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Dong Hoi

DONG HOI

052 pop 93,500

The pretty fishing port of Dong Hoi is the capital of Quang Binh province, and some important archaeological finds from the Neolithic period have been made in its vicinity. During the American War, the city suffered extensive damage from US bombing. When you travel along Hwy 1, north of DMZ, note the old French bunkers and US bomb craters lining the route; they’re especially prolific near road and rail bridges.

 The Vietnam-Cuba Hospital is 1km north of town and the Nhat Le River flows along the eastern side of town. If you’re staying overnight, head 200m or so east Hwy 1 to the river and its fishing harbor – it’s picture-postcard pretty and there are plenty of hotels and guesthouses along the water.

 Usually travellers spend the night in Dong Hoi only if they wish to visit Phong Nha Cave (see the Phong Nha Cave section in this chapter). The cave is 55km from Dong Hoi, so it can be visited as a day trip. Some hotels in Dong Hoi book trips to the cave.

 

Beaches

Most of Quang Binh province is lined with sand dunes and beaches. These spread for dozens of kilometers north of town and on a long spit of sand south of town. Nhat Le Beach is at the mouth of the Nhat Le River, about 2.5km from central Dong Hoi. Any other bathing site in the region is Ly Hoa Beach.

 If you’re heading north along Hwy 1 from Dong Hoi, it’s possible to follow the beautiful coast road for a few kilometers, and then branch left to rejoin the highway.

 

Places to Stay & Eat

The best places to stay are on the west bank of the Nhat Le River, just east of Hwy 1.

 Khach San Mau Hong(   821804; Đ Truong Phap; 3-bed rooms 100,000-140,000d) is the best option we found. It’s a small guesthouse, run by a delightful family (who speak absolutely no English), and newly opened in 2002. The rooms are bright and clean and it’s quiet.

 Phong Nha Hotel(   824971, fax 824973; 5 Đ Truong Phap; air-con rooms US$15-40) is a large, newish place close to Nhat Le Beach. It’s a fair hike from the town center and restaurants.

Thanh My Guesthouse(   821026; Đ Nguyen Du; rooms 90,000-100,000d) has basic rooms, but the setting’s lovely.

Phuong Dong Hotel(   822276, fax 822404; 20 Đ Quach Xuan Ky; air-con rooms US$10-35) has several standards of room with varying prices. It’s a state-run monolith and is very grubby.

 Nhat Le Hotel(   822180; 16 Đ Quach Xuan Ky; rooms US$10-20) is the largest of the riverside hotels. It’s a grand location, and front rooms have balconies, but it’s state-run and run-down.

 There are plenty of other hotels and guesthouses along the waterfront, as well as along Hwy 1.

 Sao Mai Floating Restaurant offers good seafood at reasonable prices. Moored on the Nhat Le River, it makes for an atmospheric dining choice.

 For something a bit more casual, there is a cluster of good local restaurants near the market specializing in pancake-like ‘banh cuon’. Delicious! A good meal for two will cost around 30,000d.

 

Getting There & Away

Bus Dong Hoi is on Hwy 1 and serviced by regular bus traffic.

Train Dong Hoi is a stop for the Reunification Express train (see the Getting Around chapter).

 

Car & Motorbike Dong Hoi is about 166km from Hue, 94km from Dong Ha, 197km from Vinh and 489km from Hanoi.

Vietnam Guide Book

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