Dong Hoi is a pleasantly untouristed port and seaside town. It enjoys an attractive location, clinging to the banks of the Nhat Le River, and has beaches to the north and south. Recently established air links to Haiphong (for Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island) and the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai promise to significantly increase the city's appeal as a destination. Dong Hoi also has excellent transport links to the Phong Nha region.

Easing off the travel accelerator and spending a couple of laid-back days here at good oceanfront accommodation is recommended before or after visiting the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

As the main staging area for the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), Dong Hoi suffered more than most during the American War, but the town has since recovered as a bustling provincial capital.