Hey everyone! So last I left off I was on the sleeper bus to Phong Nha. When I finally arrived it was 10:30pm so I pretty much just checked into the hostel and went to sleep. The next morning I had to get up early for a two day over night caving expedition. While this tour was a bit pricey it was completely worth it. There were 8 of us doing this tour which trekked through rivers, the jungle and of course caves. The first day of the tour we first walked alongside cow fields until we got to a river, which we then had to cross. The water went up pretty high, my legs were almost completely under water. After that we had to trek up the “baby hill”, and then trek through the jungle until we reached the ton cave where we stopped for lunch.
After lunch we continued through the jungle and up “momma hill” until we reached the campsite. The campsite was right next to a small waterfall and the opening to ken cave. Everything was totally set up for us once we got there, which was pretty cool, though it made it more like glamping instead of proper camping. After some tea, we hopped in boats and went to explore the ken cave. Caving was super cool. We had to climb over rocks and got to see all the interesting cave formations like the stalactites and stalagmites. There was also a point where our tour guide had us turn off our headlamps so we could really see how dark it was, which was completely dark.
After the cave we had a chance to go swimming and then had a huge feast for dinner. We ended the night around the campfire, unfortunately they didn’t have any s’mores. That night I got the best night’s sleep since I started traveling and we started the next morning with breakfast at the campsite. After breakfast we packed up our things and then explored 3 different caves, Tu Lan cave, Kim cave and Ton cave, which we exited through the place we had stopped for lunch on the first day. After we finished our caving and trekking adventure we were treated to hot showers, though mine was luke warm at best, and a pho lunch with cold beer, which would’ve been great besides the fact that they put coriander (cilantro) in it. For those who don’t know I have a gene that makes coriander taste like soap.
After the meal the company (oxalis in case anyone is interested in doing a caving tour like this) took us back to Phong Nha, where I was able to hang out for a few hours before my overnight bus to Hanoi. The overnight bus was definitely an experience. They accidentally overbooked the bus so a girl had to sleep on a cushion on the floor. I slept a bit, but it was definitely not a good sleep. I arrived in Hanoi at 6am, got to my hostel and took a short nap.
I then decided not to waste the day and to explore Hanoi. I started off by walking around the lake the the old quarter. Walking around the city you can see a lot of the French influence, which is pretty cool. Later in the afternoon I decided to check out the Vietnamese women’s museum, which talks about women throughout vietnam’s history. It was really interesting to learn that while Vietnamese women have always held the traditional role of running the home, they also work and have been a major part of the wars here. After the museum I was pretty tired so I took it easy the rest of the day. I walked by the opera house, got my nails done, grabbed dinner and then went to sleep.