Misha was in town so we had breakfast together and took a trip with the motorbike. First stop was the city dump. They dig big holes – fill it with trash and that is it.
After that we drove towards the caves and the Ho Chi Minh Highway. On the way we passed a gate. The place looked like an abandoned construction site. But the gate was open so we drove inside. After a few seconds we saw a building that was not even half-finished. We parked the bike and a guard stepped out of the front door. He waved us to come over and that is what we did. He did not speak English and we do not speak Vietnamese but with smiles and hands everything works.
He invited us for some tea and we followed him inside.
Smoking a Thuốc Lào Pipe
How to spot a tourist place in North Vietnam? They will not have a Thuốc Lào Pipe or Bamboo Pipe standing in the place. Smaller places usually have a table and some chairs in front of it. On the table you find a teapot, tiny tea cups, a tin can with tobacco and a lighter. On the floor a bucket with a Thuốc Lào Pipe in it. People that pass can sit down and take a cup of tea and a hit from the pipe. When I had breakfast in Ninh Bin the table in front of the noodle shop was never empty. Customers that finished the meal did smoke to “aid digestion”. Friends that passed stopped for a cup and a smoke to chat for a few minutes.
In bigger places the pipe and tobacco is always in use somewhere. Just go and grab it if you feel like it.
The lower part of the pipe is closed and contains the water. Right above it is a little hole with a small stem. Here you put the special high nicotine tobacco. Light it and suck the smoke.
The best part: It is always free to smoke!
The guard had some tobacco with his tea
Misha had some but I do not smoke so I passed.
After a while we thanked the man for his hospitality and wanted to go. He told us something and gestured toward the right of the building. Sure enough we did not understand so he waved us to follow him. After two minutes we arrived at the “American War Disney World” of Phong Nha. Looks like somebody wanted to build a theme park and run out of money.
Not sure what this is. Could be that they throw barrels in the river upstream and fished them out downstream. With all the rocks in the river them must have lost a lot of them.
That is easy to figure out
Some guys with some pipes
After that we thanked the man again and I drove Misha up to the Ho Chi Minh Higway – so he could see some unspoiled forest for once on his trip.
We had to go a lot further – as you can see – Bananas – everywhere – covered in some leaves.
After that the man wanted to go up to a minority village – and so we did.
We made it to the 8 Lady cave and the Memorial for the volunteers who sacrificed themselves to maintain the Victory Road 20 during the war. Now it was late afternoon and he had a bus in the evening. No time for more biking. We turned back toward Phong Nha.
A quick stop for a swim
The river towards Phong Nha – magic!
Church in xóm Chày
Everybody is out there and helps
New tech vs old tech
Further down the Road: A Chinese Graveyard
They blocked the entrance but the cow made it in – now she can not get out anymore
Had to send Misha to open the gate
Church on the opposite side of the graveyard
Chinese roof for Maria
With time running out we had to drive back to Phong Nha. Misha had to pack and wanted some food before the bus.
Trang at Lemmon Tree Spa – the best thing in Phong Nha!
Had lunch with this two guys 2 days ago on the road. I left before them. On the way in they hit an obstacle on the road. Meet Brandon and Daniel after the crash. I needed my chain fastened and they needed a lot more.
Mountain View Hotel in Phong Nha
My room at the Mountain View Hotel in Phong Nha was 8 US $ a night. It comes with 2 beds, Air-con, fan, TV, WiFi and a private bath room with hot shower. In the morning you get breakfast which is also included in the 8 US $. They have balconies toward the front and back of the hotel. Try to get the room on the top floor – the view is better.
Motorbike parking is in front of the hotel under a roof – so it is dry when it rains.
Here is the hotel link on booking.com
Room at the Mountain View Hotel in Phong Nha
Do you want to stay up to date and not miss a post?
Subscribe to the blog on the top right or all the way down on this page!
Support my blog -> Book your room here: