The karst formation of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has evolved since the Paleozoic (some 400 million years ago) and so is the oldest major karst area in Asia. Subject to massive tectonic changes, the park’s karst landscape is extremely complex with many geomorphic features of considerable significance. The vast area, extending to the border of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, contains spectacular formations including 65 kilometers of caves and underground rivers.
If you’re planning this same drive and want to know all about it – how long it is, how long it takes, and where to stop along the way – read on. By the end of this post, you’ll know everything about the drive between Ho Chi Minh City and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
As the crow flies, it’s roughly 472 miles between Ho Chi Minh City and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. Luckily, we can’t skip over all the good stuff and have to drive – that means seeing some of the sights and countryside between these two points.
For driving, it is roughly 714 miles or 1149 km between Ho Chi Minh City and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. This may vary slightly depending on your start and end points.
In terms of travel time by car, the 714 miles drive from Ho Chi Minh City to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park takes 16 hours 48 minutes. Again, your final drive time depends on where you start in Ho Chi Minh City and end in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
This is a really long drive, so it's not very realistic to drive nonstop. To get a better idea of how long this road trip would actually take, scroll down to calculate how many hours it would be if you drive with stops.
Realistically, you're not going to want to drive without stopping all the way from Ho Chi Minh City to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, especially if you're the main driver. So let's say you're actually planning a road trip to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, and you need to stop along the way to rest. Plus if it's a real road trip, you might want to check out interesting stops along the way, eat at great restaurants, and find a hotel to stay overnight. That's what we are perfect for, helping you figure out travel plans in detail.
Based on the length of this trip, we think you could spread out this fun road trip over a number of days.
Road trip: 3 days of driving
With the full itinerary planned out, we can estimate your total travel time for this trip.
Travel time: 16 hours 48 minutes hours on the road with 3 overnights
Start at Ho Chi Minh City.
Drive for about 3 hours, then stop in Quốc lộ 14, QL.14, DHCM and stay for about 2 hours.
Next, drive for another 4 hours then stop in Quốc lộ 19, QL.19. Stay overnight.
The next day, drive for about 3 hours, then stop in Đường Hồ Chí Minh, QL.14, DHCM and stay for about 2 hours. Next, drive for another 4 hours then stop in Cách Mạng Tháng 8, QL.1A. Stay overnight.
Finally, drive for about 2.8 hours and arrive in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
To give you a better estimate of real-life travel, we've put together a flight itinerary with actual airports. Eventually you'll be able to customize this plan, choosing your own airports and flights. But for now, here's an example we've selected to give you an idea of how traveling might work between airports.
Departure airport: Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN)
Arrival airport: Dong Hoi Airport (VDH)
With the airports selected, we can estimate the travel time to and from the airport, based on how far the airport is from downtown.
Getting to the airport: 5 minutes
Getting to your destination: 57 minutes
Now finally, let's look at an example flight from SGN to VDH and figure out how long it would take to fly including take-off and landing, and time to taxi on the runway.
Commercial flight time: 56 minutes
So now we can finally get an idea of the total travel time from Ho Chi Minh City to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park including time spent getting to/from the airports, an estimated wait time of 2 hours at the airport for TSA security lines and waiting at the gate, and the actual flight itself.
Total travel time: 3 hours 58 minutes
Now let's assume you have a private jet and you can fly in the fastest possible straight line between Ho Chi Minh City and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. Because of the curvature of the Earth, the shortest distance is actually the "great circle" distance, or "as the crow flies" which is calculated using an iterative Vincenty formula.
Flight time from Ho Chi Minh City to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Quang Binh Province is 57 minutes under avarage conditions.
Our flight time calculator assumes an average flight speed for a commercial airliner of 500 mph, which is equivalent to 805 km/hr or 434 knots.
Actual flight times may vary depending on aircraft type, cruise speed, routing, weather conditions, passenger load, and other factors.