Dong Hoi

Dong Hoi

Leaping off point for Phong Nha

Once known as the “City of Roses”, Dong Hoi suffered greatly during the Vietnam War thanks to its strategic location close to the dividing line between North and South, the DMZ. On February 11, 1965, American B-52s obliterated the city, razing it to the ground. After the bombardment only four things remained standing: a water tower, the Quang Binh Gate, Tam Toa Catholic Church and a single palm tree. You can still see the church ruins and the gate today. Perhaps they can be taken as symbols of the city’s resilience.

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Now the capital of Quang Binh province, Dong Hoi has risen from the ashes and is now the gateway to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed park, 50 kilometres northwest of the city, is home to the world’s most spectacular caves. There’s no reason not to stay closer to the caves in pastoral Phong Nha town. But Dong Hoi is larger, has better value accommodation and it’s well-connected. The city is a major train stop on the North-South railway, it’s on arterial Highway 1A and it has an airport. So if you’re short on time, Phong Nha Cave, Paradise Cave and the Dark Cave are an easy day trip from Dong Hoi. All hotels and hostels here offer some sort of transport or tour.

Dong Hoi City Gate. Photo by: Cindy Fan.
Dong Hoi City Gate. Photo: Cindy Fan

Aside from the caves, Dong Hoi has enough to hold your interest for a day, or even more during the summer months of April to October, when you can enjoy miles of beaches. In fact, the city is gaining interest amid domestic tourists as a seaside getaway, as evidenced by an endless row of seafood restaurants on Nhat Le Beach and new sea view hotels under construction. To encourage tourism growth, the provincial government is offering a cash incentive per bed to new hotel ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 600 words.)

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