It took us four days to get to Hue from Phong Nha. The day we left it was absolutely bucketing it down and it didn't look like it was ever going to stop. So, after much deliberation, we put on our waterproofs and set off - much to the amusement of others at the hostel.
All the drains and gutters were overflowing, the roads were flooded and the rain just kept on coming. We did a short ride to the next closest town, Dong Hoi, 27 miles Southeast of Phong Nha, and on the coast.
It was a rough night on a rock hard mattress followed by a hard 40 mile slog to a small town, Ho Xa, 10 miles West of Vinh Moc.
Vinh Moc Tunnels
The village of Vinh Moc is situated on what used to be the border between North and South Vietnam, near the Demilitarized Zone. This area witnessed some of the heaviest bombing during the war with America. The Vinh Moc tunnels were constructed by the villagers to protect themselves from the American bombs. The tunnels are as deep as 30 metres in places and were home to some 60 families between 1966-1972. Amazingly, the tunnels did their job and not a single villager lost their life due to the war.
We decided to take a morning off cycling, get a bit of history and visit the tunnels. Entry was cheap; 40,000VND/pp (about £1.50), and an extra 100,000VND/pp (£3.50) would have bought us a guide. We chose to do the tour ourselves, although on reflection, a guide would have been a good idea as the museum is not well signposted or explained. The tunnels are impressive and very well kept, the accompanying museum however is in a state of disrepair.
Ominous looking entrance 13
Back on the Road
In the afternoon, we peddled a short 20 miler to the next big town, Dong Ha. Along the ride we were recognised by our pal Nico from The Gecko in Phong Nha. He was on his motorbike and he rode along beside us for a while, chatting, assuring us we were averaging 20mph. Nico informed us that Phong Nha was flooded again after we left and he was hurried out by the increasing water level! We ate a traditional Vietnamese lunch of Pho together before parting ways. The Pho was particularly authentic as it had a heart (animal unknown) floating in the broth. Mike and Nico both took a bite but I stayed well clear!
Dong Ha was a great little bustling town, good food - it even had a Red Lion Pub!
Home Straight to Hue
The final 44 miles to Hue was another wet one and I got a puncture. Mike fixed it with the help of a friendly local, and a bunch of interested school kids.
Mike & his bud fixing my puncture