Phong Nha Farmstay Day 2 (04.07.2012): Again, I have to say - what a day! Today we went on a trip to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park (a Unesco World Heritage Site). We set off at 9 and headed first of all to a temple to make an incense offering and to a mural to 8 people who died trapped a cave following bombing during the Vietnam War. The day was to get so much better! The drive took us through some amazing scenery along with a trip along Ho Chi Minh trail - the war road.
Next we headed to Thien Duong (Paradise) Cave, the World's largest cave. The cave was only opened to the public last year. It extends for 31km. The sheer scale of the cave is breath taking.. and this is coming from someone who is not obsessed with rocks like Adam. It is impossible to convey its size on photos. The cave is surrounded by dense forest (containing 12 species of primates) and karst peaks. It is so beautiful, Adam was in his element.
After riding golf buggies back down from the cave we headed for lunch before hitting a natural pool for a swim. Next we swam down a pretty big river which was fun if a little scary - like white water rafting without a raft. After a little trek through the jungle we grabbed kayaks and headed for another cave (I have forgotten the name). We ditched the kayaks at the entrance to the cave, turned on our flash lights and headed in. We could only walk the first few metres or so until we had to swim. The cave got tighter the further we went. We had to swim under a rock before we got to a cavern where we stopped for a while and turned off our lights, enjoying the complete darkness.
After swimming back out of the cave we couldn't find our kayak so grabbed a dingy back to the shore where we enjoyed a wee beverage before heading back to the farmstay at 17:00 - jumping straight in the pool.
It was the owner's birthday today and they put on a BBQ with free drinks for 1 hour - we made the most of it and lined them up.
We have met so many nice people here. It is a truly incredible place to stay with an amazing vibe. We stayed up till pretty late chatting with some of the other travellers and playing pool. We have planned a trip with some of the others to Phong Nha Cave tomorrow.. another early start on little sleep!