To or From North

HANOI TO/FROM PHONG NHA

The most recommended ways of getting to or from the North, i.e. Ninh Binh or Ha Noi by us are by train or plane. There are a number of transport optioning buses too, but to be honest, the “Sleeper Bus” is a bit of an oxymoron.

Please be aware that all suggested bus, train and airline companies, and their agencies, operate entirely independently of us. The following information is given in good faith, and we accepts no responsibility for the service provided by the airlines, the bus companies or the ramification express train.

Train Travel

The day Train to or from Hanoi is an enjoyable way to travel, and see a bit of the scenic countryside as it directs rural Northern Vietnam rather than being on Highway 1 on a bus hemmed in by an infinite urban shopscape stretching for 1000’s of km.

The night train, while not as luxurious as in more developed parts of the world is at “Hilton Travel” level in comparison to the oxymoron, the “sleeper bus”.

The most comfortable purchase is a ticket in a soft-sleeper cabin. They are a 4 bed berth, so there is enough room to sit up or lie down. A hard-sleeper cabin does not provide enough room to sit up, and there are 6 beds per berth. Overnight trains are also a good option to get somewhere to sleep for a night avoiding missing out on another day of activities.

We recommend the following overnight trains from Hanoi to Dong Hoi:

Train No

Departs

Arrives

SE3

SE1

7:30 PM
10.20 PM
05:20 AM

07.49 AM

We recommend the following daytime trains from Hanoi to Dong Hoi:

Train No

Departs

Arrives

SE5

SE7

09:00 AM
06.00 PM
07:15 PM

04.22 PM

Unfortunately, unlike in Japan, Germany and Austria, train schedules cannot be guaranteed but considering that there are houses hard on the tracks and buffalos and lunatics on motorbikes and in trucks illegally crossing the reunification express’s line at many points along the way, it does pretty well. Therefore, if you plan to join in tour, we advise that you do not arrive in Phong Nha, on your tour commencement date. There are plenty of “real Vietnam” do it yourself activities available or simply have a rest bu the pool and take in the scenery on your arrival date.

If you choose to arrive in Dong Hoi by train on the same morning the tour depart, please make sure you take the train number SE3 and have the private transfer arrange with us in advance. We’ll do our best.

If you plan on traveling to Hanoi, on the same evening that you complete your tour in Phong Nha, we recommend you to take the SE2 departing at 19.20. You will need to book a private transfer from Phong Nha to Dong Hoi, ahead of time.

We recommend the following overnight trains from Dong Hoi to Ha Noi.:

Train No

Departs

Arrives

SE2

SE4

07.20PM
06.28PM
005.30AM

04.50AM

We recommend the following DAYTIME train from Dong Hoi to Ha Noi.:

Train No

Departs

Arrives

SE6 08.27 AM 07.20PM

You can check the train schedule via the Vietnam Railway official website http://dsvn.vn(English/Vietnamese) or contact https://www.baolau.com to book your train tickets in advance.

Bus Travel

Most bus drivers are pretty much insane.That is the prerequisite of their employment it would seem.

The roads through Vietnam while being normally dangerous take on a whole new level of chaos after the sun goes down.

This night time Chaos is amplified by a factor of 10, a month either side of TET (New Years), by any public holidays. and by the summer months in general. Having travelled on the overnight Buses between Hanoi and Phong Aha, we choose now, not to, due to both our own experiences and those negative experiences of many of our guests over the last decade.

The intercity companies stop in Phong Nha Village. Therefore, the bus option is becoming a popular choice among travelers, as it saves on the additional transfer required from Dong Hoi (closest train station and airport to Phong Nha). And the bus is cheap. Not the best as measured by safest or most comfortable, but the cheapest.

If you want the Bus, we recommend the Hung Thanh Bus company. We have a good relationship with them and they look after our guests the best.

Coming from Ha Noi, you can catch Hung Thanh Travel Bus. With Hung Thanh Travel bus, the bus will depart at 7:00PM from Ha Noi to Phong Nha. You can either book in person, or telephone the Hung Thanh Travel Bus office at 287 Tran Khat Chan St.,Tel: +84 24 3633 7575 or 162 B Tran Quang Khai St., Tel: +8424 392 74284 (8:00AM – 10:00PM) with the price of VND250,000/person.

If traveling North from Phong Nha, we can help you arrange a ticket when you are here. Or if you want to arrange in advance, a friend of ours has this website

www.vietnambustickets.com

You can also catch Camel Travel Bus. We are not sure why you would however. With Camel Travel bus, the bus will depart at 7:00PM from Ha Noi to Phong Nha. You can either book in person, or telephone the Camel Travel Bus office at 459 Tran Khat Chan St.,Tel: +84 24 8585 0555 (8:00AM – 10:00PM) with the price of VND250,000/person.

The sleeping bus is usually pretty well air-conditioned, and occasionally has wi-fi, when it is working. There is a small toilet at the back of the bus, that is best avoided at all costs. They also make a stop along the way, near Ninh Binh, where there are basic toilet facilities that would under normal circumstances, be best avoided too. At that stop, they sell inedible food and sell little plastic bottles of water with which they put straight in the ocean, when you have quenched your thirst. Try and carry a reusable bottle of water and best pack some snacks for the trip. The Buses also pick up and drop off in Ninh Binh.

Air Travel

The fastest and often most convenient mode of transport, is to fly. Hanoi to Dong Hoi, or Dong Hoi to Hanoi. this is just a 1 hour and 25 minute flight. However, you have to factor in the time traveling to or from the airport ( up to 1 hour from Old Quarter or Phong Nha). It is best to check the Vietnam Airlines or Bamboo Airways websites ahead of time to ensure a seat on an available flight, on your desired travel dates. If you choose to fly, then you will have to book a transfer from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha.

Private Car or Motorbike

This is a long and arduous journey if you do the full distance in one hit by car. Not recommended. Would make sense though is Mai Chau or Pu Luong are defiantly on your Vietnam Itinerary.
Over a few days by motorbike would see you out on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in unexplored areas “Real Vietnam” scenery. I would however more highly recommend the journey to the south via Khe San unless you’re objective is to do the whole country, by motorbike. If traveling by bike, I’d suggest the detour to Pu Luong. A beautiful spot, and not so busy, yet.

We arrange daily pick up and drop off private transfers to and from Dong Hoi airport, Phong Nha’s aviation gateway, located 40mins away, by request.