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How to reach Dong Hoi

Time to make some unforgettable memories; 10

Visit the tall Dong Hoi Citadel Gates: 

Pay homage to Mother Sout

Boating on Nhat Le River

Sample Dong Hoi’s local cuisine 

Witness the Nightlife of Dong Hoi

10 Unforgettable Things To Do In Dong Hoi; An Unexplored Gem of Vietnam

Vietnam was once an unnoticed travel spot, but for the past few years, it has gained immense love from travellers. And with numerous Vietnam tour packages, almost everyone can visit this exotic wonderland. 

Island hoppers and beach bums are seen flocking to Vietnam, to enjoy some of the best things to do in Vietnam.

Today let’s take you to an underrated city in Vietnam; Dong Hoi. 

“Attention everyone, this is your Dong Hoi travel guide speaking from Vietnam: Grab your sunglasses, pack the best of your beachwear, and get your passport stamped, we are going to Dong Hoi! We will discover everything from the quirkiest things to do in Dong Hoi to the most touristy dwellings!”

Earlier people only preferred visiting famous tourist destinations. Gradually this habit pattern changed. Travellers now want something unique, in fact, the quirkier the better. 

We check myriads of Instagram stories and reels every minute. We come across heavenly places and destinations and make sure to save the reels talking about some offbeat travel destinations

How to reach Dong Hoi

Dong Hoi is the capital city of Quang Binh Province on the north-central coast of Vietnam. The list of the most popular things to do in Dong Hoi begins from here itself. Dong Hoi is a popular bus and train junction, especially for people visiting the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and caves. 

Another fascinating fact about this city is the 12 Km long white sandy shimmering coastlines, imagine basking in the sun or taking a long walk with sand granules coating your wet feet. How amazing does that feel?

With a good commute system, the best ways to reach Dong Hoi City are:

By Air: Dong Hoi Airport (VDH) is the nearest airport to Dong Hoi. With flights flying from Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, primarily. There are Taxi and shuttle facilities available to reach the city’s center from the airport. 

By Train: In Vietnam, trains running on the North-South Railway line are termed Reunification Express trains. 

Dong Hoi, being a prominent spot on this railway line, is well connected to some of the major cities of Vietnam like Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Da Nang, and Hanoi. Tourists can easily catch a train from any of these metropolis cities. 

The railway station is centrally located, so you won’t face any hassle with accommodations and other amenities. 

Moreover, travelling by train can be quite an experience. The train meanders through verdant forests and landscapes and is more comfortable than buses. 

By Road: 

  • Bus: For a budget-friendly commute, hop onto an intercity bus that can be taken from the main cities of Vietnam; Hue, Da Nang, or Hanoi to reach Dong Hoi. 

Although it is advisable to get on a train, a bus journey is more time-consuming and is less comfortable. 

An important tip to keep in mind: There are several bus terminals in Dong Hoi, so be sure to know from which one the bus will depart or arrive, to avoid any issues. 

  • Car: There are ample options for renting a car or even hiring a driver. By car, one can go on National Highway 1A, a central route in Vietnam.

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Time to make some unforgettable memories; 10 Things to Do in Dong Hoi Vietnam, which you will cherish forever


Visit the tall Dong Hoi Citadel Gates: 

Envisage, mighty, marvellous pieces of architecture, built in the 1600s, standing even after decades to tell a sad story of the past. 

The Dong Hoi Citadel Gates are proof of the atrocities Dong Hoi in Vietnam went through during a bombing. 

Although what remains of these gates is not as glorious as it must have been in its prime, the Dong Hoi Citadel Gates are the only standing evidence of the ruins of Dong Hoi City, post-bombing. 

If you’re a history enthusiast, who loves to admire ancient architectural geniuses, then exploring this site is among the no-miss things to do in Dong Hoi.

Commonly asked questions:

What are the opening and closing times of Dong Hoi Citadel Gates 

~9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

What’s the entry fee?

~1,20,000 VND

  • Soak up the sun at Nhat Le Beach:

When talking of Vietnam, how can there not be a mention of some of the most exotic beaches? Nhat Le Beach is more than just a regular seashore. It is an estuary of the river Nhat Le. Taste the salty seawater and the sweetness of Nhat Le river, in one go.

Go for a stroll on the warm sandy shores of Nhat Le Beach, or just bask in the sun under a beach umbrella. You can also carry your yoga mat and rejuvenate yourself with the serenity and quietness of this beach.

Want an even more immersive experience? Then watching the sunset at Nhat Le Beach is for you. You can call it a day, and enjoy a delicious beachside Vietnamese dinner and drinks at places like Ocean Bar and Momma D’s Beachfront Cafe.

  • Explore the World’s biggest cave at Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Can you imagine stepping into a cave complex, so massive, that it has its own ecosystem?

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a treasure trove hiding some of the priceless jewels of Vietnam. 

It’s like descending into a new world, like some fantasy fiction movie. 

Here’s what to expect when visiting the Nha-Ke Bang National Park, in Dong Hoi

Be ready to witness Mother Nature’s piece of art. This Heritage Site is known for some of the most fascinating natural rock formations due to the presence of minerals specifically Karst Limestone, stalactites, and stalagmites. 

Another noticeable feature is the impressive cave system, unique biodiversity, and unreal landscapes. This is what you’ll see at the Nha-Ke Bang National Park Caves:

Phong Nha Cave: Picture this; entering a massive cave on a boat, floating through the aquamarine waters of a river; a unique and inseparable part of the cave itself. 

Seems unreal, right? 

But no, it isn’t a fan-fic, this is a true phenomenon of the Phong Nha Cave. Indulge in the breathtaking craftsmanship of nature, appreciate the intricate and immaculate rock formations, and enjoy a relaxing boat ride. 

This is one of those outdoor activities in Dong Hoi, which will leave a mark on your psyche.

Paradise Cave (Dong Thien Duong): It justifies its name to the fullest. There is no other structure in the whole of Asia, as unique as the Paradise Cave in Vietnam

But, what makes the Paradise Cave so unique? It is its expansive length, due to which it has earned the title of ‘The Longest Cave in Asia’. 

Take a long hike down this endless tunnel, if you feel tired, sit back and admire the drop-dead rock formations or just close your eyes and envision how vast a space you are in. 

Son Doong Cave: Now comes the showstopper; Son Doong Cave. Entering its terrain is equivalent to entering a new dimension. 

One of the most popular hiking and trekking destinations, which is capable of attracting adrenaline junkies from every nook and cranny of the world. 

Its massiveness will make you realise how infinitesimally small your worries and unnecessary things in life are. It is also known as ‘the largest cave in the world by volume

Saunter through the nature trails of this mammoth structure, made with nothing nasty, watch the river meandering through the limestone rocks and study its exclusive ecosystem. 

But, one important tip: Access to many parts of the cave is limited, requires a special permit, and can only be undertaken under a certified guide. 

Tien Son Cave: Calling it a fairyland, wouldn’t do justice to the ethereal beauty of Tien Cave. Although it is known as ‘The Fairy Cave’ for the same reason, it deserves much more appreciation.

Uncover the veiled corners of the fairy cave, maybe you’re lucky enough to find Tinkerbell, working hard to maintain the beauty of this place.

The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a trekker’s paradise. A hub of some of the most exciting and enthralling adventure activities in Vietnam are held here. 

Go hiking, or hire a Kayak and flow with the currents of the cave rivers or you can admire the ecology and set out on an eco-trail excursion. Visiting this national park is by far one of the best things to do in Dong Hoi.

Sustainability Initiatives

Being an integral part of Dong Hoi and Vietnam’s natural heritage, major sustainability and conservation initiatives are implemented by the government. 

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, hence, as tourists, it is our duty and responsibility to abide by the rules and regulations when visiting such places.

You’re requested to follow sustainable tourism practices at all times, not just here but while visiting any heritage site in the world.


Pay homage to Mother Sout

Vietnam’s history, just like any other country, is filled with the blood and sweat of unsung heroes. One such hero whose unconditional services will be remembered for time immemorial was Nguyen Thi Suot.

What’s the story of Nguyen Thi Suot and why is it called Mother Suot?

The story of Nguyen Thi Suot dates back to the Vietnam War era. She was not a soldier but her unwavering efforts and bravery in serving the nation during wartime are commendable.

She earned the title of Mother Sout, for her compassion and motherlike love for everyone. History buffs and even regular tourists visit the statue of Mother Sout, located near the banks of river Nhat Le.  

Numerous other sights and activities in Dong Hoi are covered in the blog, further, keep reading. 


Boating on Nhat Le River

When you can’t decide what to see and do in Dong Hoi, first, begin by taking a relaxing boat ride on the river Nhat Le.

Sitting and flowing along the currents of the mighty Nhat Le, witnessing the cityscape of Dong Hoi, and enjoying the scenic views, is an experience filled with serenity and adventure. 

On your boat ride, there are several spots you’ll witness along the way such as Quang Binh Quan Gate. You can also admire and observe the hardworking fisherman at work, and see the raw life of Vietnam up close. 

Activities on Nhat Le River

Apart from boating, there are several other activities to enjoy on the Nhat Le riverbanks. Book a guided boat tour and immerse yourself in the cultural and historical heritage of Dong Hoi.

Canoeing and Kayaking are also popular water adventure sports in Vietnam and the best way to slowly row your boat at your own pace and witness the picturesque landscapes.

If travelling with family, then sunset and dinner cruises are the best pick for you. 

Exploring Dong Hoi City, while cruising along the flow of this long river is a unique expedition and also one of the best things to do in Dong Hoi.

Tips for Boating on the Nhat Le River

  • Stay Safe: Even if you’re a seasoned swimmer, wear a life jacket at all times, when boating, kayaking, or canoeing. 
  • Pick a Suitable Time: if you enjoy lesser crowds and are a solitary nature admirer, go for a sunset cruise. But also give early morning boating a shot, the temperature is cool adding to the overall experience. 
  • Keep your tourist backpack ready: if you want to get sun kissed then skip the sunscreen, kidding, SPF is a must, and don’t forget to carry a hat, else you’ll be squinting through the day, sunglasses, and a good quality camera to take some Instagram worthy shots. 
  • Be Mindful of your Conduct: You’ll pass through local fishing villages and markets, be respectful and follow sustainable tourism practices, do not litter the place or do anything to hurt the cultural and religious sentiments of the locals.

Sample Dong Hoi’s local cuisine 

Food bloggers and food lovers take special trips to Vietnam to indulge in its culinary scene. Go try some Local Vietnamese specialties, fresh seafood, and regional dishes. 

Must try recommendations: banh xeo (Vietnamese pancakes), Bun cha (grilled pork with vermicelli), and com tam (broken rice). 

Visit local restaurants or street food stalls for an authentic dining experience and to try authentic Vietnamese food.

Discover Bao Ninh Beach and Fishing Village

For a solitary and relaxing retreat, visit Bao Ninh Beach, located across the river from Dong Hoi, which is quieter and less crowded than Nhat Le Beach. 

Relax on the beach, or visit a nearby fishing village, and explore traditional fishing. 


Witness the Nightlife of Dong Hoi

Although there are not many things to do in Dong Hoi at night, visiting some of the famous nightclubs, pubs, bars, and markets won’t let you get bored after sunset. 

Grove to some live music or try some exotic cocktails at 7th Heaven Bar & Grill, if you’re a budget traveller or a backpacker then drop by at Buffalo Pub & Hostel, for a laid-back and relaxing vibe.

Oxalis Club and Golden Beach Bar & Restaurant, are some of the most happening nightclubs in Dong Hoi, for all the party animals and disco lovers, going clubbing here is undoubtedly among the best things to do in Dong Hoi.

Another unique experience is the nighttime river cruise, letting the cool breeze ruffle your hair, as you dine and groove to the local Vietnamese music on board.

What is the best time to visit in Dong Hoi?

The best time to explore the beautiful city of Dong Hoi depends on various factors: Weather conditions, crowds, and various outdoor activities. 

Tourists can pick one of these periods:

Dry Season (April to August) 

This is generally considered the best season to visit Dong Hoi, the weather is approximately 25-35 degrees Celsius, and you can enjoy most of the outdoor activities during this season. 

You can also enjoy some local festivals and cultural events at this time.

As Vietnam in August is the peak season, expect bigger crowds, make sure to pre-book your stays for a great travel experience. 

February to March, September to October; The Transition Period

This season experiences a mix of wet and dry days. The transition from hot sunny days to mild rain showers keeps the temperature mild, but due to the unpredictability of the weather, many outdoor activities are not open.

You can expect fewer crowds and uncertain weather conditions, this isn’t a very touristy season in Vietnam. For people who seek a calmer ambiance and fewer tourists, this is a good time to visit Vietnam.

Wet Season: September to January

The wet season in Dong Hoi, brings along torrential rainfall and many parts of the city get flooded. Although the temperature remains mild 20-30 degrees Celsius, this season is not appropriate to visit Dong Hoi. 

Many caves are also shut down, for safety reasons, you can’t even enjoy most of the water sports. There are a handful of tourists who can be spotted during this time. However, as there are low footfalls, if you are a pluviophile, who loves rain, then Dong Hoi awaits you from September to January. 

For a great getaway and an unconventional vacation, visit Dong Hoi. It has much more to offer than is covered in this blog alone. 

From cave excursions, trekking, water adventure, and cafe hopping to admiring the historic heritage sites, you can do it all. 

There is no dearth of things to do in Dong Hoi, if you have the correct information, planning, and time in hand. However, just like any other place, being a responsible tourist is not just an obligation but our duty.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Q: What cultural experiences are available in Dong Hoi? “]<span style="font-weight: 400;">Dong Hoi has a rich cultural and historical background. You can visit numerous historic buildings like Dong Hoi Citadel Dates, the famous </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, and caves, explore the city during famous festivals, and build bonds with the local fishermen.</span>

Q:Where can I shop for local crafts and souvenirs in Dong Hoi?

Q:What are some family-friendly activities in Dong Hoi?

Q:What outdoor activities can I enjoy in Dong Hoi?

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