09.02.2017 - 09.02.2017 18 °C
We were picked up this morning by a taxi, although he didn't know where to take us and spoke no English. So after a couple of phone calls to the travel agent who arranged our bus ride, we got dropped off at a different travel agency to wait for the bus. While we waited, we were sold on the idea of doing the Phong Nha cave tour with the group on the bus, instead of just riding the bus and then arranging a tour after we got there. So after a four hour bus ride, part of which was thru huge sand dunes, we arrived in Son Trach and dropped off the people who were only taking the bus, Then we were taken to a restaurant where lunch was ready for us. Our group went down to the river and got in a boat with our guide. It took about 1/2 hour to travel up the river to the cave. It was a cold, rainy, windy day and wasn't really pleasant on the boat (although Don points our that we actually didn't get rained on, but everything was wet from the rain). But the cave was well worth it. It is huge, 7 km long, (we only saw about the first 1 km) with lovely rock formations all along. It is very well lit so the formations show up well. Words just don't do it justice and neither do the pictures, but I'll post a few and a short video Don took of part of the trip. After we went thru the cave to the turning around point and headed back out, they stop and let us out for a short walk back to the entrance. So this is the chance for everyone to take their pictures with some lovely formations.
Then we had to wait for the bus for quite a long time. It had taken part of the group to do the Dark Cave experience, where they zip line into the water and swim into the cave with headlights on to light their way. Not my cup of tea, but when the bus finally came the people said they had enjoyed it very much. We were taken into town and dropped off with our luggage just a short way down the street from our homestay. In this case, the homestay is more hostel than homestay. Pretty bare bones basic, but I guess we will manage for a few days. After settling in, we went out for supper at an Indian restaurant, Nameste. It was a good meal but more expensive than our usual.
After making our plan for tomorrow to visit the Paradise Cave, we retired for the night.