• Photo: © Micha Klootwijk | Dreamstime.com

Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park

Part of the Annamite Mountain Range on the northwest Central Coast, Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park was listed as a World Heritage Site in 2003. Covering more than 800 km (497 miles), it’s thought to be one of the most distinctive examples of karst landforms in Southeast Asia, with more than 300 caves and grottoes including Son Doong, the world’s largest cave, only discovered in 2009. The park is incredibly beautiful and tourism is (to date) being managed with sustainability in mind. It’s a great family destination and although the caves are the main draw, there are plenty of adventurous activities including bike trails, kayaking, mountain climbing, and trekking on offer. For a small taster of Phong Nha, allow at least two full days and remember to account for travel time. If you’re pushed for time, forget about traveling independently and book a tour.

The best months to visit for trekking and caving are March, April, and May, before the draining humidity of summer kicks in. From the end of September, Phong Nha can get very wet with the chance of typhoons. Some services wind down during October and November as caves can flood, and roads become thick with mud, making it difficult to get around.

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