Phong Nha Farmstay

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Although we absolutely loved Hanoi, we were ready to get off the beaten track a bit a check out something a bit more rural.  After a bit of internet research and a few emails, we discovered the Phong Nha Farmstay and it seemed perfect!  The owners Ben (Australian) and Bich (Vietnamese) built a beautiful French Colonial style Farmhouse in the middle of Bich’s family village which happens to be near a amazing variety of scenery and activities including Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, home of the largest cave in the world .

We got off the night train in Dong Hoi and where we met a taxi driver who took us the remaning 20 minutes to the actual farm.  We arrived during harvesting season so everywhere we looked people were hard at work bringing in the rice crop.  After dropping off our bags and settling in, we joined up with a small group of cool travellers, jumped on bicycles and rode through the village and farms to see a huge cave.  Along the way we passed a lot of water buffalo, villagers in cone hats working in the fields or drying rice in front of their houses and dozens of children waving and yelling “hello”.  It was downright bucolic.

Our group then rented a boat to get into the actual cave.  The area we were in was close to the border between North and South Vietnam during the war (DMZ) and the cave was used a big base for the North Vietnamese.  They stored supplies in the cave and then took the by boat to the highway at night where they would then sneak them into Laos via the Ho Chi Minh Highway.  There is an incredibly amount of history around the area but we heard one particularly fascinating story about Bich’s family:  The Americans had been trying to bomb the cave for a while to destroy the supplies, but because of it’s location at the end of a narrow river valley, they had so far been unsuccessful.  Many planes had got close but they were only able to hit the cliff wall near the cave.  Then in 2012, a US vet came to stay at the Farmstay.  He had been the pilot that was finally able to get through and successfully fire some missiles into the cave.  For the last several decades he had been thinking that he was hero and made a major contribution to the war effort by destroying the supplies.  It turns out though, that Bich’s mother (who also worked at the farmstay) was manning an anti-aircraft gun at the time.  She confirmed that although the missiles did go in the cave, they did almost no damage to anything or anyone.  It’s pretty amazing that they were able to sit together at the Farmstay and share these stories.

Anyway, the cave itself reminded us a bit of the Underground River in the Philippines except that this cave was bigger, the whole inside was lit up with multicolred rave lights (as per the Vietnamese custom) and there weren’t a million tourists here.  Then we hiked up the mountain to see another really cool cave.  By that point it was boiling hot outside and we all wanted to go back and swim, so we hiked back down to the bikes and rode back.  Unfortunately on the way back, a few of the children turned a bit nasty and threw rocks at a few of the bikes and tried to grab and block some of the others.  Apparantly it had become a bit of a problem recently and Bich was in the process of meeting with the village council to figure out a solution.  Back at the Farmstay, we cooled off in the pool, had a great dinner and drank some beers and Cuban rum that one of our friends, Jesus had brought with him

The next day we jumped on the back of some motorbikes and went to the nearby national park to see the enormous Paradise Cave.  The ride was incredible, going through green hills and winding jungle roads.  The sheer size of the cave was overwhelming.  You could fit a skyscraper inside.  It was of course also lit up like a rave.  We had a great walk around the cave and then went to a local swimming hole on the river.  We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with a bunch of locals and guests from the Farmstay, swimming around, staying cool and course drinking a few beers.  We had another great dinner at the Farmstay, the went to bed pretty early so that we could catch our 5:30am bus to Hue.

  • Farmer Girl in the Field in Vietnam
  • End of a Long Day Farming in Vietnam
  • Pig on Motorbike in Vietnam
  • Riding Back from Swimming Hole
  • Paradise Cave
  • And and Jesus Taking Pictures in the Field
  • Phng Nha Farmstay
  • Boy Leading Buffalo in Sunset
  • Buffalo in the Sunset
  • Farmer and Buffalo near Phong Nha Farmstay
  • Farmer and Buffalo near Phong Nha Farmstay
  • Resting After a Long Day in the Field
  • Buffalo  near Phong Nha
  • Sunset near Phong Nha
  • Collecting Rice on Bamboo Spears
  • River Bend Near Phong Nha
  • Multcolored Cave
  • River near Phong Nha
  • Riding Boat out of Phong Nha Cave
  • Phong Nha Cave
  • Phong Nha Cave
  • Phong Nha Cave
  • Adam in Phong Nha Cave
  • Shooting the Alien Heart from Contra
  • Phong Nha Cave
  • Man Swimming with Cow
  • Farming Machine Near Phong Nha
  • Farmers on the Road near Phong Nha
  • Girls Leading Livestock near Phong Nha Farmstay
  • Girl Farmer in Vietnam
  • Farmer near Phong Nha Farmstay
  • Paradise Cave
  • Paradise Cave
  • Swimming Hole near Phong Nha Farmstay
  • Taking a Break From the Ride to Watch the Sunset
  • Farmer on the Freeway in Vietnam

Posted: June 10, 2012

Author: Adam and Amanda

Category: Asia, Blog, Continents, Vietnam


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