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45
 
...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

9 December 2018

Completely quackers!

Duck can be ticklish

Duck can be ticklish

3 December 2018

We’re completely quackers. I mean, our night bus arrived at 4am and really wasn’t the greatest night’s sleep anyway, which is why we decided not to do very much on our first day in Phong Nha. So I’m baffled as to how we ended up visiting Phong Nha cave later in the morning and then cycling about 20km along the river and up the Bong Lai valley for a late lunch at Moi Moi and a visit to the Duck Stop, eventually getting back to our accommodation after dark?! Quackers!

But the real quackers are at the Duck Stop. What is it? It’s a small duck farm half-way up the rural Bong Lai valley, where they give you a drink and a nibble and then take you to feed the ducks. And this turns out to be the most hilarious thing ever. I can’t really describe it, except to say that we were still in stitches when we got back on our bikes to cycle the rest of the way home.

Phong Nha cave

Phong Nha cave

Getting ahead of myself though. The Phong Nha cave is stunning, I’m struggling to think of a show cave we’ve visited anywhere in the world that’s as impressive. Stalactites and stalagmites look even more otherworldly when they’re reflected in a mirror-like underground river. And the best was that we had the place entirely to ourselves; we passed just one other boat coming out and that was it.

That was something of a fluke, but it has been surprisingly quiet in a lot of places on our trip, enough that people have remarked on it a few times. Poor Sierra Homestay has no other guests lined up for a week, and the Phong Nha Farmstay where we’re staying here has most rooms empty. Not sure why.

Spot Maureen

Spot Maureen

Our cycle ride up the Bong Lai valley almost broke us. 30 degree heat, knackered old bikes with no gears, bumpy roads, proper hills, and perhaps that 4am start catching up with us! We stopped at this random little eatery called Moi Moi for late lunch, and for once I made no complaint at all when the food took more than an hour to come out. The rest was needed! Turns out they just wake up and start cooking everything from scratch when customers show up. A bunch of half-a-dozen backpackers arrived just after us and decided to share a roast chicken… which meant we also got to hear the chicken being grabbed and killed. That’s, uh, very fresh roast chicken. Ick.

Anyway, in spite of the long day the Duck Stop still collapsed us in giggles. When we got back to our lodgings there was just enough energy for dinner and bed, and a promise to take it easy tomorrow.


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