Saturday, 22 February 2014

PHONG NHA cont...
Pepperhouse Farmstay is more for those on a budget and is situated right in the thick of village living, but very quiet, surrounded by nature and rice paddies.  The perfect place to go if you like to lay undisturbed in a hammock and chill out or read a book. 

It is also not far from the famous ‘Pub with Cold Beer’ aka ‘The Chicken Lady’.  Don’t miss a trip out here, you can float on the river with tubes or just have a swim, when you’re done, relax at ‘the bar’ with some cold beers and great food.
At 'The Pub With Cold Beer' they have a few items to choose from including freshly picked and roasted peanuts but the place is famous for you being able to pick out a chicken and send it to it’s death.  

She will kill it right there and an hour later, time for a couple more cold beers, she will serve you up a delicious bbq chicken, with veges, rice and the most delicious fresh satay sauce you have ever eaten.  They also house one of the roughest pool tables you are likely to play on and her 2 young daughters, maybe 4 and 6, are hysterical to interact with.  Be sure to visit.
There are plenty more caves in the area to see, some requiring a 2 or 3 day trek into the jungle and camping out in them, but the almighty Son Doong requires a week long expedition costing $3000!  It is already sold out for this year and there are limited numbers that go every season. 

But fear not, if that isn’t in your budget there is plenty to see around the town itself, with the easily reached Paradise Cave being absolutely stunning.  There is a nice waterfall on the way and simply riding out there will have you taking in some of the most amazing scenery I have been lucky enough to ride through.
If you are doing Paradise Cave, once you exit, get back on your bike and onto the ‘bitumen’, keep going in the same direction, don’t head back the way you came in.  It will take you on a loop back to town and seriously almost the best little section I have ever ridden as far as scenery goes.  

There are small farming villages, rice paddies, a beautiful river of the most amazing blue colour on one side, towering limestone karsts surrounding you, local kids on bikes all waving and saying hello.
Then there is the Dark Cave which finds you swimming through the dark, sometimes muddy river into the cave to explore, you will just have to see for yourself.  Fancy a swim?  Head to Nuoc Mooc, a beautiful little oasis, a swimming hole on the river with that famous blue coloured water to cool off in, a series of paths and little bamboo bridges will lead you there.  

On the way there is a natural spring that feeds it, you wouldn’t even know it was there, but it is an underground wet cave that apparently leads all the way to Laos.  Don't miss Nuoc Mooc.
Most caving tours can be booked through Oxalis Adventure Tours, the leader in caving around Phong Nha