Phong Nha CavesJuly 6, 2019 in Vietnam ⋅ ☁️ 31 °C
Another day, another day trip! This time we were heading for Phong Nha Caves, about 4 hours to the northwest of Hue. Only recently fully explored, it contains the largest single cave in the world along with one of the world's longest underground rivers - though neither of these are accessible to the general public.
The ride out was long and not that comfortable since the seats on the minibus were Vietnamese sized. No room to recline seats, too narrow, and we were sitting behind the rear axle so every bump meant we flew into the air. But we just grinned and bore it.
Had the very unpleasant experience too of seeing a truck, similar to the chicken-carrying trucks you see in Australia. Except inside of chickens, it was loaded with dogs - poor little guys were packed super-tightly into cages and baking in the sun, though admittedly they didn't look in much discomfort. Our guide said they were just being moved to a different province because they were probably nuisance dogs and attacked people's chooks etc, but that sounded a lot like the "Rover is going to live on a farm upstate where we can't visit" line. The worst part was that the truck was going about the same speed as our bus, so we kept passing each other - close to a dozen times before we turned off the highway.
In the end the cave was definitely worth it! We rode smallish boats (about 12 seaters) into the cave along the underground river, and there was heaps of stuff to see. Lots of stalagtites and mites, big jellyfish calcium carbonate formations and the like. All quite cool, though there were way too many boats for the river and we kept scraping the sides which horrified me.
Got off the boat a few hundred metres into the cave and then walked back out to get better pictures on the way which was quite nice. And then after only about 2 hours at the site it was time to head back to Hue.
The trip back was even worse, since although the bus was full both directions, going there we had a family of Belgians with mostly young kids. On the trip back, the young kids were replaced by backpackers who could barely squeeze into the seats and looked supremely uncomfortable. The air-con wasn't much good either, so we all kind of baked in the heat.
But we survived, and ended up back in Hue at about 8pm, after an 11-hour return journey! Grabbed burgers from a little shack as a nice change from Vietnamese food before heading to bed.Read more