Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Dong Hoi and the Phong Nha cave

Our first ride on the sleeping train was ok... it was quite loud and not really late enough to get proper sleep. We checked into Nam Long hotel (absolutely advisable!) and wandered around to get some food... not easy as the town is kinda totally to sleep at midnight :/ We found a local street restaurant tho, where the people were utterly happy to house us as guests... a noodlesoup and beer later we were on pictures with them^^
We met a friendly Dutch guy who advised us to rent some motorbikes to visit Phong Nha paradise cave. And indeed it was way cheaper and a lot more fun than booking a tour :D The next morning (25.03.) we got a map, filled our tanks at the gas station and got some extra fuel in bottles following the Dutch's advice - and we needed it^^ 60 km and a lot of fun later we passed the police security without paying entrance and then climbed the way up towards paradise cave. The most amazing cave I have seen to date! absolutely huge and stunning... on the way out we met the 2 Italian girls we shared our room with... they obviously decided a little later to take the same route^^
On our way back we stopped for lunch at some local restaurant... they made us local fish - causing most of us diarrhea^^ However, the locals enjoyed having us there :) Going around the villages on motorbikes is hell lot of fun and not to miss!
On the way back Flo and I went to explore Dong Hoi on our bikes a bit and enjoyed the sunset of the river. Unfortunately, Flo's motorbike went out of fuel, so I went to get him some new... afterwards we found out that the fuel was ok but the spark plugs of his bike were defect :P
True freedom riding your bikes through these gorgeous mountains
our skinheads on their bike - poor engine :P
stunning paradise cave - massive!

the gang as explorers of the cave

natural beauty in this region
waiting for the fish soup and the following diarrhea^^
sunset over Dong Hoi's river...
all the fisher boats anchored.
Back at our hotel we emptied plenty beer, went for dinner with our Dutch friend and emptied even more beer... we got to know that the Dutch's girlfriend separated from him which is why he went on a several months travel. He started in Vietnam and stuck here quickly... after several days in Hanoi he arrived relaxed Dong Hoi, received a job in the language center and stayed there for 3 weeks already :D After all the beer we were ready to go with the next sleeping train towards Ninh Binh - at least we hoped so^^ The train surprised us as the dirtiest place I slept in during all my SOA travels (and I slept in quite some filthy places :/). We saw cockroaches climbing around. The blankets were dirty and the pillows stank... another sleepless night - Yay! ^^ It caused us some terrible laughing flashes though^^
Tobias hunting cockroaches in our train cabin :D

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