02.08.2018 – Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park day 2

Today was one of my favorite days of the entire trip so far.  Holy cow.  (yes, I posted this a month late, sorry)

We went on another tour, this time on a very adventurous 12k hike and much more intense cave exploration.  I skipped my regular camera altogether.  Thank goodness for waterproof phone cases and neckstraps.  🙂

Phong Nha-Ke Bang day 2-1

The hike involved us very quickly submitting to the fact that our shoes would be going through water and we’d be getting very muddy.  It was awesome.

It looks like I’m taking a video of the guy in front of me, haha, but I just wanted to capture how slippery it really was. I grabbed a big stick to help me along or else I’d have fallen!  Woo!

Phong Nha-Ke Bang day 2-2

Phong Nha-Ke Bang day 2-4

And into the cave we went!

Difficult to capture in the video, but we did some SERIOUS “scrambling,” aka climbing over and around the natural rock formations in the cave.  The very dark cave full of water and sharp rocks.  There’s a reason this tour was listed as “moderate to strenuous”!

So yes, it was kind of hairy (you know, slippery surfaces and dropoffs that would end you up with a broken limb or neck or some stunning gashes) and a LOT of fun. So worth it. Jennifer slipped a bit at one point and we all learned that she has some impressive upper body strength. Jennifer: “Don’t worry, I’ve got it!” British dude behind me: “Well it looked glorious from back here!”

I have wimpy noodle arms, and I had to cross the steep rock right after her, so I was slightly intimidated by her experience.  I basically surrendered and had our guide grab my hand and hoist me over it.  Heh.  But can I just say, Jennifer did the entire caving experience without help, while the rest of us needed some assistance at some point or another.  We were all quite impressed!

We went swimming in another cave and man was it beautiful.  We even shut off all our headlamps at one point and enjoyed the thrill of floating in water in a cave in complete darkness.  Spooky and exhilarating.  I didn’t take my phone on the swim but one of the girls had a GoPro and she got a great shot of all of us!


Phong Nha-Ke Bang day 2-3

Another meal like yesterday. Seriously so delicious. And we were really, really hungry by this point so we all ate a lot!

When we were all finished, we took the same hike back. Did I mention how many hills there were and how much climbing and sliding was involved?  It was SO MUCH FUN you guys!  Ahhh!

Phong Nha-Ke Bang day 2-6

Okay, so these guys are amazing. They carried ALL of the supplies on the entire hike (those bags weigh like 60 lbs) AND effortlessly helped us navigate through the cave – all the while filled with joy!  And this is their job.  Can you imagine?

What is so wonderful about these tour companies is that it gives locals a fun job doing something good for people rather than ending up poaching or without a job at all.  Our guide sincerely thanked us for supporting the company because of the people it helps, and I felt so good about the day.

The timing of things was simply superb, as we got to enjoy the sunset over the beautiful hills after the long and exhausting day.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang day 2-7Phong Nha-Ke Bang day 2-8

Not sure where the volume went in that video.  Oh well.  The view is the same. 🙂

What a great group of people, too, by the way.  (You may default to thinking they’re all American, but most of them were from all over Europe as well as Australia!)  Our guide was a TON of fun and clearly loves his job. (front row, second to the left.)  I’d have happily done this exact trek again.


So yeah, it was overall an incredible day for me. I’ve not felt so connected to the wild in a long time. Vietnam has some breathtaking nature, tough history, and beautiful people. I want to come back. 🙂

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