Quang Binh Travel Guide
Quang Binh is located in central Vietnam and spans an area of 8,037 sq km with a population in the region of 800,000. The provincial capital of the city is Dong Hoi and is 485 km from the capital city of Hanoi. The terrain in Quang Binh is quite diverse and ranges from islands, forests, lowlands to mountains, as well as rivers and seas, which makes it a truly wonderful place for the Vietnam adventure tour and for those wishing to explore.
In recent years there has been a constant drive to make the local services and infrastructure that much more tourist-friendly. Most of the cultural and historical sites have been carefully preserved, while the transportation network has been upgraded.
Quang Binh has as a monsoon-tropical climate with two seasons: dry and wet season. The rainy season runs from September to March with the most rainfall in September to November. The preferred time to travel on the Vietnam travel is during the dry months, which starts in April and runs until August. The most intense heat is noticed from June to August.
How to get there
Travelling by air is the fastest option to reach Quang Binh. There are several domestic services that fly to the Dong Hoi Airport (VDH), which is only about 6 km from the centre of the city.
But, for the travellers that want a low-cost option or have more spare time, there is the option to go by bus which makes it possible to admire the stunning landscape. Also, hotels can help with booking a seat on a coach that passes through the local area.
The most convenient way to get around on arrival in Quang Binh is by bicycle or motorbike. It is easy to hire a bicycle from most hotels at a cost of $2 per day, while a motorbike can cost about $6-$9. Plus, there is the option to use the local metered taxis that are easily flagged down on the road. The cost for a short, local trip costs approx $0.50 and increase with the length of the journey.
Where to stay
A lot of the guesthouses and hotels are located in the provincial capital of Dong Hoi with most within a relatively short area of each other. For the beachfront accommodation on the Vietnam tour packages there is the option of staying at Nhat Le beach which is about 4 km from town.
A stay at the Nam Long Hotel makes it possible to enjoy a well run and friendly place that is practical for the low-cost travellers. The rooms are well-kept and spacious with the basic features like Wi-Fi, air-con, wardrobe, chairs, TV, and minifridge. Even though the fixtures and décor appear quite dated, this hotel is still very functional. However, it may be best to try to avoid the first floor rooms because they are somewhat dim and lack windows. It is well located and within a short distance of the popular eateries, the bridge, the cathedral ruins and the river. The cost to stay at Nam Long is under $10 per night (add $1-$2 for breakfast).
The Ocean View Homestay is about 4 km from the centre of town and about 100 m from Nhat Le Beach. The private rooms at this resort are great for the tourist looking to get a peaceful getaway. The owner is very friendly and speaks great English and willing to provide any help needed. Most of the rooms are fitted out with a TV, Wi-Fi, air-con and attached bathroom. Plus, there is plenty of outside space with tables and hammocks for guests to use.
A stay at the Ocean View Homestay is most appreciated during the period May to September when the weather is warm and pleasant to make a great time on the beach. But, with its location far from town, it isn’t so practical during the off-season (November to April) when the weather is wet, windy and cold. Plus, most of the beach side eateries will shut during this time.
One of the finest upscale offerings is the Muong Thanh Luxury Nhat Le Hotel which is great when it comes to more frills and comfort. This hotel is located close to the north edge of town, which makes it practical for walking to the local eateries and Nhat Le Beach. This city hotel includes a varied range of amenities like a flat screen TV, tea/coffee kit, air-con, Wi-Fi and minibar. The ensuite bathroom has a large glass shower and modern fixtures.
Eat and drink
Quang Binh has a variety of high-quality restaurants that serve up the international and traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Most of the best places are located in the capital of Dong Hoi. For the travellers that want to experience a satisfying taste of seafood there are several great eateries like Viet Hung Seafood Restaurant, Quoc Dung Seafood Restaurant, Hai Yen Seafood Restaurant and Ba Hien Seafood Restaurant.
The tourist that is exploring the Le Thuy district it can benefit to visit Kien Gang town has a variety of decent restaurants, such as Que Huong Restaurant and An Dung Restaurant.
Elsewhere in Bo Trach district, there are great places to eat like Viet Hong Restaurant and Phong Nha Restaurant.
Quang Binh is a great area to go shopping in Vietnam with its choice of markets (Treo Market, Ba Don Market and Dong Hoi Market), independent stores, and other establishments. The majority of the stores are located in or around Dong Hoi City which is great for virtually all types of merchandise, as well as the gifts and souvenirs for friends and family at home. A visit to Duong Van An and the Clem’s Souvenir Shop is a great choice for the tourist in search of the most unique items. Dong Hoi has plenty of clothes, shoes, and cosmetics stores that are certain to thrill the fashionista.
Things to see and do
Quang Binh has such a wide range of things to see and do on the Vietnam holiday packages that it is certain to keep the tourist busy.
Ke Bang National Park
A visit to a popular attraction like Ke Bang National Park will easily provide a variety of activities to stay entertained. This park is essential to include on the travel itinerary and makes it possible to explore plenty of fantastic cave systems, grottoes, and massive karsts. The caves at Tien Son and Phong Nha are among the most popular.
This national park was registered as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 2003 which helps to significialty increase the foot traffic in this region of Vietnam.
Tourists can easily experience the historical and ecological tour. This type of tour can include visiting the Nuoc Mooc Spring, Eight Volunteers Cave and Botanical Garden. Other great attractions include the Bang Mineral Hot Spring (temperature almost constantly at 105º C) which is about 60 km from Dong Hoi. For the bird watcher the deserted Chim or Gio Island is lively with a varied range of seabirds.
A trekking tour of the Ke Bang National Park is also worthwhile with plenty of nature sights and sounds to appreciate. Plus, there are a few villages in the local area that specialize in all kinds of handicrafts. A great place to visit for the unique items like those in rattan should make their way to The Don or Quang Van which are located in the Quang Trach district.
Phong Nha Grotto
A visit to the Phong Nha Grotto makes it possible to explore one of the most striking grottoes in the entire country. It is located approx 50 km northwest of Dong Hoi. It is not the easiest destination to reach and makes it necessary for the tourist to first make their way to Son Trach district town by road, and complete the onward journey (approx 30 minutes) to the grotto by river boat. The preferred time to explore Phong Nha Grotto is between January-August. In total the grotto spans a total length of 7,729 m and is filled with spectactural stalagmites and stalactites.
Bird Island (also called Hon Ong) is a vast sanctuary for birds. It is quite a journey to reach with a boat from Hong Hoi town taking in the region of 4 hours to complete. This is a very remote and isolated place with hundreds of bird species. The preferred time for bird watching on the Vietnam travel packages is between sunrise and sunset.
Da Nhay Beach
A visit to Da Nhay Beach is perfect for those tourists that want to rest up after a long period of sightseeing. It is situated at the bottom of the Ly Hoa mountain pass with its long stretch of white sand and clear-cut and gentle blue water that are perfect for sunbathing and cooling down in the sea water.