Introducing Dong Hoi
Following the 1954 partition, Dong Hoi and its southern neighbour Dong Ha went from being at the centre of the country to frontier towns. Both suffered more than most during the American War – as the ruins and bomb craters throughout the area will attest. The fact that Dong Hoi has bounced back to become an attractive city while Dong Ha still retains a badlands feel surely owes a lot to being on the winning side.
It has a wonderful location with the Nhat Le River dividing the main part of the city from a beautiful sandy spit, with lengthy stretches of beach to the north and south of town. While most tourists head from Hanoi to Hué, Dong Hoi is the best spot to break up the journey. It’s also a much nicer base to explore the DMZ sites than Dong Ha – but it’s slightly further away, and being on the northern side you won’t find as many English-speaking drivers. From Dong Hoi you can easily make a day trip to the Phong Nha Cave.