Aug 12 2011

Phong Nha farmstay

Published by at 4:30 pm under Dong Hoi


I first met Ben, one of the owners of Phong Nha Farmstay, in Le Pub last December, just after it opened. Hearing about its location among paddy fields and stunning scenery, the swimming pool and the well-stocked bar put it firmly on my must-visit list, and I finally made it last weekend.

A retreat amonst the paddy fields

Hello!

Phong Nha Farmstay is located inland in Quang Binh province, around 480km south of Hanoi and 180km north of Hue. It’s easily accessible by motorbike, while those on public transport will need to arrange a transfer from Dong Hoi train station or airport. Its location might put off those on a tight budget or schedule, but if you want to get off the coastal tourist track and see more of rural Vietnam, it’s worth the diversion.

The building itself is a French colonial-style structure with private en suite rooms on the lower and upper floors at $25 to $35 and dorm beds available in an adjacent building at $8 per night. Our room, on the upper floor, was simply decorated but characterful and comfortable, with high ceilings, a mosquito net, good bedding and towels and a view across the fields to the mountains beyond.

The retreat has a vibe somewhere between an oasis of calm and a traveller hangout. Swing in a hammock and savour the scenery or read a book, oblivious to those around you, or  mix with other guests in the large restaurant/bar/TV area, where a full-sized pool table awaits competitive sorts and a 42-inch TV is available for sports or movies. I hardly saw the TV on, testament to the lure of the other activities — or non-active activities — on offer.

An inside and outside pool

An inside and outside pool.

This vibe is in part due to the management and staff. On arrival expect to be warmly greeted by Ben or Bich, while the other staff are amiable and really make a stay here.

Food is good, with a decent range of Vietnamese and Western dishes and a few Thai favourites thrown in as well. Given there’s not much else around it’s just as well. Chilled Huda beer is the drink of choice — it’s cheap after all — but wine, spirits and soft drinks are also available.

While the farmstay holds many attractions, the real lure is the surrounding area. There are plenty of options if you want to get out and about: motorbikes and bicycles can be hired for trips to Phong Nha Cave, to visit the local villages or just to cruise around. You can also join a day trip out to the national park (more to come on that) or have a go at kayaking along the Son Chay river. Tours can be booked through the farmstay.

Fields, mountains, ducks and telephone lines...

Fields, mountains, ducks and telephone lines ...

We went out to Phong Nha Cave by bicycle on the first day. We were joined by another three guests who, as well as reducing the cost of the boat to the caves, also provided pleasant company. On our second day we went on the national park tour and Sunday really was a day of rest — unfortunately it rained too much to lounge by the pool but we amused ourselves with card games, books and by chatting to the other guests.

So in summary: a highly recommended, off-the-beaten-track escape, providing a real opportunity to see the other side of Vietnam. Don’t just take my word for it: it’s well rated on other travel websites and referred to as ‘the best place in Vietnam’ by a Travelfish.org member’s here.

Phong Nha Farmstay
T: (0944) 759 864 (Ben) / (0976) 425 332 (Bich) / (05) 2367 5135
phongngafarmstay@gmail.com
www.phong-nha-cave.com/contact_us.php

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3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Phong Nha farmstay”

  1. Kristinon 20 Aug 2011 at 2:38 pm

    We ended up staying at the farm for 25 days. We were there when the photo of the pool table was taken. I’m pretty sure the elbow and leg in the corner is my boyfriend haha. Phong Nha is a must see place in Vietnam. It offers tons of untouched natural beauty.
    Bich and Ben are the friendliest and welcoming people.
    We will be back again and again!!

    Thanks guys!

  2. Sarahon 23 Aug 2011 at 6:18 pm

    I think it probably is his elbow and leg, yes! A 25 day stay really shows what a great place it is.

  3. Benon 28 Sep 2011 at 11:25 pm

    Details about Phong Nha Farmstay.
    We are a Vietnames/Australian Couple.
    We have Private Rooms upstairs @ 35USD and downstairs are 25USD.
    Dorm Beds in the Homestay next door are 8USD each per night.
    Getting Here and Away from the North
    There are early morning flights daily to and from Ha Noi to Dong Hoi with Vietnam Airlines Quiet cheap of booked in advance and takes less than an hour.
    From Saigon there are Lunch time flights some days of the week. It seems to change often.
    To and from Ha Noi you can also get an overnight sleeper train which takes approx 10 hours if the wind is blowing in the correct direction and the stars are aligned. I do like the train however.
    The over night Buses are best avoided if you value your life.
    Transfer to or from Dong Hoi by private is 400,000VND at the train station, airport or on the Highway if you come by Bus. Heading north by bus can be arranged out of Hoan Lao by us as it’s 19km east of us on Hwy 1.

    Getting here and away from here to the south.
    There are local buses that leave daily from our front door to Hue (150,000VND 4hrs) and Da Nang (220VND 6hrs) at 5:30am
    The same Buses leave Da Nang and Hue at 1pm on the return trip. Not Comfortable but a fast and cheap and cultural experience
    Private car “DMZ Highlights Transit Tour” to and from Hue is 2,300,000VND stopping at Vinh Moc Tunnels, Ben Hai River Museum and Tam’s Cafe for Lunch.
    Please see the following Links for info on the destinations included in the”DMZ Highlights Transit Tour” to and from Hue.
    http://www.tamscafe.co.nr/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Hai_River
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinh_Moc_tunnels
    http://www.frommers.com/destinations/hue/D48592.html
    If others are going to or from Hue that day they can share the 2,300,000VNDcost of the car and driver.
    You can decide when and how you move south or north from here once your here if you like. We can help with some great suggestions as can other travellers staying here.

    We will have some great tours and “do it your self options” here to entertain you too and full Bar facilities, Restaurant and a Pool (All menu prices are on the web sight). Also see http://www.oxalis.com.vn/GL/en/home/ andhttp://phong-nha-cave.com/
    for more info on tours. We arrange some of our tours through Oxalis Adventure tours as they are a local company we support.

    Ben
    Ben and Bich
    http://www.phong-nha-cave.com
    phongnhafarmstay@gmail.com
    Ben 0944759864
    Bich 0976425332

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