Dong Hoi – The cultural and historical city of Vietnam


Quang Binh province is well-known for its Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park and Son Dong cave. However, many people don’t know that its city – Dong Hoi – is also a place having the great historical and cultural value. Dong Hoi on the Nhat Le River and by the South China Sea with its 12 km of white sandy beaches.

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By road, Dong Hoi is 486 kilometres from Hanoi, 195 kilometres from Vinh city, 172 kilometres from Hue city and 1,238 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh City. Dong Hoi is a small, quiet and friendly city which has a 12-km-long coastline with white sand beaches. Dong Hoi is the closest city (40 km) to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, UNESCO’s World Natural Heritage Site. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park offers a lot of activities for tourists and visitors from all the world, it is a more popular place for tourists. For example kayaking, boat tours, exploring the caves and trekking in the nature. Nhat Le River is the only river that runs through the city.

Phong Nha _ Ke Bang National Park

Dong Hoi – The city of Quang Binh

Almost entirely flattened in the American War’s bombing raids, Dong Hoi city has risen from its ashes to become a prosperous, orderly provincial capital of over sixty thousand people. Tourists who pass by here usually use the town as a base for Phong Nha Cave, a hugely attractive system of caverns 30km away, and recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. As such, the town itself gets very few visitors and, while there is precious little to see here, the relative lack of tourists makes it a nice step off the beaten track.

The Nhat Le River oozes through town just before hitting the sea, with the bulk of Dong Hoi clustered around its west bank.

Nhat Le River

Here you’ll find remnants of a Nguyen dynasty citadel – the only notable part is its pretty south gate, which has been restored and now functions as the city’s focal point; it’s actually located away from the main body of the complex. There’s a lively riverside market east of the gate and an area of covered stalls where in summer vendors sell ice-cold glasses of sweet-bean “chè”. Just to the north of the citadel are more ruins, this time of a church destroyed during the American War; only the bell tower is now standing, with a couple of small trees maintaining a lonely vigil on top.

Crossing the Nhat Le, you’ll find yourself on a small spit of land, named My Canh. This is also the name of the small beach rifling down the eastern edge of the isthmus. As with sandy stretches up and down the land, it’s being developed as a resort area.

Dong Hoi is now a developing tourism city of the central Vietnam. Coming here, you can rent a motorbike in the city or find a taxi or mototaxi to get around. Try getting there once and see many historical places from the Vietnam war.