Tuesday, Feb. 2nd (Phong Nha Day 3)

  • Took an early morning swim in the hostel’s pool then warmed up by the fire with a big cup of instant Western coffee.
  • Cory came down for breakfast shortly after and we rounded up a group for a tour to Phong Nha and Thien Son caves.
  • The tour started with an hour long boat ride down the Song Con river past mountains, churches, and rice fields, right into the mouth of Phong Nha cave.
  • Phong Nha cave has historical importance as a shelter for the Vietcong during the Vietnam war. In addition to housing troops, it was used to cover a pontoon bridge that made it possible for artillery to cross the river at night.
  • Besides being a historical landmark the cave is absolutely stunning.  
  • The tour continued by boat into the depths of the various caverns before dropping us off on a sand bank to explore by foot.
  • We followed the path through the rest of Phong Nha cave then exited out a side entrance and began the 400 stair climb to the entrance of Thien Son cave.
  • Thien Son was smaller but no less impressive. The plankwood path took us past many unique rock formations before looping back to the entrance.
  • An hour boat ride and short walk later and we were back at Easy Tiger hostel.
  • Next we hopped on our motorbikes and headed West to Mountain River Cafe which apparently has the best coffee in the area. It was good, but that may have been more due to the triple blend of chocolate and sweet condensed milk rather than the quality of the coffee.
  • Returned to the hostel and dropped our motorbikes off at the mechanic to get them ready for the road. We are leaving tomorrow morning for Con Cuong.
  • The tread on Cory’s rear tire was worn completely flat so we had them replace it for 300K VND ($13.50). We also changed the oil on both bikes for 80K VND each ($3.60) and had our signal lights glued back into place for 20K VND each (90 cents). For good measure we had the chains tightened and oiled, the brakes tightened, and the tire pressure adjusted, though this was done at no cost. Total cost: 500K VND ($22.50).
  • Went to Bamboo Cafe for one last delicious dinner then spent the rest of the night hanging out by the fire, writing, and reading.

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