The bombed-out ruins of Tam Toa Church, along Dong Hoi's Nhat Le river
Dong Hoi is the capital city of Quang Binh Province in North Vietnam. There is not much to do there but stare at the water and drink beer with the locals, but there are nearby beaches and caves. There are few tourists in Dong Hoi, so you will be greeted with many hellos. Nhat Le beach is nearby, but the focus of the town is very much on the river and canals.
From Hue, local buses take about 3-4 hours, and cost 80,000 dong (Sept 2012), departing from the Northern Bus Station. Tourist buses cost 4-5x the price: ie., Sinh Cafe (400,000d), Mandarin Travels (300,000d).
Most buses will drop you off on Hung Vung, which is closer to town than the bus station. You can easily walk to a hotel from Hung Vung.
By foot. However, motorbike drivers will hassle you like anywhere else in Vietnam.
The bus station and train station are a little far away from town, so if you have any bags, you will be better off catching a ride into town.
Nhat Le beach, (Cross the bridge; the beach is about a 20 minute walk from Dong Hoi center). Although Nhat Le beach is nearby, the focus of Dong Hoi is on the river. Accordingly, you will find the beach to be generally empty and abandoned, with just a few hotels, construction work, and piles of dirt. The beach is pleasant, but the current is strong and the waves often too big to swim.edit
Phong Nha Cave, ☎ 052-367-5110. Visit one of the most stunning cave in Vietnam. The cave is nearly 55km long but visitors can only access the first kilometre. It is located 45km from Dong Hoi. 50,000 dong. edit
Thien Duong (Paradise) Cave. Another stunning cave within the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. The cave is longer than Phong Nha Cave and it is actually the longest dry cave in South East Asia. edit
Blind Massage Therapy Center, 43 D Van An (At Ho Xuan Huong). Enjoy a massage by the blind while soft, sultry saxophone music echoes in the corridor. Not all the employees are actually blind, as they sometimes check and write text messages on their phones during the massage, but it has been stated that they are all legally blind. They also have a sauna for 20,000 dong.60,000 dong per hour (March 2012). edit
Daily Easy rider tour to see Phong Nha and Paradise cave, 63 Ly Thuong Kiet, Dong Hoi city, Quang Binh province, ☎ +84 52 3851660, . Phongnha Discovery is running daily easy rider tour (motorbike tour) that you can join to see both water cave (Phong Nha) and dry cave (Paradise cave). It costs 39 USD for full packageedit
Pizza Cafe, 63 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Dong Hoi city, Quang Binh provice, . Runs by Phongnha Discovery. Meals available: pizza, spaghetti, fried spring rolls and other snakes, fruit shake, ice-cream. Free internet and city map. Motorbike and guides for hireedit
Mau Hong hotel, Truong Phap Street, ☎ 052-3821804. Clean and cheap rooms, good location, rooms with balcony overlook the river. Wifi.$8-$15. edit
Nam Long hotel, 22 Ho Xuan Huong Street, ☎ 052-3821851. They have only 2 kinds of room, 1 double bed with balcony or 1 double bed and 1 single bed with window. all room have cable TV, fridge, air-con and wifi. Owners speak decent English.US$10-15. edit
Sun Spa Resort, Bao Ninh, Dong Hoi (5 km from Dong Hoi Airport), ☎ 052-3842 999, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. This is the only luxury resort in Dong Hoi. Sun Spa Resort have 2 difference area - The 4 Star Resort and 5 Star Resort & Villa with 5 star standard Private Pool Villa and BungalowsUS$90-1300. edit
Saigon Quang Binh Hotel, 20 Quach Xuan Ky Street, Dong Hoi, ☎ (84.52) 3822 276, . Clean rooms. Pool and tennis. edit
Locals mantain that Dong Hoi is a major stop on the heroin smuggling trail: the drugs come in by boat and trickle along to Laos. Accordingly, you will notice a preponderance of used needles and cracked syringes littering the town, and a dazed and stupefied subset of the population.