Dong Hoi

The bombed-out ruins of Tam Toa Church, on Dong Hoi's Nhat Le River

Dong Hoi is the capital city of Quang Binh Province in Central Coast of Vietnam. Dong Hoi on the Nhat Le River and by the South China Sea with its 12 km of white sandy beaches.


There is not much to do in Dong Hoi but stare at the water and drink beer with the locals, but there are nearby beaches and caves where many hotels and tour groups operate tours. There are few tourists in Dong Hoi, so you will be greeted with many hellos. Nhat Le Beach is nearby, but the focus of the town is very much on the river and canals.


Dong Hoi had been a small village before Vietnam was divided during the time of the Trinh-Nguyen War (1558–1775), after which Vietnam was divided into two countries: Dang Trong (south) and Dang Ngoai (north) with the Gianh River as the frontier. Dong Hoi was an important fortress of the southern Nguyễn Lords. The Đồng Hới Wall was considered the barrier which protected the Nguyễn Lords from the attack by northern Trịnh family. The site of Dong Hoi today is just south of this boundary.

During the Indochina War (between the French and the Viet Minh in 1950s, the Đồng Hới airbase was used by the French to attack both the Viet Minh in north-central Vietnam and the Laotian Pathet Lao Army in central and southern Laos. During the Vietnam War, Đồng Hới was heavily devastated by bombardments from US B-52s due to its location near the seventeenth parallel and the demilitarized zone between North and South Vietnam. The city was almost leveled and was rebuilt slowly after the war ended in 1975. The town was planned and rebuilt on a large scale especially after 1990 when it officially became the provincial capital.


 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) 22 23 25 29 32 34 34 33 31 28 25 23
Nightly lows (°C) 17 18 20 23 25 27 27 26 25 23 21 18

There are four distinct seasons in Đồng Hới. In the spring, it is cool, humid and foggy. The average annual temperature is 24.4°C, average rainfall varies from 1,300 to 4,000 mm, total sunshine hours per year is 1,786 hours, average annual moisture is around 84%. The city has a monsoon climate with three types of wind: southeast wind, southwest wind, and northeast wind.

It is rainy in the fall but the weather is comfortable with the temperature around 26 to 31°C. In the winter, due to the northeast wind blowing from the Chinese mainland, the temperature may go down below -18°C, and there may be slight rain. The highest precipitation gets highest level in August (118.4 mm), compared to just 38.9 mm in January. The best time to visit this city is from April to September when it's cool enough to go swimming.

Get in

By bus

From Hue, local buses take about 3–4 hours, and cost 80,000 dong (Mar 2012), departing from the Northern Bus Station. Tourist buses cost 4-5x the price: i.e., Sinh Cafe (400,000 dong), Mandarin Travels (300,000 dong).

Most buses will drop you off on Hung Vung, which is closer to town than the bus station. You can easily walk to a hotel from Hung Vung.

By train

The Reunification Express makes a stop in Dong Hoi. The train station is 3 km from the city centre.

By air

Dong Hoi Airport is 6 km north of Dong Hoi centre with flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Get around

By foot. However, motorbike drivers will hassle you like anywhere else in Vietnam. The bus station and train station are a little far away from town, so if you have any bags, you will be better off catching a ride into town.



Eastern Gate of Dong Hoi Citadel


Bao Ninh Beach

See also: Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site.





Stay Safe

Locals maintain that Dong Hoi is a major stop on the heroin smuggling trail: the drugs come in by boat and trickle along to Laos. Although you don't often see traces in the town itself, maybe the rare needle or cracked syringe - just keep an eye out.

Stay healthy

Go next

Buses to Hanoi cost around USD12–13.

Train connections are available northbound and southbound. For schedules see The Man in Seat 61. Tickets can be purchased at the train station--book a day ahead to make sure of a seat--or can be arranged through guesthouses with an additional processing fee.

[[Bus Schedule at Ben Xe bus staton as of 7th April 2014]]

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