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Quang Binh is a small province that packs a big punch. Sandwiched between the East Sea and the Lao border in north-central Vietnam, this diminutive destination contains a spectacular collection of natural wonders, including the world’s largest cave network and a string of soft sandy beaches. Straddling the border with Laos, yet still less than an hour’s drive from the coast, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a geological and biological treasure trove. Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, this dramatic limestone landscape contains the world’s largest cave, Son Doong, and the world’s longest underground river. Guests can also discover the dramatic dunes of Quang Phu, where visitors can slide down the sandy slopes, while the pristine beaches of Da Nhay, Ly Hoa and Nhat Le are surely among the most attractive and unspoiled in Vietnam. Whether you are seeking a blissful beachfront break or an exotic ecological adventure, Quang Binh is ready to reveal its secrets to the world.
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Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a spectacular limestone landscape in north-central Vietnam, home to soaring jungle-clad mountains and an incredible array of natural wonders. But while this scenic area appears impressive above ground, its most dramatic attractions are hidden beneath the surface. These include the world’s longest underground river, which is found in the impressive Phong Nha Cave, and the world’s largest cave, Son Doong, which stretches for five kilometers. The national park is also home to thousands of species of flora and fauna – many of which are rare or endangered – including bears, gaurs, pangolins and langurs. This natural haven of wildlife and adventure was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2003.
Son Doong Cave
The world’s largest cave, Son Doong has a main chamber that is five kilometers long, 200 meters high and 150 meters wide. And yet, this geological wonder was not discovered until the 1990s and not properly surveyed until 2009, when a team from the British Cave Research Association led an expedition that revealed its true size. The end of the cave wasn’t reached until 2010 and Son Doong still remains largely inaccessible today. The cave forms part of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed landscape that runs along Vietnam’s border with Laos. Specialist tour companies do allow visitors to explore Son Doong, but visitor numbers are strictly limited.
Quang Phu Sand Dunes
The sand dunes of Quang Phu are a unique natural wonder and must-see attraction for visitors to Quang Binh province. Less than ten kilometers from Dong Hoi, the provincial capital, these coastal dunes rise up to almost 100 meters high and are constantly changing shape with the wind. Guests can walk to the top of these dramatic golden peaks to enjoy spectacular views of the coastal landscape. And adventurous travelers even have the unique opportunity to take part in sand sliding, using wooden boards to descend the dunes. Visitors to this coastal area can also learn about the traditions of local fishing villagers.
The provincial capital of Quang Binh, Dong Hoi is a charming coastal city with a laid back ambience and plenty of beaches on which to relax. Guests can stroll around the city and discover local eateries, markets and cultural attractions, including the city’s three gates, ancient temples and the ruins of Tam Toa Church. Following the banks of the Nhat Le River to the coast, visitors can discover the city’s stunning shoreline, which is lined with stretches of white sandy beach. And across the impressive Nhat Le Bridge, the Bao Ninh Peninsula has a more traditional feel, with fishing communities and authentic seafood restaurants.
Things to do in Quang Binh