Sunday, 29 December 2013

Day 145 - A Cave and a Concert in Dong Hoi

The day started with a power outage in the hotel and surrounding area, so I had to find everything in the dark in my windowless room. My bike, not wanting to get left behind, had a similar issue and did not start. Thankfully being in Vietnam the next bike repair shop is never more than a few meters away.

What was even better, there was a coffee shop right next to the bike garage. Well, not everything was as good as I had to get the battery replaced and while at it decided to also get the aging chain replaced on the bike since it made clicking noises after it got hot. Guess a bike that says 'City Fashion Cruiser' on it, is not really meant for very long journeys and off-road driving but it handled everything without complaining so far.

After getting everything fixed and enjoying the coffee it was already a bit later than I would have liked it but due to it being Sunday traffic as light so I made fast progress. So fast indeed that I decided to stop and have some brunch and stop a few times for pictures.
The destination for today was Dong Hoi and I got within 50km of it very early. This is why a detour to the Phone Na-Ke Bang National Park to see one of the caves there seemed like a great option.

There are quite a few different caves and I just picked the first along the way, the Paradise Cave or Thien Duong cave. As usual in some places here the parking is miles away from the cave entrance to get you to pay for the overpriced electric shuttle. I decided to walk instead as I had enough time.

What I did not actually realize is that with all my taking it easy and not looking at the time, it already got 17:00 and the cave was about to close. I was only halfway through so had to rush parts of it to see everything before they would turn the lights off. 
Being after 17:00 also meant it would get dark soon and the detour to the cave now meant the 50km to Dong Hoi from earlier were now over 70km.

Still, the roads were pretty empty at this time and with some fast driving I made it to Dong Hoi in just over 1 hour and managed to find a guest house, too.
After having dinner, unfortunately without some Bia Hoi, I went to check out the Honda event with some live music and saw one of the Vietnam Idol singers performing.

Overall, it was a good day despite the start of it costing me a bit of extra time and money. Tomorrow's drive will be down to Quang Tri or Hue depending on time and what there is to see along the way.

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