Ho Chi Minh City, also still known by its former name of Saigon, is the biggest city in Vietnam. It is a focal point for those looking to see highlights such as the Mekong Delta, and it’s also a hub for international travel.
The only practical way to journey between Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and Phong Nha is to take a flight with Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific or VietjetAir to Dong Hoi City (located 45 mins drive from Phong Nha). The tickets cost between 1,800,000 – 2,800,000 VND (80 – 120 USD) each way.
The bus and train journeys are both just too long to be viable options for those wanting to get quickly between the two cities. Alternatively, for those on a budget but who have a little bit more time, it’s common to find that the cheapest flights are often available between HCMC and Da Nang or Hue (versus direct to Dong Hoi). From Da Nang or Hue, one can find a train to get to Dong Hoi, or even a bus to Phong Nha directly.