The Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park is a protected area covering much of Asia’s oldest limestone karst area. The park is most famous for its caves, but the forest above is also notable for its bio-diversity.
About the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park
Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park covers an area of 857.54 square kilometres within an area of over 4,000 square kilometres of limestone forest stretching into Laos. The park itself has 12 mountains over 1,000 metres in height and more than 300 caves and grottoes underground. The area has hundreds of kilometres of underground tunnels and rivers running through gaps in the limestone, not all of which have been explored. As recently as 1991 local people discovered the Son Doong cave, which was properly surveyed in 2009 and found to be the largest cave in the world.
Getting to some of the large caves, such as Son Doong and the impressive Hang En Cave, involve a multi-day expedition with a tour group camping overnight on route to and from the cave. Expect to pay the equivalent of $700 to $800 USD per person to join one of these treks, inclusive of safety training before you start out.
Other caves, such as the impressive Phang Nha Cave, can be reached on a day trip with a boat taking you 1.5 km deep into the cave. Phong Nha Cave is impressive enough its own right to want to come to the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park. Visitors don’t necessarily need to do one of the expensive expeditions to enjoy the park as there are plenty of more accessible attractions to see.
Above ground in the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park hiking, cycling and kayaking are all popular activities and richly rewarding. The park has an awesome array of different plants and animal. In terms of numbers the park is believed to contain 154 species of mammals, 117 of reptiles, 58 of amphibians, 314 of birds and 170 types of fish. You may not spot the rarest of the animals that live in the park, such as the clouded leopard and the red-shanked douc langur, but you stand a pretty good chance of seeing more common animals such as white cheeked crested gibbons, tropical birds and plenty of insects.
Trekking in the park can be challenging, particularly as the hills are extremely steep and slippery from the high moisture levels, and the difficulties of navigating in dense forest add to the potential dangers to walkers. For this reason we recommend joining a tour or hiring a guide rather than setting off alone.
Location of the Cao Dai Temple
The Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park is located 43.4 km by road from Dong Hoi Railway Station.