Being a lady of leisure, as well as having Jamie and her family over for a visit, has meant I can join in on the fun stuff for a change instead of saying I can’t come because I’m working. It was only 5 days since the start of my tourist visa and 6 weeks until I would be with some of my UK family and friends in Turkey so I was looking forward to being a tourist for the day in the Phong Nha area.
Captain Caveman and I had a leisurely breakfast at Capture cafe before getting picked up by Jamie and her family for a day out to one of the famous places in the nearby Bong Lai Valley. I’d never been before and I was so excited, although a little bit nervous as I’m scared of some birds (I have a terrible fear of pigeons).
At the Duck Stop we got to see, feed and touch ducks and it was so good – it’s not just for the kids! It was busy and we waited with a cold drink and some fresh peanuts while chatting to the owner and the other staff and their kids. We were shown the best way to eat the peanuts, with the local pepper corns and salt before being given a conicle hat to wear.
Inside the duck enclosure we were guided by the owner who is so good with the ducks. Both Jamie and I love animals and so we were pleased to see they were treated very well. Each and everyone of us, including the 2 little kids, were allowed to feed the ducks and we were given so much opportunity for photos and videos. It was also my first time touching a real live duck and it felt so soft!
When we eventually felt like we had spent enough time with the ducks we went out of the enclosure to a hand and foot washing station, which is basically a hose pipe and some soap which does the job for hands and feet. I did wear my own porter sandals but if you don’t have them you can borrow them so your own shoes don’t get dirty. There are also some great quality t-shirts you can buy for a souvenir but the staff are not pushy so you can ask to try on at the back of the bar area.
After all the excitement of the Duck Stop we went to Moi Moi for lunch and had a selection of delicious food. We should’ve pre-ordered as it took a while to come and we were all hungry and tired. It was sunny and hot but not unbearable and we got to chill in hammocks while waiting. Moi Moi is a simple eatery ran by the family, where your food is very fresh – our chicken was still alive when we arrived!
The bamboo pork is my absolute favourite while Captain Caveman just loves the veggie cassava and peanut starter. All the food is prepared and cooked in the very basic kitchen over an open fire next to where the children and dogs play. The beer is cold and the staff warm and welcoming despite not speaking too much English. All in all a great day out and we didn’t even have time to visit all the other places in the Bong Lai Valley – maybe another time.
We cheated and did it by car with a local driver, however, fitter and more adventurous types can certainly make the journey by bicycle from Phong Nha.