It is relatively easy to reach Phong Nha from Hanoi and vice versa with a number of transport options including train, bus and of course by flight. Most bus companies will now stop directly in Phong Nha, and taking a bus is therefore becoming a popular choice amongst travellers as it saves on the additional transfer required from Dong Hoi (closest train station and airport to Phong Nha).
From Ha Noi, we recommend the Hung Long Bus Company and we’d suggest purchasing your ticket at Hanoi Backpackers, which is easy to find at 9 Ma May in the old quarter, where all the team speaks English.
You will need to be at Hanoi Backpackers at 6:00 PM where you will meet the bus and travel a short distance further to the office of the bus company to pick up other guests, before the 7:00 PM departure from Ha Noi to Phong Nha. You can also try and book at any travel agent in the old quarter and they will provide you with a map to the departure point which is located on the highway.
The sleeping bus is comfortable, air-conditioned and occasionally has wi-fi if you are lucky. There is a small toilet at the back of the bus and you’ll also make a stop along the way near Ninh Binh, where there are (basic) toilet facilities.
It costs VND 300,000 from Ha Noi to Phong Nha. The bus stops at the Easy Tiger Hostel between 5 – 6 AM in the morning in central Phong Nha, where you can rest and enjoy breakfast. Oxalis provides free pick up from the Easy Tiger Hostel for all tours.
It is important to select a train with an arrival time in Dong Hoi at least 2-3 hours before your tour departure, as you will need to still make the 45 mins journey by taxi/private transfer to Phong Nha (additional VND 660,000 for transfer from Dong Hoi). We recommend the following trains from Hanoi to Dong Hoi:
• SE1 – departs Ha Noi at 7:30 PM (19:30) and arrives the following morning in Dong Hoi at 5:35 AM
• SE19 – departs Ha Noi at 8:10 PM (20:10) and arrives the following morning in Dong Hoi at 6:24 AM
If you join in Tu Lan 1-Day Experience, you shouldn’t arrive at Phong Nha by train on the departure date because the train can be delayed. We suggest you reach here by a Hung Thanh bus to Phong Nha straightly on departure date or by flight/train 1 day before departure date.
If you plan on going to Hanoi the same evening you finish your tour with Oxalis then it is possible to take the overnight train from Dong Hoi (except on the Tu Lan 1-Day Experience, in which case we suggest the overnight bus). We recommend booking a private transfer back to Dong Hoi though ahead of time so you can depart immediately for the station upon returning from your jungle trek. We recommend taking the following train from Dong Hoi to Hanoi:
• SE4 – departs Dong Hoi at 7:52 PM (19:52) and arrives the following morning in Ha Noi at 5:30 AM
You can find the full list of available trains here: Hanoi to Dong Hoi Train Schedule, and here: Dong Hoi to Hanoi Train Schedule. Of course, please contact our team if you have any further questions about train travel.
Of course, the easiest mode of transport is to take a flight here from Hanoi, it being just a 1 hour and 25 mins flight. However, you have to factor in the time travelling to the airport (1 hour from old quarter). It is best to check the Vietnam Airlines website ahead of time to ensure you can catch a flight on your desired travel dates, otherwise we recommend the train or bus to save your travel days. If you take a flight you will have to book a transfer from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha.