Quang Binh is a province in Viet Nam, about 490km south of Hanoi. The entire area spans 8,037sq km and serves as home to a population of more than 800,000 people. The city of Dong Hoi is the provincial capital. Quang Binh has diverse terrain with everything from mountains to lowlands, forests and islands, as well as seas and rivers, making it a great place to visit, as there are many things to see and explore here. In the past few years, the government had invested heavily in the province in an effort to improve the infrastructure and services so that it will be more tourist-friendly. Transportation has been upgraded, while sites of historical and cultural relevance have been carefully preserved.
Quang Binh is located at the narrowest place according to the east-west direction of the S-shaped strip of Viet Nam (40.3 km following the shortest path from the Lao border to the South China Sea). Quang Binh – the land of acculturation between Sa Huynh Culture and Dong Son Culture in the prehistoric times –was the frontier of Van Lang - Au Lac, the ancient Kingdoms of Viet Nam. Quang Binh has international traffic routes running through as National Route 1A, Ho Chi Minh Highway, North-South railway. In addition, the province has waterway (Hon La seaport and Gianh seaport and airway (Dong Hoi Airport). It shares a border with Ha Tinh Province in the north, Quang Tri Province in the south, the South China Sea in the east, Khammuane Province (Laos)in the west and Savannakhet Province (Laos) in the southwest with Truong Son Mountain range as a natural border.
WHAT TO SEE
Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park
Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park situates in the village of Son Trach, 55km southwest from Dong Hoi. The cave Phong Nha is one the largest and most beautiful known caves in Viet Nam. Formed approximately 250 million years ago, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000. Its remarkable points are thousands of meters of underground passageways and river caves.
Before becoming a Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, this area had been a nature reserve with an area of 50km2. However, it was turned into a national park in 2001 with the purpose of protecting forest resources, biodiversity as well as preserve scientific values of fauna and flora in North Central of Viet Nam, especially rare species. The park now covers a total area of 857.52 km2 which are divided into three zones – a strictly protected zone (648,94 km2), an ecological recovery zone (174,49 km2), and an administrative service zone (34,11 km2)
Nhat Le Beach
With blue sea and sky, green coconut tree rows along sandy beach, Nhat Le beach is a magnificent natural landscape.
Located on the mouth of Nhat Le River in Dong Hoi city, you will certainly be surprised by the magnificent sea. There are many interesting activities for recreation. The very first thing that you will want to do is go for a swim. The sea is so attractive that you won’t hesitate to decide to do that. With baby soft sand and turquoise waters, it would make you really enjoy your holidays. After that, you may participate in many other exciting activities such as sand-skating on nearby sand caverns, boat sailing and parachute jumping. Another thing that you shouldn’t forget is trying the special seafood of this province.
Son Doong Cave
A spectacular network of approximately 150 caves, Son Doong Cave has been recognized as the biggest cave in the world. Hidden in a rugged National Park in Quang Binh province, the majestic cave created 2-5 million years ago was not discovered until 2009. Reaching up to 200m tall and 150m wide, the “Mountain River cave” is large enough to house an entire New York City block, even the 40 story skyscrapers. This wonder of nature has its own environment of animals, trees, lakes, beaches, and a river, as well as a rare “pearls” shaped by water drops for centuries. Son Doong Cave also has some of the world tallest stalagmites, which are about 70 meters tall. One of the most featured attractions is the Garden of Eden where the collapsed roof has allowed the world’s largest jungle within a cave to form. From here, travelers may set up camp at Beach Camp, which provides stunning panoramas of the enchanted jungle. In earlier summer 2016, a group of international ambassadors completed a breath-taking exploration of Son Doong in a 4-day trip. Son Doong Cave was classified as World Natural Heritage by UNESCO.
Vung Chua - Dao Yen (Chua Pool - Salangane Island)
Vung Chua – Dao Yen is located 7km far from the southeast of Horizon Pass (Deo Ngang) – the natural borderline between Quang Binh and Ha Tinh province. The location is the end of Hoanh Son range which runs to the East Sea. From the National Avenue 1A, visitors follow a large venue to Hon La port, then voyage to Yen island by boat.
Vung Chua is surrounded by three islands. They are Hon La, Hon Gia, and Hon Nom (Yen Island). That is a reason why local fishermen usually come here to seek for a shelter when storms come. According to the locals, the name of Vung Chua (Pagoda pool) originated from a pagoda located here for hundreds of year ago. In addition, the pagoda’s location is quiet and peaceful as a pool. However, there is only the foundation as it remains left. Yen island was firstly called “Hon Nom” (South wind island) following the wind direction. Then, the name of Yen island (Salangane island) is widely known because many salanganes come and build nests here. After being selected as a final rest place for a military genius General Vo Nguyen Giap, the region is becoming a popular tourist area for Vietnamese people.
The place is attractive not only as a visiting place for General Giap’s admirers but also for its primary beauty. Moreover, Vung Chua – Yen Island is described as a position of “sitting tiger, rolling dragon” which leans against the mountain and has wide visibility to the East Sea.
WHAT TO EAT
Rice crepes Quang Hoa
Made of rice flour, Quang Hoa crepe includes snakeheads, salad, raw vegetables and fish sauce. Taking a piece of the crepe on your hand, the heat and the aroma of the food will definitely attract your taste.
Chao Hau (Oyster soup)
Despite the fact that you can find oyster anywhere else, Quan Hau oyster is famous for its diversified way of cooking. Oyster porridge, stir-fried oyster (eat with rice paper), sour soup, and roasted oyster with onion. The oysters that are being found here have typical white color, sweet in taste and more nutritious than elsewhere. Oyster porridge is the most popular one.
Khoai dẻo (Dried sweet potatoes)
Made of red-skinned sweet potatoes, khoai deo is sweet, and eat like a marshmallow. It can be found easily in markets of Quang Binh province. Cheap but nutritious, locals named it “ground ginseng”.