Photo: US tank at Khe Sanh.

Eat and meet

A hub for DMZ tours and transport to the Lao border, a lot of travellers end up spending a day in Dong Ha, and oh brother, is there nothing to do. At least you won’t go hungry.

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A local said this was the best pho in Dong Ha and Phuong Que at 50 Tran Hung Dao did not disappoint. A big tasty bowl with flavourful broth and good pieces of beef is only 30,000 dong.

Tam’s Cafe at 211 Ba Trieu St provides both food and helpful services, from arranging transport to well-reviewed DMZ tours available by motorbike or car. The cafe has a modest menu of fruit shakes, coffee, sandwiches and Vietnamese dishes, served with a big helping of friendly advice for your travels.

Just off Hung Vuong Street, dig into some delicious local food like banh xeo and banh beo at 23 Lan Ong. Banh xeo is a crispy savoury yellow crepe stuffed and fried with sprouts, green onions and meat or seafood. Here they serve it on a bed of lettuce and herbs with a peanut sauce for only 10,000 dong. Also good are the banh beo, small rounds of steamed rice flour pancakes topped with savoury ingredients and a fish sauce dressing. Look for the big sign Bun Dau Mam Tom, which you can also try if you dare. The ingredients (fried tofu, rice vermicelli, herbs) are uncontroversial but the key ingredient shrimp paste is a stinky acquired taste.

For dinner, try lively, bustling O2 located on the same street. Hot pot (lau) is the name of the game and prepare yourself for a feast, a pot of bubbling broth with all the usual hot pot fixings: vegetables, rice noodles, tofu, egg and meat for only 200,000 dong. The regular dishes are also tasty. Vegetarians will love the “dau hu O2”, soft tofu delicately steamed with soy sauce, ginger and mushrooms. Another delicious dish is their signature “Goi O2”, crispy bits of fried fish served on tangy mango salad with a sweet, sour, spicy dressing, only 70,000 dong.

Bun Dau Mam Tom: 23 Lan Ong St; T: (090) 3659 569.
Phuong Que Pho Bac: 50 Tran Hung Dao St; T: (053) 6270 306.
O2: 30 Lan Ong St; T: (091) 4745 258; open daily 09:00-24:00.
Tam’s Cafe: 211 Ba Trieu St; T: (090) 542 5912;;

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Dong Ha? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Vietnam.

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