The song for today was an obvious choice seeing as both my parents love The Beatles as well as us all being on a day trip.
After popping over for a drink at Ho Khanh’s we were back in the house and waiting for our taxi – the sunshine bus as it would later be called. We always use our friend, Phuong, for booking the taxis as he’s really reliable, speaks good English and lives nearby. He has a business ‘Phong Nha Backacker Services’ too which can accommodate up to 8 passengers on half or full day tours to the various tourist attractions around Phong Nha and the National Park. While waiting for the taxi we had some entertainment from the neighbouring house who had set up some kind of water pump contraption outside the house, it looked like it could get messy and we had no idea what they were meant to be doing.
The rain had started and so we were glad we had a car to take us the 3km in to town for our first stop off – breakfast at the Thang Nhung restaurant. The Pork Shop, as we call it, is one of the best places to eat in town if you like pork. If you don’t like pork then it’s probably not for you, although the veggie dish of Tofu is pretty good. The pork bang mi and the pork fried rice are among my favourite meals in Phong Nha, the prices are very good and the drinks (from the shop next door) are cold. The people who own the Pork Shop are so lovely and the BBQ pork is outstanding.
After about an hour we got back in the taxi and travelled out of Phong Nha and turned left at the main road where we drove towards the Phong Nha Farmstay, calling on our way at The Lake House. My mom had been before a couple of years ago when we had spent the day in the pool, drinking cocktails and eating delicious food while my Dad had been on the 2 day Hang En cave trip with Oxalis. This time the weather was cooler and there was a little rain so we sat inside with hot drinks and admired the view.
We had planned that we would have lunch and wine at the Farmstay and so that was our next stop, the taxi driver had a break while we looked about the place and chilled out. The food is always good at this place and so I went for the sausages (as did Dad and Captain Caveman), while mom went for seafood. We were the only customers so it was really nice to relax and have the place to ourselves, we even got to take lots of photos of the beautiful grounds and pool area with my new phone.
After lunch we got back inside the sunshine bus and headed back towards Phong Nha via the scenic route, calling in at the Bomb Crater bar. This is a fairly new addition to the area and is built next to the river besides a bomb crater, it’s a lovely bar that serves beer and spirits in a great location. There were kayaks but due to the weather we decided just to have a drink and take a few photos.
Our next stop was Sy’s Homestay, a little further along the river road, nearer to the petrol station, set in the rice paddies. Sy and his family have a small homestay there which has some stunning views as well as selling cold beers. As the rain was still a little drizzly we sat undercover next to the Booking.com sign of 9.4, later my Dad stood up quickly and knocked it off so it now has a piece missing.
By this time the day trip had turned in to more of a pub/bar crawl but we still had more to do that evening. We called in to Bamboo café, pointed out the fridge shop that sells pillows, bought some great T-shirts and a bag at Phuc Dat before heading over for our evening meal at Capture Café, one of the best eateries in town for western food and great wine. It was great to see all the staff and, as promised Giang had put lots of wine in the fridge for us. At Capture we all had pizza but couldn’t finish it all so Captain Caveman was in charge of the takeaway boxes, we bought a bottle of wine to take home and headed back to the house where we were invited to a soiree at Veronika’s. Other cavers, friends and neighbours joined us for gin, wine or whisky and we got quite merry before heading to bed knowing that tomorrow Captain Caveman was working while we had more sights to see.