Phong Nha National Park and Hue
The city of Hue was once ruled by emperors of the Nguyen dynasty in the early eighteenth century. As such it has all the pretty remnants you’d expect of a once ancient capital: citadels, palaces, tombs, pagodas, gates, temples - it’s all here. It’s a lovely thing to take in all this history, although to be honest after endless hours of sightseeing I was more looking forward to the wonderfully scenic motorbike rides between the attractions than the attractions themselves. I sure do like me a motorbike ride.
From Hue I left to explore the caves of Phong Nha Naitonal Park . This park is home to the largest known cave systems in the world (I really had no idea that Vietnam was such a ‘caving’ destination…) which can be explored on foot or more interestingly by taking a boat into a cave formed over rivers. Very neat stuff. This was my first pseudo attempt at an off-the-beaten-path adventure in Vietnam. I joined a small group of people renting motorbikes to look for one of the larger caves in the area. After a few head scratches at some dusty intersections and a short hike we found what we were looking for: impossible alien underground landscapes for us to investigate. Well, us and the crowds of tourists that were deposited by the small parking lot full of tour busses. Ah well, I tried.