Phong Nha-Ke Bang
Flora and fauna
Airplane: Currently, the closest service is via Vietnam Airlines to Dong Hoi, check their website for latest fares and flight times.
Train: Several arrivals and departures at Dong Hoi daily from as far away as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, only a few hours from Hue.
Bus: A local bus goes from Dong Hoi to Phong Nha for 40,000 VND. It departs at 14:00 from Nam Ly bus station. The bus back to Dong Hoi leaves Phong Nha at 8:00, so you have to either stay overnight or try to go back with one of the tour buses (they may even take you to Dong Hoi for free).
Motorbikes: Motorbikes can be rented for about 150,000 for one way or as low as 200,000 for return. At your own risk. About 1 hour on a highway with cars, oxcarts, motorbikes, buses, trucks.
Taxis: can be hired from hotels/resorts, airport or train station in Dong Hoi. About 1 hour on a highway with cars, oxcarts, motorbikes, buses, trucks.
Tours are available from Hue.
Hotels in Dong Hoi can arrange day trips to the park.
Tien Son Caves: Also known as Phong Nha caves. It is 50,000 VND to see both caves and 200,000 VND (USD 10) to rent a boat for up to 10 people or 240,000 VND for 14 people. You can share a boat with other tourist that show up. Boat is needed. Caves are exquisit.
Nuoc Mooc Spring: 50,000 VND for ticket. Transportation can be negotiated to take you there from Phong Nha village. Buy ticket at the hut under the sign off the road, then wander the bamboo bridges and paths along both sides of the river/rapids. Go back to see where the river springs up out of the ground.
Thien Duong (Paradise) Cave: Newly paved road off the main HCM Highway provides car/motorbike/bus access. Buy 100,000 VND ticket to enter. Just after that, separate >>optional<< ticket for non-polluting electric golf cart to the base of the stairs (if nice weather, walk along new path about 1.6 km instead). Approx. 500 stairs up to entrance of cave, another 100-200 stairs down inside. Stunning, tastefully lit cave features along 1 km of new (spring 2011) wooden pathways.
Bicycling and kayaking, swimming at allowed points along the rivers.
Thien Duong Cave: Along with the new road, several restaurants -- at the site entrance, as well as at the top of the 500 stairs! -- were being built for visitors in Spring 2011.
In Dong Hoi, there is a range of hotels/guesthouses, as well as at least one beach resort. About 1 hour travel time from Dong Hoi to the park.
At least two idyllic options very close to the park:
Chay Lap -- clean, quiet, no frills homestay, excellent Vietnamese home cooking, outdoor showers, will set up trekking bicycles and kayaks for you. Website has a great map of activities in and near the park.
Phong Nha Farm Stay -- Laidback, backpacker idyll. New guesthouse, comforts of a hotel, out in the rice paddy fields, experience local life, chill out, very affordable.
Check park regulations first, or go with an organized tour. Park rangers are very suspicious of undocumented visitors overnighting in the park.
Be cautious driving on the road to/from Dong Hoi; avoid night driving.
Bring mosquito repellent.