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Phong Nha Farmstay
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Reviews (1,111)
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Reviewed June 10, 2013

Beautiful location, amazing place, great staff (especially Denise who took care of my whole stay). Well designed venue, good food (dinner menu changed daily), perfect location to watch sunset and explore countryside. Nice pool which was needed after days in hot sunshine.
Tours and car hire was a little expensive but definitely worth taking trips around. Paradise cave was beautiful. The pub with cold beer was great - the tube in the river was so much fun and fresh chicken delicious. Highly recommend staying here, they will arrange pick up from Dong Hoi and make sure you see as much as you want during your stay. Dorm room was very hot, probably better to stay in private room with air con.

Room Tip: Dorm rooms have no air con and shared bathrooms.
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank tara_trouble
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
benandbich, Owner at Phong Nha Farmstay, responded to this reviewResponded June 12, 2013

Thanks for taking the time to write the review and for coming to enjoy this unique area.
As you mentioned in your review it did get a little warm while you were here. Thankfully the temperature has gone down in recent days with a bit of overcast weather. All the Dorm beds have a fan but only the private rooms have AC. The Shade Cloth over the pool keeps the pool water's temperature down, and we have plenty of cold beer and Gin and Tonics, etc on Ice to watch the sunset with.
Thanks again, for coming and enjoying,
Ben and crew @ Farmstay

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Reviewed June 9, 2013

This is a great place because it is located in the middle of such a beautiful natural area. The owners provide a wonderful end-to-end service, making it possible for average tourists to experience some truly unique natural surroundings.

I agree with the other reviewers that you should book well in advance. It's easy and the owners/managers respnd quickly and articulately to emails with all kinds of questions. But you should be clear in your own mind about the type of lodging you'll be experiencing: this is not a hotel; it is a country inn, with rooms, dorms and a non air-con common area. Period. (The swimming pool is not really large enough to swim in, so don't be deceived by that.) The food is good, and reasonably priced, but the menu is not extensive (four or five dinner items every day.) The rooms are spartan to the point of having no counter space to lay your stuff down, and the shower is a nozzle next to the toilet, with no curtain or enclosure. That said, the hot water worked fine, and so did the air-con in the room. In sum, it is great for basic lodging, but not a luxury farmstay (I was spoiled by the last one I did, in New Zealand, which really was luxury.) So don't have illusions -- the owners try to be upfront in the info they send everyone who inquires about lodging and you should read that carefully.

Where the farmstay excels is in the tour experiences they offer. They do their best to provide some measure of quality control, in spite of various regulations aimed (perhaps rightly) at giving jobs as local tour guides to local people -- whose skills are frankly not always the best. Going with the farmstay's tours gives you some measure of assurance that you will actually get some English-language commentary and that things will not suddenly increase in price beyond the agreed amounts -- the farmstay people treat their guests fairly and honestly.

And the caves are fantastic! We stayed for 3 nights and did two long, dark, adventurous caving tours. They are expensive, but worth it. (And the cost keeps the numbers down.) It was really guided spelunking -- I never did anything like that before my six decades of life, and probably never will again......so I am incredibly grateful to the Farmstay people for making these wonders accessible to me. The long hike into the Paradise Cave (done with a group of only four tourists) was amazing. Like walking through a long chain of dark cathedrals, with hand-held lamps revealing elaborate stalactites instead of carvings of saints lining the walls. And then coming to an underground lake, where a rowboat ferries you across. (It felt like Charon and the River Styx.) The adventure culminated in a bit of a surprise location (which I won't reveal) but I would recommend this tour to anyone who has curiousity and a sense of wonder, is reasonably agile, and does not suffer from much claustrophobia (or fear of the dark!)

All in all, staying at the Farmstay for a few days, and taking a couple of cave tours, is a fantastic experience. Expect an adventure, not a cushy tourist experience, and you will be well satisfied with what you get.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank HK_Observer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2013

We had three nights at Phong Nha Farm Stay and would've loved to stay longer. Met lots of fellow travellers and had the best time just hanging out. Enjoyed our trip to Paradise Cave riding pillion on the back of motor cycles - the scenery was so lush and green - and the cave was gob smacking beautiful. A highlight was a trip with Ben to the Pub with Cold Beer in his jeep. It had rained heavily - the roads were potholed and full of water and we were glad we had decided not to bike or walk there. The chicken, morning glory and rice with peanut sauce were delicious. Say hi to those little girls Ben when you next go. If you get the chance, try the Noodle Shop on the main road for the best pho I have ever tasted. Ask at reception for directions.
We were amazed at the number of people who turned up without a reservation...obviously, the reputation of the Farm Stay is well known....but it's not as if it's just down the road from the Dong Hoi Railway Station so to avoid disappointment, BOOK!
Our thanks to Ben, Bich, Mike and Hannah and the rest of the staff for such a great time and a big hug for little Mike.

Room Tip: We had a double room on the second floor - we were very happy with it and loved the mosquito net.
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank bubble6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 3, 2013

We stayed here for a couple of days whilst we did the cave bike tour which was great. The enthusiasm of the staff was good and they were very helpful. Due to the popularity, you do need to book way in advance and it is a little expensive but is worth the trip. Soon I feel this area will be overrun with tourists so better to go sooner rather than later. We stayed in the dorm room with a fan which was exceptionally hot given the time of year.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Nick H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 3, 2013

My wife and I recently spent 5 nights at Phong Nha Farmstay and really enjoyed our time off the usual tourist route. Firstly if you are travelling up from Hue try and incorporate a visit to the DMZ via Vinh Muooc Tunnels as part of your transfer. There's some much to learn about the war and this great opportunity to be informed. As an older couple we stayed in a room upstairs and were very comfortable and enjoyed the view across the rice fields from the hammocks especially when there's a cool breeze. The tours were terrific and we thoroughly enjoyed the National Park & Boat & Bike Tours especially the swim in the Dark Cave, beer on the bridge at sunset, Paradise Cave and the awesome scenery. Staff were also friendly and knowledgeable always willing to help. Special thanks to Denise, Marty & Gina (Tours), Ben for passionate chats about the area, Tine for keeping an eye on our rickety bike skills and the locals (Hong, Lom & Sami?). Finally the farmstay is nice place to chill too after doing the tours and especially during the day when everyone is on the tours.

Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
3  Thank davidgb59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
benandbich, Owner at Phong Nha Farmstay, responded to this reviewResponded June 4, 2013

Hey Guys,
It was fun having you spend 5 nights at Phong Nha Farmstay and we are glad you really enjoyed your time here, "off the usual tourist route".

As you recommend, we agree that If you are travelling up from Hue try and incorporate a visit to the DMZ via Vinh Moc Tunnels as part of your transfer. Our Mini Van leaves Phong Nha to go to Hue via Vinh Moc Tunnels and the Ben Hai River Museum each day at 6:30am. It leaves the Phong Nha Farmstay and the Pepper House Homestay at 7am. The return trip if you are coming from Hue visting the tunnels and the museum is leaving the Hue Backpackers at 1pm in Pham Ngu Lao Street in Hue City. Cost is 500,000VND per person including tickets to the museum and the tunnels and a guided tour of the Vinh Moc tunnels.

Glad you enjoyed our organized trips to the park and relaxing at the farmstay. A lot of people forget to take a day to chill out when they are on holiday overseas. The pool and the hammocks are aimed at people who would like a day or half day of rest.
Ben @ Farmstay

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