After leaving Hoi An, we arrived in Hue a few hours later, a small city further up the coast of Vietnam. We managed to find a cheap place in the backpacker area to stay and dumped our bags for heading out for something to eat. We knew that we only had a few days here and wanted to make the most of it so we booked a motorbike tour with a recommendation from Ben and Lucy who did the same one about a month before us. However, this left us with one day and a decision to make. We could either go and see the DMZ (de-militarised zone) famous for the North/South division during the Vietnam war, or head to the national park at Bach Ma. We eventually opted for the National Park and I'm glad we did as we had a great time!
We ordered a taxi for the day and arrived at the entrance to the park about 10am. The entrance looked like we were about to head into Jurrasic Park and as we were heading up into the mountain, it really did feel as if we were in another world! The National Park is a jungle area on the mountain with a summit of 1300m. As we were climbing we were being submerged in thicker and thicker fog until we could only see 10m ahead of us. We were literally in a rain cloud! We trekked up to the summit to see the panoramic views which were unfortunately non-existent due to the weather, but there was so much to see on the way up including caves, tunnels and a variety of little critters! We went and grabbed some lunch which was a feast even though they didnt have menu. After our taxi driver had a huge argument with the waitor, we headed into the jungle along a trail path leading to a series of lagoons. I've never been in a jungle before and the terrain was amazing. We eventually made it to the lagoons which were stunning and we got some cool photos after clambering over the slippery rocks. The waterfalls were fantastic and the water was so clear! We carried along the path to reach a 300m waterfall which was so powerful! We stood at the top and looked into the white abyss as the water dropped an unimaginable height. The vietnamese sense of health and safety is literally a branch to hold onto while you look over the edge. We took some great photos and enjoyed the atmosphere before heading back to the taxi. By this point we were pretty tired of the wet weather accompanied by the many leeches wanting to suck our blood. It was only when we arrived back to the hotel an hour later that I found two leeched in my shoes who had been happily feasting on me all the way home! Luckily the locals came to my rescue and ripped them off for me!
After a tiring day at the park we had a nice dinner at a local cafe where the food was great before having a few drinks and heading home. We had an early start this morning at 8.30 with a motorbike tour of the city and the surroundings. It was a unique and interesting way to see the city and it was great to be so close to the lcoal life. We got to see the locals working in the paddy fields as we headed towards the first monastry where we got to sit in on buddhist monks chanting and meditating before a buddha. It was so surreal and out of the ordinary but it got me interested and I'm looking forward to learning more about buddhism. The people were so friendly and informative. We carried on a saw a number of temples and pagodas all of which were really cool, and it was great to have our guide to explain everything to us.
Have just had a drink in town and now waiting for our 12 hour sleeper bus up to the capital Hanoi...really hoping the beds are big enough for me or this could be a pretty uncomfortable ride! Hope you guys enjoy the photos and I'll update about Hanoi shortly.