Phong Nha Caves & Boat Trip information
The spectacular boat trip through Phong Nha Cave is a highly enjoyable, though quite touristy, experience beginning in Son Trach village. You cruise along the Son river past bathing buffalo, jagged limestone peaks and church steeples to the cave’s gaping mouth – Phong Nha means ‘Cave of Teeth’, but the ‘teeth’ (stalagmites) by the entrance are long gone. Then the engine is cut and you’re transported to another world as you’re paddled through cavern after garishly illuminated cavern.
On the return leg you’ve the option to climb (via 330 steps) up to Tien Son Cave , a dry cave in the mountainside. Here there are remains of Cham altars and inscriptions that date back to the 9th century. The cave was used as a hospital and ammunition depot during the American War and consequently was heavily bombed.
The ticket office and jetty for boat departures are in Son Trach village. Allow two hours to see Phong Nha; add an hour for Tien Son. In November and December seasonal floods may mean Phong Nha Cave is closed. Weekends are extremely popular with Vietnamese visitors, whose presence is magnified by the spectacular echoes and unventilated cigarette smoke.