. They depart from the main street in Phong Nha and stop across Dong Hoi’s Central Bus Station. From here, you can get to the train station via a 5-minute taxi for around 40,000 VND ($1.60).

See our route guide on how to travel from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha for more details.

Step 2: Dong Hoi to Ninh Binh by Train

Duration: 8 hours
Cost: 554,000 VND ($22)
Duration: 8 hours
Cost: 554,000 VND ($22)

There are four trains operating daily from Dong Hoi to Ninh Binh.

Only one of those trains operates during the day. That’s 9 hours of train ride, though, and it will take up your entire day.

We recommend travelling at night so that you don’t lose a lot of daytime on the journey. But note that even with the night train, you will arrive very early in the morning in Ninh Binh. Advise your accommodation beforehand so that you can still check in as soon as you arrive.

Train schedules from Dong Hoi to Ninh Binh (Sleeper berth)

TrainScheduleSleeper berth
SE807:25-16:27554,000 VND ($22)
Check Train Tickets
SE617:22-01:55565,000 VND ($22.50)
Check Train Tickets
SE418:30-02:38650,000 VND ($26)
Check Train Tickets
SE219:21-03:23650,000 VND ($26)
Check Train Tickets

You will find Ninh Binh Railway Station in the centre of Ninh Binh. From here, many accommodations are already within walking distance. But we recommend staying in Tam Coc, a laidback village along Tam Coc River.

See our guide to Ninh Binh for more on why we prefer to stay in Tam Coc.

Optional: Ninh Binh to Tam Coc by Taxi

Duration: 15 minutes
Cost: 25,000 VND ($1)
Duration: 15 minutes
Cost: 25,000 VND ($1)

From Ninh Binh Railway Station, you can get to Tam Coc via a 15-minute motorbike taxi or regular taxi.

Take the motorbike taxi only if you’re not carrying bulky luggage. A ride to Tam Coc costs 25,000 VND ($1) to 50,000 VND ($2).

Alternatively, you can take a regular taxi for 120,000 VND ($4.80).

Phong Nha to Ninh Binh by Private Transfer

Duration: 8 hours
Cost: 6,540,000 VND ($260)
Duration: 8 hours
Cost: 6,540,000 VND ($260)

Looking for a way to travel in private from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh? It’s quite pricey, but it’s possible.

Rates for a 3-seater car start from 6,540,000 VND ($260). You can also get a minivan that can fit up to 8 passengers. Fares start from 8,274,000 VND ($330).

Book your private transfer via BookAway to get a nice car that come with a trusted driver.

Book a Private Transfer with BookAway

Our favourite places to stay in Tam Coc (Ninh Binh)

Ninh Binh Accommodation 1

Tam Coc Family Hotel

Want to know what it feels like to stay with a Vietnamese family? Tam Coc Family Hotel really does make you feel at home with the family.

The friendly owners will tell you all of the best spots to visit in Ninh Binh, and start your day right with a delicious home-cooked breakfast. It's a great example of why you don't have to spend a lot for a great guesthouse.

Read More

Ninh Binh Accommodation 2

Tam Coc Bungalow

Would you prefer to stay on a river? Tam Coc Bungalow has quirky 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 open-air restuarant. From it, you can watch the locals paddling back to Tam Coc town during sunset. If you don't fancy going for a swim in the river, instead you can enjoy their relaxing pool.

Read More

More routes to Ninh Binh

Hanoi to Ninh Binh

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Sapa to Ninh Binh

Hue to Ninh Binh

Hoi An to Ninh Binh

More routes from Phong Nha

Phong Nha to Hanoi

Phong Nha to Hoi An

Phong Nha to Hue

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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