Vietnam
Nam Long

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12 travelers at this place:

  • Day6

    Dong Hoi und die Höh(l)e

    November 6 in Vietnam

    6.11. Heute machten Thomas und ich gemeinsam einen Ausflug. Er führte uns in die nahen Berge. Dort war dichter, grüner Regenwald. Den leichten Regen hast du unter dem Blätterdach kaum gespürt.
    Im Nationalpark gab's Elektrocarts und einen schweißtreibenden Aufstieg.

    Dann gibt's in die Höhle. Es war angenehm temperiert. Nach ein paar Treppen hinunter sah ich sie. Vor mir lag eine riesige Tropfsteinhöhle. Wunderbare Ablagerungen mit unglaublich großen Stalagtiten und Stalagmiten. Wunderbar, schön und groß.

    Sie hatte nur einen kitzekleinen Nachteil. Die Größe hatte sie leider auch in der Höhe. 80 Meter hoch, Holztreppen und wir starten ganz oben. Das war nichts für mein Hirn. Der Magen flog virtuell schon mal voraus runter, Schweiß auf der Stirn. Der Höhle zuliebe ging ich schnurstracks wieder raus. Thomas machte sich völlig entspannt auf den weiteren Weg tiefer hinein. Eine knappe Stunde später lies ich mir erzählen lassen, was es weit unten zu sehen gab.

    Dann fuhren wir ein Stück zur Dark Cave. *Das* war meine Kragenweite. Anfahrt mit dem Boot und die Höhle innen von unten betrachten können. Yeah!

    Dong Hoi an diesem Abend hatte den Charme von Lignano in den 70ern in der Nachsaison. So wirken die Hotels und auf der Straße ist es derart ruhig, dass du jederzeit gefahrlos die Straße queren kannst.

    7.11. Auf dem Weg nach Hue besuche ich Plätze, welche die traurige Vergangenheit dieses Landes dokumentierten. Dabei habe ich das Tunnelsystem in Vinh Moc besucht. Es ist beeindruckend welche Leistung hier erbracht wurde. Diese Tunnel hier waren hauptsächlich um Schutz der zivilen Bevölkerung vor Bombardements entstanden und für ein längeres Leben unter Tage eingerichtet. Die Länge und Features waren wirklich beachtlich. Die Tunnelhöhe war ca. 1,60. Deshalb war es auch für mich möglich mich halbwegs sinnvoll zu bewegen.

    Später in Hue angenommen warten nach einem heißen Tag Sabine, Thomas, das Spa.
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  • Day107

    Dong hoi

    November 14, 2016 in Vietnam

    Having had a week in the countryside it was great to see civilisation and dare I say it, western food! Burger and chips for lunch followed by pizza and spaghetti Bol. A little treat to ourselves. The beach was beaut but unfortunately the water was too dirty to swim in.

  • Day44

    Exploring Phong Nha

    October 26, 2016 in Vietnam

    This morning started at the very reasonable time of 6:00. We were getting picked up by the tour bus at 7:45, so need to get ourselves in order before then. As we sat in the lobby of the hotel, we waited in the presence of the T&T FC team, who were similarly waiting for a bus to come to pick them up.

    Having been picked up by our tour bus, we headed out of Dong Hoi towards Phong Nha Village, about 45 minutes. As we drove through Dong Hoi, we rolled past a small army of men running with AK 47s dangled over their shoulders. Enquirying as why there would be a large number of men in civilian clothing, running through the middle of town with guns on, we were realiably informed that there is a large army garrison in town, and the men running through town, were in fact the soldier completing their morning PT. The heat and humidity were already pretty stifling, despite the fact it wasn't even 0800, so these guys running, at a decent pace, were probably not the sort of people you wanted to meet in dark alley.

    Clearing the outskirts of Dong Hoi, we continued into the countryside, through paddy fields, plantations, and water buffalo making their way to their local field for a bit of munch. The scenery changed around us we drove, turning from flat coastal plain, to undulating hills, to the towering limestone escarpments of the Phong Nha National Park. Arriving at Phong Nha village, it was time to pick up some more people, to fill out the bus, that until that point, included just the tour guide, driver, and the two of us. This was slightly problematic for some reason, but after 15 minutes, the van was loaded, and it was time to head deep into the natural park, to explore its beauty.

    Our first stop on the trip, was the Eight Ladies Cave, so called because of the eight ladies that took shelter there during the Vietnam War when the road the cave is next to, formed part of the great logistical effort that was the Ho Chi Minh Trail. As the road was bombed, the unlucky eight sheltered in the cave, only to be sealed inside what would become their tomb, when a bomb hit the entrance to the cave and collapsed. Those inside survived for days before finally succumbing to their fate. A pretty horrible way to go. Their bodies were only recovered in 1996, and now a temple exists to honour their memory.

    The next stop on the tour was the Paradise Cave. According to the marketing, this is "probably" the third largest cave in the world, and it was only discovered in the past twenty years. So if you want to become an adventurer, and accomplish something no one else has, perhaps consider a spelunking holiday to Vietnam, to search for the entrance of another cave.

    Arriving at the car park, we took to some golf carts, to take us a bit closer to the cave entrance. There was still a 500m walk to go however, up the worlds slipperiest, mossy concrete path imaginable. Despite our investment in sensible walking shoes, we both came close to hitting the deck on multiple occasions. And further along the trail, we ran into obstactles of the human kind, that took a special liking to Courtney. A group of Vietnamese ladies was making the trek to Paradise Cave too, and took it upon themselves to variously help Courtney by pushing her in the back, up the hill, and then grabbing hold of the back of Courtney's top, to be jokingly pulled up the mountain. Without the ability to communicate, it was all a bit surreal, and a bit weird. We would spend the next hour or so, trying to avoid this same group of Vietnamese ladies with Courtney hiding in between the three of us whenever they came near, and fortunately, they were able to find some other victims, as time passed.

    Paradise Cave is incredibly large once you get inside through the comparatively tiny 2m by 2m entrance. The main chamber is 1km long, about 50m tall, and maybe 50-100m wide. This was a far more specatular cave than Surprise Cave that we saw in Ha Long Bay. It also provided the opportunity to talk rugby with Will, an English guy on the tour, something that had been lacking from our lives in the previous few weeks. Will's travelling companion, Anja was unimpressed with the turn of the conversation to sports, given the beauty of our surroundings, and made sure the conversation turned to a more inclusive topic, which is fair enough I suppose.

    After Paradise Cave, it was time for some lunch before heading into our second cave, the Dark Cave. Lunch was pretty damn delicious, for meat-eaters and vegetarians, and consisted of sharing plates, with ingredients used to construct fresh spring rolls. The quality of the meat was a bit dicey, but it was well cooked, so hopefully, safe enough to eat. No one keeled over in pain later in the day, so it must have been fine.

    Following our hearty lunch, it was time to zip-line across a river to the Dark Cave entrance. This was slightly scary, given the height of the zip-line, but we both made it across the river, only to have to jump into the water immediately to get into the cave. Climbing and crawling your way through a cave system barefoot, with just a helmet and lamp for protection might seem a bit relaxed, but there was method to the madness. You see, the Dark Cave contains within it, a supposedly therapeutic mud, that washes in with the rainy season each year, and to take full advantage of that mud, you can't be wearing that much.

    Crawling, sliding and falling through various side passages, we eventually ended up at a mud bath, which was a rather strange experience. It was liquid, like water, but was so dense that you couldn't sink in it. In fact, if you tried to get your shoulders under the water, you needed the weight of multiple people pushing down on you, because of your positive buoyancy. It would be the ideal place to learn to swim, as the chance of your head finding its way underwater is slim to none. Aside from the physical properties of the medium we found ourselves in, it was could fun to wallow in the mud, like Farmer Brown's prize pigs. A group of 15-20 people, of all ages, reverted to a child-like state for 15-20 minutes, giggling and laughing like school kids.

    Dragging ourselves out the mud, we made our way back to the cave entrance through as much water as we could find to clean ourselves off. Despite our best efforts, we'll be finding mud in the shower, for the next few days, I am sure. We then kayaked back across the river, to the showers, the bus, and civilisation. After some further attempts to clean off the muc, we repaired to some benches to indulge in some rum and coke, as well as conversation with the rest of the tour group.

    And then it was time to head back to the hotel. On the way, we passed over a bridge that had become a makeshift car park for what seemed like 100s of scooters. As it turned out, the group were searching for an 11 year old child that had gone missing from near the bridge. All they found was the school bag, and the assumption was that the child had been swept away by flooding in the area a few days before. Sadly, they were looking for the body.

    Having been reminded of the fragility of life, we arrived back in Phong Nha Village, to offload some of the people on the tour, including Will and Anja. They are travelling to Hue tomorrow, the same as us, so we'll try and catch up with them, once we get there.

    Arriving back at the hotel, we made yet another attempt to clean all the mud off ourselves in the shower. Judging by the state of the shower afterwards, we hadn't done a very good job earlier in the day. And then it was time to get some dinner.

    After the episode with the chicken's head last night, and the very western menu offered in the hotel, we ventured out, into the great wide yonder of Dong Hoi. Unfortunately, I think that in the high season, our hotel is very much a resort hotel, being across the road from the beach. All the other hotels in the area are similar, and so, there aren't too many restaurants to choose from. But after a bit of searching, we did find somewhere to eat, and both had a very nice vegetarian bun, and a couple of drinks. Pudding consisted of a couple of ice Vietnamese coffees.

    And that was the day over.
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  • Day290

    Phong Nha Ke Bang Nationalpark

    August 20, 2015 in Vietnam

    Leider haben uns der Regen und Magen-Unstimmigkeiten einen Strich durch die Rechnung gemacht, so dass wir nicht viel von dem Nationalpark mitbekommen haben.

    Deshalb an dieser Stelle ein paar Impressionen von unserer Anreise - mit dem Nachtbus - und Abreise - mit dem Zug...

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