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QUANG BINH PROVINCE

quang_binh
Quang Binh is a province in the upper middle region of Vietnam. The width of the province is relatively short, only 50 km from its border with Lao to the seashore, making it the narrowest province on the map of Vietnam. Quang Binh adjoins Ha Tinh in the North, Quang Tri in the South, East Sea in the East and Lao’s Kham Muon Province in the West.
 
The natural area of Quang Binh is 8.065,27 km². With a population of only 847,9 thousands, it is a pretty humble province in term of people. Besides the capital city called Dong Hoi, the other districts of Quang Binh are listed as follows: Tuyen Hoa, Minh Hoa, Quang Trach, Bo Trach, Quang Ninh, and Le Thuy.
 
The province has a pretty narrow and steep topography. While 85% of the total area is mountains, there are also other types of terrain such as hills, valleys, highlands, plains, etc. However, almost all of the areas in the West of Quang Binh are mountains, which usually have the height of 1’000 to 1’500, among which Phi Co Pi is the highest peak. On the East side, there are many beautiful beaches along the seashore.
 
Quang Binh lies in a tropical region where it has to bear the effects of both Northern climate and Southern climate. There are two separate seasons: the rain season which lasts from September to March with an average of 2’000 - 2’300 mm/year, and the dry season which lasts from April to August with an average temperature of 24oC - 25 oC.
 
As Quang Binh is both the intersection of many cultural movements and the battle ground of two wars in the 20th century, it has many cultural and historical sites that are worth visiting. Another the reason is that it is a province where we can find many ethnic groups whose cultures and traditions are extremely diverse and interesting. Besides, with a 116.04 km long coastline, Quang Binh has a stable foundation to develop tourism. Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park is an interesting natural wonder which was recognized by UNESCO as world heritage in July, 2003. In addition, Hoang Phuc Pagoda, Quang Binh Gate, and Dong Hoi fortress are also the sites that you should not miss.
CLIMATE
Located in North-Central Vietnam, Quang Binh Province is surrounded by Ha Tinh Province on the north, East Sea on the east, Laos on the west and Quang Tri Province on the south.
 
The provincial topography is narrow and sloping from the west to the east. The area is divided into specific geological zones: mountainous, hilly and midland, lowland, coastal sandy area. The seaside stretches 116km with large Gianh and Nhat Le ports.
 
Quang Binh belongs to the monsoon-tropical zone. The climate is divided into two seasons. Rainy season lasts from September to March next year. The annual average rainfall is 2,000-2,300mm. Heavy rains concentrate in September, October and November. Dry season lasts from April to August. Annual average degree is 24ºC-26ºC.
WHAT TO SEE ?
Phong Nha Grotto
This is one of the most beautiful grottoes in Vietnam. It is 50 kilometers northwest of Dong Hoi town. It takes tourists a ride on car to Son Trach district town where a boat is awaiting you for a 30-minute ply along the Son river to reach Phong Nha Grotto. The grottoes 7,729 meters long. Made up of various stalactites and stalagmites Phong Nha Grotto offers spectators some imagination to see several stalactites and stalagmites resembling a woman dancer, an elephant, a tiger and other animals and birds.  The most convenient time to explore the grotto is between January and August.
 
Bird Island
Another name for this island of birds is Hon Ong. It takes visitors a four-hour boat ride from Hong Hoi town to get there. This is an isolated place home to different kinds of sea gulls the number of which can be by the million.
 
Da Nhay Beach
The white sand swimming beach lies at the foot of Ly Hoa mountain pass. The beach is frequented by many thanks to its long strip of while sand ideal for sun bath and the sea water is gentle and clear-cut blue.
 
Nhat Le Beach
It is two kilometers Northeast of Dong Hoi town and located closely to the Nhat Le River mouth.
 
Phong Nha Caves 
The world's longest underground river winds through Vietnam's Phong Nha cave system, the name of which translates as " The wind's fang". Entering this cave is like venturing into the mouth of a giant beast, all the more mysterious since the cave rings with strange noise. Locals say it is music from a banquet hosted by the mountain God, but the acoustic tricks are actually echoes, which bounce off the limestone cliffs of the cave. Shaped like a tube with a roof curved like the hull of a boat, this cave has acoustics properties similar to those of the fingal cave in Scotland.
 
Phong Nha Caves, also called Troc Caves, lie in the limestone cliffs of Ke Bang in Quang Ninh province, 50 km northwest of Dong Hoi. Like most of the caves in this area, the Phong Nha Caves were shaped by the Chai River.
 
The farther one gets inside the Phong Nha Caves, the more illusory the stalactites and stalagmites look as they glitter when bright light is shone on them.
 
Most importantly, all the primitive stone caves were preserved in their original form. Thus, visitors almost feel like they are going on a trip to the center of the earth.
 
The Son River flows into the mouth of the cave and continues underground, where it is known as the Nam Aki River. It emerges 20 km to the south near Pu-Pha-Dam Mountain.
 
The main cave system contains 14 chambers, linked by an underwater river that runs for 1.5km. Secondary corridors branch off in all directions. The Outer Cave and some of the Inner Caves have roofs that tower between 25 and 40 meters above the water level. From the 14th chamber there may be other corridors leading to similarly large chambers, but this area is more dangerous due to ongoing erosion of the limestone of the cavern. Some 800 meters into the cave we reach the Shallow Cave, where we step out of the boat to explore a fantastic landscape of sand and rock. Stalactites and stalagmites jut out like strange trees, exciting our imaginations.
 
Caves have always held a primitive fascination for people, as if they are meeting places for the real and the imagined. The word "magical" is used all too often but in the case of the Phong Nha caves it is fitting. A visit through these caves will present you with a rare opportunity in this modern age: the chance to explore nature's magic and reconnect with the earth.
 
Quang Binh Border Gate
This architectural construction made of a porch and walls was built in 1630 to protect the remote capital of Phu Xuan of the Nguyen dynasty. Due to several battles and the passage of time, the border gate has suffered heavy damage. Fortunately, it has been restored to its original design.  Visitors crossing the territory of Quang Binh will be delighted by the wonderful landscapes surrounding the Quang Binh Border Gate.
 
Tien Son Cave, a  tourist marvel
Tien Son Cave, originally called Dry Cave, lies in Phong Nha - Ke Bang tourist complex that comprises natural beauty-spots in Quang Binh province (central Vietnam). The site is now on the list to be recommended to UNESCO for recognition as a World Heritage Site.
 
Tien Son Cave was discovered in April 1935 in the limestone mountain of Ke Bang. It is about 400 meters away from the famous Phong Nha Grotto and at a height of 135 meters.  Tien Son Cave is more than 980 meters long. Going into the cave for about 400m, visitors will see an abyss, about 10m deep. Then comes another part of the cave, about 500m long, which is rather dangerous for walking. At present, nearly 400m of the cave have been installed with lighting system to make it safe for visitors.
 
The Cave looks marvelous inside with hundreds of stalagmites and stalactites of different sizes and shape. Some look like a man or an animal, and there is one that looks like the Learning Tower of Pisa in Italy. On the cave ceiling, there are glittering gold and silver-like veins. Some stalagmites produce an echoing sound when slightly knocked.
 
Limber Howard, Chief of the British Royal Team of Cave Researchers, who visited and made studies of the site, said that Tien Son cave may have been formed tens of millions of years ago. A river ran through the limestone mountain and eroded it. Then huge rocks fell, separated the mountain and form the cave. An under ground river ran through the lower part of the mountain, creating Phong Nha Grotto. Thus, Tien Son cave is older than Phong Nha grotto and they do not link with each other. Geographical tectonics in Tien Son Cave are rather stable, so the cave is safe for visitors.
 

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