I chose this song as it represents coming home to Phong Nha, I doubt I will ever live in Alabama so it’s the nearest I’m going to get to Sweet Home Phong Nha – love a bit of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
We passed our house in Phong Nha, got out of the taxi at Ho Khanh’s, before popping over to Rustic Homestay for breakfast. Mom joined me and Captain Caveman with pork noodle soup while Dad had a bacon sandwich. The homestay is fairly new, it has delicious breakfast options and a few of the locals seem to now frequent. It’s owned by a local and has nice rooms to rent as well as being available for smoothies, beers and meals. It’s a few doors away from us so is very handy – my usual breakfast consists of the bun heo with a banana smoothie although I sometimes treat myself to one of the best bacon sandwiches in town.
After breakfast we took our bags to the house, where my parents would move in to the room next door to us (on the 2nd floor). The weather was cool and a fine drizzle was in the air so we got some washing in, sent Captain Caveman off to buy pillows and we walked to down the main street towards Oxalis.
The Glass House – our home.
On the way we had a nosy at a new bar that is being built close to our house, Mountain Bar, owned by our friend, next door neighbour and landlord’s son. It still had workmen in there and we said hello and took a couple of pictures – this was going to be the first bar within walking distance to our house and looking like it would open sometime in May.
Mountain Bar – coming soon to Phong Nha
We continued our walk and it was evident that in the last 2 years there was so much building work going on, even at our end of the village. I pointed out my friend Vinh’s homestay that was also new and almost finished – a beautiful traditional wooden house, opposite the volley ball court, called Highway 20 Homestay.
By the time we had managed a beer at Oxalis it was time for lunch and so we ordered food. I went for one of my favourites there which is the chicken curry and it didn’t disappoint. My parents were impressed with the changes to the Oxalis Home and restaurant which has been improved over the last 2 years – the beach looked impressive but it was a little cool and drizzly for us to sit there so we sat under the shelter and admired the river view instead.
In the afternoon we headed back towards home but not before having a cold beer by the river over at Ho Khanh’s. My parents had stayed here previously a couple of years ago and so it was good to see how the gardens had flourished as well as the new buildings had shaped the place now.
In the evening I had arranged a bit of a welcome meal at one of my favourite places, Phong Nha River House. A meal was arranged for early evening with a mixture of western and Vietnamese friends, so we could welcome my parents. We ate mostly pork dishes which were amazing and we drank beers and wine while one of our friends managed to skype call from the jungle to say hello to my parents.
Because of the close proximity to our house the River House is also a great option for an evening meal in a quiet location, beside the river, just past the pineapple totem pole type structure. My parents were able to meet our friends, the owners Bom & Quet, as well as meeting Chubby and Milo (the resident pooches). We all enjoyed the great food and promised to go back for one of the delicious breakfasts in a few days’ time.
After we said our goodbyes we stopped for a nightcap in our room and made plans for our Phong Nha taxi tour the next day. We had a lot of places to visit and so we would start early to make sure we could fit as many places in as possible.