Phong Nha National Park - Ke Bàng, Vietnam

The breathtaking Phong Nha - Ke Bàng National Park is located in north-central Vietnam and is known for its incredible biodiversity and spectacular cave system. It was only in 2009 that the largest cave in the world was discovered there.

The spectacular Phong Nha - Ke Bàng National Park is located in Quảng Bình Province in the north of central Vietnam, right on the border with Laos. It contains one of the largest limestone areas in the world with several hundred caves featuring incredible rock formations. The national park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003.


The 86,000-hectare Phong Nha - Ke Bàng is located in the Annamite mountain range and is the oldest karst region in Asia. About 400 million years ago, the unique karst formations were created in Vietnam, which grew into impressive shapes over the course of time. Over 70km, huge cave systems with hundreds of grottos in all sizes and shapes, as well as underground rivers and waterfalls make Phong Nha - Ke Bàng a paradise for speleologists.

It was only in 2009 that a new cave system was discovered. The Sơn-Đoòng Cave with the largest cave in the world according to British researchers. However, this is not the only record the Phong Nha - Ke Bàng can boast. Phong Nha - Ke Bàng is also home to the world 's longest underground water cave, the world's highest and widest cave entrance, and Vietnam's longest underground river.

Visit to the Phong Nha - Ke Bàng

The tourists are both a danger and an opportunity for the national park. About 200,000 tourists, most of them Vietnamese, visit the huge caves of the national park every year. Phong Nha - Ke Bang can be reached by plane via Dong Hoi airport, by train on the Saigon-Hanoi route or by car or bus via National Road 1A.

A tour through the impressive forests of the national park is best started at the information centre in the village of Son Trach. Rangers can also be booked there, who offer one-hour to two-day guided tours and tours through the jungle and into the caves in various languages, including English and French.

Highlights of the Phong Nha - Ke Bàng

The biggest attractions of the national park are, of course, the diverse underground karst landscape. The huge caves of the national park leave visitors open-mouthed with amazement.

Phong Nha Cave

Phong Nha Cave in the national park of the same name is located about 55km northwest of Dong Hoi and is visited from a boat, Vietnam - © Elzbieta Sekowska / Shutterstock
© Elzbieta Sekowska / Shutterstock

Phong Nha Cave, from which the national park takes its name, is located about 55 kilometres northwest of Dong Hoi and is visited by boat. It is 83 metres high at its highest point. Phong Nha translates as "cave of teeth", which refers to its incredible number of stalactites. Some of the most bizarre formations, such as the lion or the Buddha, can be found in this cave alongside beautiful sand banks.

A boat tour consists of about 15 people and is usually combined with a visit to the Tien Son Cave, only 1 kilometre away. The fairytale-like stalactites and stalagmites of the Tien Son cave make ghostly drumming sounds when you tap them with your hand.


Sơn-Đoòng Cave

Discovered by British researchers as recently as 2009, the Sơn-Đoòng Cave ("Mountain River Cave") is the largest cave in the world with a volume of an incredible 38.5 million cubic metres. It has also been open to the public since 2013.

Its incredible dimensions are now almost 9km long, 200 metres high and 150 metres wide (this is also the largest cave entrance). It thus replaced Deer Cave in Malaysia as the world's largest cave. The cave is so gigantic that the Cologne Cathedral would easily fit inside it - it even forms its own clouds!

Thien Duong Cave

The dreamlike Thien Duong Cave ("Paradise Cave") can be reached via 500 steps up and 200 steps down and can be explored via a kilometre-long wooden path, Vietnam - © Elzbieta Sekowska / Shutterstock
© Elzbieta Sekowska / Shutterstock

The entrance to the dreamlike Thien Duong ("Paradise Cave") can be reached via 500 steps up and 200 steps down. The spectacular illuminated cave can be explored via a kilometre-long wooden path. With breathtaking stalactite formations, it is considered one of the most beautiful caves in the world.

Flora and Fauna in Phong Nha - Ke Bàng

Those who have had enough of caves can explore the dense jungle on the Nuod Mooc Spring Eco Trail. Winding jungle trails and idyllic bamboo bridges lead along the river, which can be followed to its source. Other activities in the national park include kayaking, swimming or climbing one of the 1000-metre peaks in the Ammanites.

In addition to its breathtaking karst landscape, Phong Nha - Ke Bàng is also known for its fascinating biodiversity in the tropical forest. More than 1300 plant species thrive in the national park, including rare orchids and yew species.

The enormous biodiversity continues with the fauna. 60 species of amphibians and over 100 different mammals roam the Phong Nha - Ke Bàng, including 9 different species of monkeys, such as macaques, gibbons and langurs, and 10 species of bats. Over 70 different birds populate the skies, and just as many species of fish make the waters unsafe. New animal species are still being discovered in the Annamite mountains, such as the saola antelope or the grey squirrel monkey.

War legacy: During the Vietnam War, soldiers entrenched themselves in the national park, and the resulting bomb craters are now fish ponds.

Above all, Cologne Zoo is also committed to protecting the monkeys and the forest. By recording the diversity of species and training the rangers, the basis of species protection is formed. Together with the Frankfurt Zoological Society, the monkey sanctuary is funded with 12.6 million euros from the Republic of Germany. Many of the animals native to the national park are on the Red List of endangered species, some of which have their only refuge in the world in Phong Nha - Ke Bàng.

Related links:


Tours through the caves of Phong Nha-Ke Bàng National Park (English)