Tomorrow we will celebrate my Dad’s birthday so I’ve picked an appropriate song. This band is still popular in Vietnam and has made a recent comeback to the wedding party DJ list.
It’s been almost a week since I met my parents at the airport in Hanoi and now we are heading by private transfer to Mai Chau. Captain Caveman has joined us and has a few days off from his day job before he goes on an expedition with other cavers to find new caves. I’d previously booked Mai Chau for a surprise for him but had to cancel it so we were both looking forward to the visit.
Although it’s only 135km South West of Hanoi it took us a while to get out of the city and about 3 hours to get to our hotel, Mai Chau Lodge. First impressions are good and the place is set in a very picturesque village with lush green rice paddies surrounding it.
We celebrated the next part of our holiday with mojitos in the outside bar, of which we were the only customers, before heading in for dinner.
On Friday it was Dad’s birthday so after a good buffet breakfast we decided to go on the cave trip provided four times per day by the hotel – there’s nothing Captain Caveman enjoys more on his day off than a trip to a cave.
Mo Luong cave is right across the road from the Mai Chau Lodge and just up a few stairs so I felt a little foolish when I took my bag and a waterproof, like I was off on a school trip. Inside the cave has 3 or 4 chambers but we only went in the show cave part of it. There is a tunnel at the end that an experienced caver could go down but we left it at looking at the main section plus going up a ladder to a section full of bats. As we finished the short tour we could hear water and as we neared the doorway exit we saw that there was a heavy downpour of rain – good job we brought our raincoats. The tour guide had no coat or umbrella and so we waited in the cave until it eased off a bit, I took some photos but most of them were blurry due to the lack of light (and it not being a great camera).
By lunch time Captain Caveman was feeling under the weather so he went to the room to rest while mom, dad and I had some lunch and had a walk around the area. The weather was a little overcast and not too warm but it was nice to see the paddy fields and the mountains covered in clouds. Despite having a pool, which our rooms overlooked, none of us swam as it just wasn’t warm enough.
At dinner that evening we arrived to a fairly empty dining room where the staff were keen to show us their traditional dance and music skills. Captain Caveman wasn’t impressed given that we had ordered food and might not see it arrive at our table any time soon. Nevertheless the show did go on (and on) while we ate our food and another couple sat in to watch and got involved when they asked for volunteers on the bamboo stick dance (which I think they’d already practiced).
After dinner the waitress brought out a lovely cake (which I’d organised in advance via email) which was decorated really well and tasted good.
We’d had a good time in Mai Chau despite the weather not being great and I couldn’t help thinking that it reminded me a little of our home in Vietnam, Phong Nha. After a few celebratory drinks we retired to the room to pack for our next adventure, tomorrow we were off back to Hanoi where we would take an overnight train to Dong Hoi.