“Hey Gary. You ride on the back of my bike Ya” Said Marco in a voice sounding very similar to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now Marco is well over 6ft tall, with a bald head, with the Arny way of talking and his appearance that would make him fit in well with any door staff at any London Club. There was no way I was going to say no. When you get to know him you find a very decent man with a gentle soul who loves photography. That is until I got on the back of a motor bike with him. At first all was fine, all was good and we were going to Paradise cave and the Eco trail Nuoc Mooc in Phong Nha. I was looking around, enjoying the view. Then I realized I could not see his head in front of me. He had seen a straight bit of road ahead and decided to gun it. So he had ducked his head to cut wind resistance. Which now hit me full in the face nearly blowing my contacts straight out of my eyeballs. All I could do was hold on and hope he slowed down for the turns and the bends.
Now this trip was totally different to how I discovered Nuoc Mooc eco trail. On my journey up from Hoi An to Phong Nha I had met this pretty, intelligent (or so I thought at the time) girl called Skye who although staying at a different guest house miles away got in touch with me at the lake house and invite me to this great place with like a secret lagoon that her friends had shown her. So I had hired a motor bike and went to pick her up. After a brief pause at her digs for a drink (alway important to keep hydrated when traveling) she jumped on the back of the bike and off we nearly went.
“Were are we going?” I asked.
“Nuoc Mooc eco-trail” she replied.
“Yes but where is it I have never been”
“I don’t know I was not driving when I went before so never paid attention”
So in we went back to her digs to find her friend and get some directions. And well worth it it was too.
Anyway back to me on the back of the bike with Marco. Four of us where going. Us two and my mate Rob (who watched me nearly get robbed in Hanoi. more on that in a later blog) and a girl who’s name I forget but who’s figure I never will. The first place we went to was called Paradise cave. An immense cave over 30km long. The first 1km is decked out in wood for easy access. I say easy access but its a long walk to the bottom of the mountain then a long hike up to the cave. You will know when you are near the entrance as a cool breeze hits you from the cave mouth. Its all lit up inside and is an amazing site.
Next as mentioned at the beginning we went to Nuoc Mooc eco trail. The ride was through Phong Nha national park and the scenery is absolutely stunning. Well it is if your contacts are still in your head and your not holding on for dear life. We had had two choices really. The eco trail or some more caves called the Dark Caves, probably because they are dark I don’t know. Marco had wanted to go to the caves but I kind of encouraged them that the eco trail was the place to go. I know Marco was keen to take more photos inside a cave (how when it is dark I don’t know) but I was keen to got to the eco trail and swim and so was the girl and Rob was just keen to see the girl in a bikini (and to be truthful so was I). So we parked the bikes and with Marco half convinced we could do both we paid our fee and headed off down the trail.
The trail is not that long, a little over a mile maybe and it meanders back and forth over a lovely river with bamboo bridges across and swimming spots all the way along. The trail eventually peters out at a bamboo bridge and its here most people stop and swim. I have seen the river a mass of orange life preservers as hundreds of Asians take to the water. Its quite surprising just how many cannot swim even though plenty may live near the water.
Anyway I knew that this part of Phong Nha held a little surprise. Traveling back into the bush there is another hardly used trail that many don’t know about. After following this for a couple of hundred yard we came to an amazing lagoon with miniature waterfalls and cool blue water.
Marco was happy because he got to take loads of photos, Rob was happy because he got to see the girl in a bikini, the girl was happy to swim and I was happy to take all the glory of finding the place
The only thing missing was hammocks.
Thanks for reading.