phong nha to hanoi

How to Go from Phong Nha to Hanoi

The capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi is also the second largest city.  It’s a busy and pleasant city to visit.  There’s heaps of history here, loads of cafes, and some lovely areas to discover.  There’s the charming Old Quarter, the posh French Quarter, the relaxing West Lake, and more temples than you can shake a stick at.  People come for the museums, the culture, and the egg coffee and also use it as a stop-off on the way to the famous Halong Bay or the northern town of Sapa.  We visited en route to Southern China on our route from Phong Nha to Sapa via Hanoi.  This guide covers whether you’re going from Phong Nha to Hanoi or Hanoi to Phong Nha as you’ll need to know the best way to travel between these two destinations.  There are several options for transport between Phong Nha and Hanoi, but what’s the best way to go from Phong Nha to Hanoi?  And what are the options for traveling to Hanoi from Phong Nha?  Here’s our guide on how to get to Hanoi from Phong Nha.

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Where is Hanoi

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and is located in northwest Vietnam on the Red River.  It’s more than 1,000 kilometers from the largest city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh (and overland that’s more than 30 hours!).  Hanoi, is, however, just 160 kilometers (100 miles) from one of the top locations to visit in Vietnam, Halong Bay.  It’s around 500 kilometers (310 miles) from Phong Nha to Hanoi. 

Where to Stay in Hanoi

There are a host of places to stay in Hanoi – here’s our pick of the luxury places to stay in Hanoi, mid-range places to stay in Hanoi, and budget accommodations in Hanoi. 

The Peridot Grand Luxury Hotel in Hanoi is a fabulous five-star luxury hotel in Hanoi.  From its magnificent roof terrace with pool to its 3 bars and two restaurants, it’s got everything you need in a stunning location in Hanoi.  Premier double rooms are fabulous, but the Junior and Luxury suites are truly glorious, with separate living rooms and some seriously gorgeous decorations, and just the best double-ended luxury bath.  Bathrobes, slippers, and amenities come as standard and the service is second to none here.  Check rates and availability at this top Hanoi hotel here.

For a mid-range hotel, you can’t go far wrong with the Meritel Hanoi – there’s a rooftop pool, shared lounge, and some seriously good facilities for the money.  Rooms are large with fabulously comfortable beds and the showers are superb.  Virtually all the rooms come with minibars and the hotel staff is super friendly and helpful.  The breakfasts here are fabulous  – get a great deal on this Hanoi hotel here.

The Trang Trang Premium hotel is a whole lot of hotel for the budget range that it’s in.  This budget Hanoi hotel is in a great location near the Water Puppet Theater and rooms are well equipped, spacious, and with some excellent air conditioning.  They also come with kettles, fridges, and a flat-screen TV.  There’s a shared lounge here and a terrace too.  You can pick up a great breakfast for around US$2 too! Pick up a great value room in Hanoi here.

Travel Tips for Exploring Vietnam

How to Go from Phong Nha to Hanoi – Transport Options

Phong Nha, or more correctly Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, in the Quang Binh Province of Vietnam, is a glorious National Park, inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage sites list in 2003.  Phong Nha is known for its limestone karsts and network of caves.  The National Park is home to Hang Son Doong, the world’s largest cave, only discovered in the 1990s!  The National Park is a glorious place to explore.  Phong Nha is 50 kilometers from Dong Hoi, the largest town in the area. 

In this guide on how to go from Phong Nha to Hanoi, we’ll cover the fastest way to travel go from Phong Nha to Hanoi, the easiest way to go to Hanoi from Phong Nha, and the cheapest way to get to Hanoi from Phong Nha, as well as the most atmospheric way to get to Hanoi from Phong Nha.  Our guide on what to do in Hanoi is here.

How to get to Hanoi from Phong Nha

For transport from Hanoi to Phong Nha, then you have several options.  You can take a direct sleeper bus from Phong Nha to Hanoi.  You can also take a bus to Dong Hoi, then the train from Dong Hoi to Hanoi or you can fly from Dong Hoi to Hanoi.

Bus + Train from Phong Nha to Hanoi

Taking the train to Hanoi from Phong Nha is, a great way of traveling, but you will first need to get to the nearest train station, Dong Hoi.  The local bus to Dong Hoi from Phong Nha takes about 90 minutes and costs around 50,000 VND.  You can take a taxi to Dong Hoi from Phong Nha to make this quicker, but that will cost around 400,000 VND and will take around an hour.

Bus from Phong Nha to Dong Hoi

The local bus number 4 (it’s green and yellow) runs between Dong Hoi and Phong Nha.  It has a sign on it saying Dong Hoi – Hoan Lao – Phong Nha.   You can’t book this bus online, and you’ll need to pay cash for your ticket.

There are a few bus stops in Phong Nha for the bus to Dong Hoi, check with your accommodation which is the best one for you, but you’ll likely spot it while you’re exploring Phong Nha as the main stop is in the main street in Phong Nha.

The first bus to Dong Hoi from Phong Nha leaves at 5:30 am and then departs hourly until around 5 pm.  If you’re planning on taking the train, then be aware that the closest stop to the train station is about 1 kilometer (less than a mile) away. 

If you are planning to fly from Dong Hoi to Hanoi, then the good news is that this bus stops just outside the airport gates – about 100 meters away.  The bus stop is denoted by the B4 bus stop sign.

Train from Dong Hoi to Hanoi

There are usually 6 trains a day from Dong Hoi to Hanoi.  The train from Dong Hoi to Hanoi takes from 10.5 hours to 12 hours.  There are three classes of tickets available, from 2nd class AC sleeper to 1st class AC sleeper and then the luxury train, which is usually around three times the price of 2nd class sleeper.

Check the prices of the train from Dong Hoi to Hanoi here

phong nha to hanoi sleeper train vietnam

The first train leaves Dong Hoi at 7:25 am and this is the only daytime train, it arrives in Hanoi at 7:12 pm.  There are five evening (overnight) trains – the first is at 5:22 pm and the latest train to leave Dong Hoi for Hanoi is at 7:21 pm.  These trains have a restaurant car and you can have your dinner on them.  They are full sleeper trains, so you’ll get a proper lie-flat bed.  They arrive in Hanoi in the early hours (from 4:12 am to around 5:40 am!)

Check all the times of the sleeper trains to Hanoi from Dong Hoi here

Taxi or Bus + Flight from Phong Nha to Hanoi

The quickest way to go to Hanoi from Phong Nha is to take a taxi from Phong Nha to Dong Hoi and then fly from Dong Hoi.  You can also take the local bus from Phong Nha to Dong Hoi, which stops very close to the airport.  There are details on the bus to Dong Hoi from Phong Nha above.

Flights from Dong Hoi to Hanoi

There are 6 flights a day from Dong Hoi to Hanoi.  The first flight of the day is at 3 pm and the last direct flight is at 5:35 pm.  You can check the times of flights to Hanoi from Dong Hoi here.

Direct flights to Hanoi from Dong Hoi are operated by Vietnam Airlines.  Check prices of flights to Hanoi from Dong Hoi here.  (Flights usually cost around US$55-60 and take around an hour).

Flights arrive at the international airport in Hanoi, which is around 28 kilometers (17 miles) from central Hanoi.  Local buses run between Hanoi International Airport (Noi Bai) and Hanoi City Center.  The bus costs 5,000 VND and takes about an hour.  Buses to Hanoi from Hanoi Airport run from 5 am until 10 pm and there’s a bus every 15-20 minutes.  You’ll want bus number 7 or 17 and the bus stop is to the right on the exit from the international airport.  You’ll need to pay cash when you board the bus.

Sleeper Bus from Phong Nha to Hanoi

It’s about 500 kilometers (310 miles) by road from Phong Nha to Hanoi and the sleeper bus from Phong Nha to Hanoi is one of the easiest ways to go from Phong Nha to Hanoi.  It takes from 9-12 hours to go from Phong Nha to Hanoi by bus and there are 1 or 2 buses a day from Phong Nha to Hanoi.

If you don’t mind a sleeper bus (we did this trip and it was relatively comfortable), then this is the most convenient way to go to Hanoi from Phong Nha.

Vietnamese sleeper bus phong nha to hanoi

Book your sleeper bus to Hanoi from Phong Nha here.

Most buses from Phong Nha to Hanoi leave from the bus operator’s offices in Phong Nha, which is pretty central in Phong Nha, and arrive near the Old Quarter in Hanoi – so they’re perfect for getting straight into seeing Hanoi.  Sleeper buses to Hanoi from Phong Nha leave at around 21:30-21:45 and arrive in Hanoi 12 hours later.  You’ll save on a night’s accommodation costs by using the sleeper bus to Hanoi from Phong Nha.

There are currently three companies running night buses from Phong Nha to Hanoi.  This may increase as more tourists arrive in the area.  All of these buses leave from their “office” in Phong Nha, which is essentially the Central Backpackers Hostel.  They leave at around 9-10 pm and the Central Backpackers has a café that you can use even if you’re not staying there.

All buses arrive at the edge of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, where it’s easy to get to pretty much anywhere in Hanoi.

These buses to Hanoi from Phong Nha are air-conditioned and by booking online here you can select your seats. 

Check the costs for the bus from Phong Nha to Hanoi here

You don’t need to print a ticket for the bus from Phong Nha to Hanoi, you can use an electronic ticket from your online booking from Phong Nha to Hanoi.

Check availability, prices, and book seats on buses from Phong Nha to Hanoi here.

The quickest way to get from Phong Nha to Hanoi

The quickest way to get from Phong Nha to Hanoi is to take a bus from Phong Nha to Dong Hoi, and then fly from Dong Hoi to Hanoi.  Flights to Hanoi from Dong Hoi leave from VDH Dong Hoi Airport and arrive at Hanoi No Bai International Airport (HAN).  It’s 50 kilometers from Phong Nha to Dong Hoi and you can take a local bus for this part of the journey.  A flight from Dong Hoi to Hanoi takes about one hour.

The easiest way to go to Hanoi from Phong Nha

The easiest way to get from Phong Nha to Hanoi is to take the sleeper bus, you’ll leave from central Phong Nha (and if you’re staying a little way out, then the bus company usually provides a minivan to collect you).  And it arrives neat Hanoi Old Quarter.  Check details of overnight buses from Phong Nha to Hanoi here.

The cheapest way to go from Phong Nha to Hanoi

The cheapest way to get to Hanoi from Phong Nha is to take the sleeper bus – reserve your seats here.

The best way to go from Phong Nha to Hanoi

Well, now this depends.  I love traveling on trains, but it’s a pain having to get a bus to Dong Hoi to then take the train, so for me, the best way to go to Hanoi from Phong Nha is to take the sleeper bus.

Other key routes to travel in Vietnam

Want to know more about different forms of transport in Vietnam? Our guide to Vietnam transport is here. And here’s how to travel some of the popular routes around Vietnam, your options, and how we did it.

Final Words on How to Go from Phong Nha to Hanoi

Traveling to Hanoi from Phong Nha is easy.  There are several options from overnight sleeper buses to local buses (or taxis) and either trains or planes.  All of the options for getting from Phong Nha to Hanoi are easy to book, this is a relatively well-traveled route, and it’s great to have options.

Stock images in this article are courtesy Deposit Photos.

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