I arrived into Phong Nha on the evening of day 17 of my trip. Immediately getting off the bus, I ran into George and Charlotte – a couple I met in Nha Trang and again in Hoi An. I don’t remember if I shared the story but it’s the same George who was once sold green tea instead of marijuana on the beach and started chasing the dealer who was on a motorbike. The two recommended this hotel they’re at and we ended up booking a room there as well.Phong Nha is abnormally busy at this moment because King Kong 2 is being filmed there currently. Actors such as Samuel L Jackson and Brie Larsson are in the movie but staying at the next closest city so they can have the 5 star luxurious hotels. In the morning you will see helicopters flying over top and the film crew staying in this small town say those are the actors and actresses flying into site. Very cool and unique experience. It’s very unfortunate Sheldon couldn’t meet any of these movie stars, how amazing would that have been!?
There is literally only one 1.5km stretch of this town where everything lies. Hotels, hostels, and restaurants. There’s nothing else but villages here. As a result, most people go to this bar/hostel called Easy Tiger. It was here where I spent most of my time meeting other backpackers.
Meet Laura from Holland and Sara from England. I originally met Laura when we were on the same pub trivia team in Mui Ne, and repeatedly kept bumping in to her as I travelled north. I first met Sara in Dalat, where I ran into Laura again, during one of the nights I went to 100 Rooftop Bar. These two wonderful girls were traveling solo before meeting and forever being side by side. When I ran into them again in Phong Nha, they were surprised to hear about Sheldon. How can I have missed introducing Sheldon to these two! Sheldons a busy Dino, so it’s tough to accommodate everybody. Better late than never they say! I’m sure we’ll see each other again in Hanoi, Laura and Sara!
Meet this Australian hunk, Simon – a 24 year old adventurer who could be one of those douche looking Abercrombie and Fitch models. But Simon it’s a douche. He’s a rockstar. I met this man during our cave adventures and we basically followed him into random places as we tried to navigate through the caves without a tour guide. Mission success.
Meet Travis, a good ol’ Canadian kid from Brandon, Manitoba. A small town kid with city slicker personality. He’s just full of stories. While playing “Have I never ever…” a girl asked “have I never ever got cum on my face”. Travis had to put a finger down, to which he replied “I’ve never shot up to my face ever. It only got up to here [points to upper chest]. But this one time it just shot right up to my nose. It was my own cum okay? Not someone else’s”.
While washing the mud off myself in the caves, I placed my muddy helmet in the waters. But I guess water got into the helmet and it sunk, and I didn’t realize this. I soon realized that I lost my helmet. I grabbed someone else’s helmet on the side of the cave to use its flashlight in hopes of finding it. No luck. Thoughts about stealing someone else’s crossed my mind but the good Matt came out when someone yelled “has anyone seen a helmet?”. I told them I have it and I’m using it to look for mine. This is sort of a big deal because a lost helmet (and attached flashlight) was going to cost me ~2.5 million VND. But thankfully the group said they’d help and I was able to find my helmet under the water.
I ended up taking mainly videos on my GoPro and unfortunately can’t share it via WordPress! There’s a couple pics I tried in the dark but it didn’t turn out that well.
One thing I missed out on was the second cave we were planning to visit. A late start to the morning coupled with having too much going fun at the first cave caused us to miss the Paradise Cave: a cave where you walk around in and enjoy it’s natural beauty. I’m disappointed because that would’ve been an 80-liker on Instagram for sure :p
Here are a couple of pics from our swim into the caves!