After 10 hours on the train from Hanoi, we made it to the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park!
We’re staying in this tiny rural town, sharing the sidewalk with cows and puppies (of course) and are surrounded by these beautiful mountains.
After drinking a few too many cocktails last night at the Easy Tiger, the sleazy tiger bucket is not recommended, we woke up a bit early and headed to Paradise Cave.
The cave is huge! Luray Caverns can take a seat because this shit was on point.
Then things got a little weird…
We decided to go to the Dark Cave where you slide and swim around in the mud while exploring the cave for like an hour.
1. I think the mud was actually bat poop.
2. MB and I have booty burn from sliding down the mud slides. Rock warning!
3. We reached the end of the cave and couldn’t find a way out. The guides disappeared and the 20 tourists had to figure out how to get the f out of mud hell.
Cool note: We floated in the mud water, like Dead Sea floated. I’m not sure if that’s one of the effects of bat shit, but I’ll take it.
We also weren’t able to take our cameras into that cave, so I just took a photo of the advertisement… Slightly misleading.
If it doesn’t rain tomorrow, we are going to take a boat into another cave that’s supposed to be pretty awesome.
OMG, I was on a boat from 8a-2p today and did not throw up! IT’S A MIRACLE! I’m going to give a big shout to this Reliefband that made this trip so much more amazing, and a shout out to my mom who found it on amazon 🙂 http://www.amazon.com/NEW-Reliefband-Motion-Morning-Sickness/dp/B00PG4NUOS The last two days have been so fun! Yesterday we rented motorbikes and explored Cat Ba island. We did this intense hike through Cat Ba National Park that was pretty cool.
Today we split up, because I wasn’t sure if I could handle a whole day boat tour, and went cruising around the bay. G and I stopped to bicycle around this small fishing town, while MB and Walt kayaked caves and hiked on Monkey Island. They won, but we still had fun.
Tomorrow we’re heading back to Hanoi for the night to experience the fantabulous brunch at the hotel one more time. Mango juice and passion fruit please!
In case you didn’t pick up on it already, Hanoi is pretty cool. On our last full day in town, we walked around, did a little shopping, almost got hit by like 25 motorbikes, had some amazing food, and watched this weird water puppet show. Oh, and drank a shit ton of coffee. The coffee is so good, I need to figure out how to make it when we go back to the states. I hope our subleters break our coffee maker so I don’t even have to look at it when we get back.
So… The traffic is nuts. The saying is “green light-go, yellow light-go, red light- you still go.” So we played frogger a lot and survived. It was an adventure.
A friend recommended this bomb ass place to eat near the lake and we had the best noodles on the trip so far. The place is called Bun Bo Nam Bo, they only serve Bun Bo Hue which is this noodle pork nut dish. I want it everyday. It’s so good!
We ended our time in Hanoi with a classic water puppet show. It’s puppets dancing around in water to traditional music. Totally glad we did it, probably could have handled it being like 30 minutes instead of an hour. I mean… How long can you really watch puppets trying to catch puppet fish without falling asleep?
Today we woke up early and took a bus, to a bus, to a ferry, to another bus, and finally made it to downtown Cat Ba Island on Halong Bay. Today we chilled, tomorrow and the next are going to get crazy! Think junk boats, kayaks, motorbikes, caves, and massages mixed together. We can’t wait!
Hanoi is awesome!!! It’s like 80 degrees, the people are so nice, and the coffee and pho are on point! Also, we got a surprise hotel upgrade… So now we’re staying at this brand new 4 star hotel for $19 a night. Whaaaaat.
Also MB and Walt are here! Supes fun. Walt already found the crossfit gym, surprise?
Yesterday we chilled and George got a haircut on the street for $2. Today we explored, had pho twice, went to this temple on a lake, and got really weird at a techno bar.
OH, and we started the day with hour long massages for $15. We win! Tomorrow we are going to do more of the same. Maybe some shopping and the Ho Chi Min Museum/pagoda/ thing then head to Ha Long Bay on Sunday.
Fun note: Vietnam banned WordPress and Blogspot in January, I’m not sure why. So this took me a while to post because I had to find some hack. If this backfires and I get banned again OR get thrown in blogging prison, I hope you enjoy these photos.
Alas, our time in Sri Lanka is coming to an end 😦 We had a great time, but we’re definitely ready to leave the beach and head to Vietnam to meet up with Swole and MaryBeth! Let the games begin…
To summarize our time here in Sri Lanka, I would say that it was refreshing. We were thrown out of our comfort zone for two weeks and we survived!
It also made us that more thankful for what we have. Now I’m thankful for stop signs and traffic lights, neutered dogs, air conditioning, the snack car on Amtrak (I tried a piece of fruit on the train, and I paid for it…), and flushing toilet paper.
Actually, I think you can flush the toilet paper here, but we thought they had the same rules as Thailand and discovered that they weren’t the same like yesterday… Whoops!
Our flight leaves tonight/morning at 1am, and we arrive in Hanoi at 9:30am. George can’t wait to whip out his skateboard and I can’t wait to replace all of my white clothes.
While Sigiriya was amazing, the train ride back to Colombo was not. Apparently it was the busiest train day of the year due to the long holiday and work on Monday. So we stood in a crammed train car for over six hours. We made a couple local friends who spoke some broken English, so that was the highlight. Before we left, we were told that once we got to Colombo, there would be trains out to Midigama. There was not 😦
So we got stuck here again, in the AC. At least this time we skipped TGI Fridays! We went to Galle Face Green, this big open area next to the ocean where people hang out and sell street food. It was really cute! Except all of my clothes were so sweat stained (all my white clothes are now orange) I had to wear George’s shirt I looked crazy, especially with my “cute” fix where I hair tied my shirt.
Here’s a couple photos. I wish I had one on the train but I didn’t want to bust out my phone in all of the chaos.
G and I needed a beach break, so last night we took the train to Colombo in prep for our longer train ride today to Sigiriya.
Side note, we had air conditioning and TGI Fridays for dinner in Colombo. It was a nice break from 105 degrees and a fan. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!
Sigiriya was so tight! We watched monkeys playing for a few hours before we walked up a lot of stairs… According to my phone we went up 81 flights to get to the top. Whoop whoop! Dats some exercise.
Here’s some photos of the rock before the climb and the amazing views. Totally worth the gallons of sweat and scary heights without railings…
P.S. If anyone decides to do this hike, buy water BEFORE you hit the moat. We had some issues…