Last updated: Sep 18, 2019


Overview | Bus | Train | Secret Escapes


Bus or Train from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh?


How to get from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh?

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 fact that taking a 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 save a few bucks? Then get your ticket in Ninh Binh/Tam Coc.

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.

Your options at a glance

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus7 hours220.000 VND (€8)Check bus tickets
Train10 hours581.000 VND (€22,50)Check train tickets

Phong Nha to Ninh Binh travelroute

Bus icon

Bus from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh

Duration: 7 hours
Costs: 220.000 VND (€8)

Phong Nha and Ninh Binh are not always common stops for buses. There are 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 which 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 (€8,50) 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 289.000 VND (€11).

Check Available 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!


Train from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh

Duration: 10 hours
Costs: 581.000 VND (€22,50)

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.

Step 1: Bus from Phong Nha to 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 (€19) to Dong Hoi.

See “From Dong Hoi to Phong Nha” for the bus schedule and more details.

Step 2: Train from Dong Hoi to Ninh Binh

Duration: 8,5 hours
Costs: 521.000 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 SE6 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 see why we prefer Tam Coc.

Suggested trains from Dong Hoi to Ninh Binh:

TrainScheduleDurationSleeper berth
SE608:42-16:488h 06m548.000 VND (€21)
09:41-18:068h 25m521.000 VND (€20)
SE219:40-03:177h 37m574.000 VND (€22)

Soft seats cost around 364.000 VND (€14) and sleeper beds start from 521.000 VND (€20).

Check Available Train Tickets


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

Ninh Binh Accommodation 1

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.

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Ninh Binh Accommodation 2

Tam Coc Bungalow

Do you refer to stay close to the river? Tam Coc Bungalow has spacious bamboo bungalows right next to the Tam Coc river. Bungalows start from €23 and dorm rooms from €5.

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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