Phong Nha Farmstay Day 1 (03.07.2012): Wow this place is incredible and more than worth the horrendous journey we endured to get here. We left my very own Jade Hotel at 9:30 and headed for the bus station to get a local bus to Phong Nha Farmstay. The bus is the only bus of the day. It was supposed to leave at 10:30 but left an hour later for no apparent reason. It was a 24 seater red minibus which was packed to the max. No air-con, the door was open most of the journey and of course we got charged three times the price of the locals. I am not a fan of this one charge for 'locals' and one for 'foreigners' aka westerners. It seems entirely racist.
There were 5 travellers on the bus including us. Sadly the others got ripped off and the bus driver would not give then any change. The locals all found it hilarious. It's such a shame that this beautiful country has become tainted from us by the sheer amount of people who make it their purpose to scam us. It is not anything we have encountered so far on our travels and is really disheartening.
After 5 hours on the horrible squishy bus we arrived at the Farmstay very glad to leave the sniggering locals behind. The Farmstay is truly out of this world. It is of course surrounded by farms, rice paddies, fields, mountains, culture.. Also the locals here have restored my faith in the people of Vietnam. They are lovely and very friendly. Perhaps, I hope, the scammers are confined to the cities.
We literally dropped our bags off and were asked by the owner if we wished to join a bike ride. We are getting used to this cycling lark now. We anticipated a short bike ride to get us acquainted with the area. No - it was a very long bike ride through lots of fields, mud tracks and even through a river. Exhausting and particularly difficult with no gears and street tyres but oh so much fun! The areas we cycled through and the views were amazing. I have never see anything like it.
We have a room on the second (top) floor of the Farmstay. There's a veranda to the front and back with a hammock out the front which I have already sampled. There's also a pool and lots of cute puppies running around. The feel is so relaxed. We are considering extending our stay.
Tomorrow we head our on a tour of Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park including a tour of Paradise Cave. Can't wait!