– ODO- 18068-18185km
– Location- Hải Hòa Beach
– Weather- 21-31 clear
Having someone else cycling with you changes your perspective. Back in Bulgaria, Matt and Jelle helped me enjoy my ride more, stop more to enjoy the food and the company of locals and take the detour on to unknown roads. Last night George and I took a 10km detour from the highway I passed two weeks ago on my way from Vientiene. The highway was smooth and fast and by lunch time we were turning off into the cliff lined Triang An.
The roads became more and more narrow and the sky around us closed in with sheer rock, fields split by rivers full of lilies reaching for the winter sun. Our hostel was a arc of thatched huts surrounding a swimming pool (under construction), restaurant and pool table with bearded backpackers playing over beer and rice wine.
The speed of our cycling meant we had the afternoon to ourselves to explore. After lunch we walked down to the river where tourists were coming back from a day out on boats. We had to make the most of the tourist spot and for a 200,000 dong ticket we hopped in a boat hoping for a hour or so ride. A small woman in her 60s jumped on the back and started rowing down the river. Soon we turned a sharp left and headed towards the cliff. As we powered through the reeds the cliff appeared to lift up and we slid under the rock. The river cut a narrow cave just wide enough for the boat and sometimes the oars too.
Out the other side of the cave we came to a temple of deep colour wood entirely surrounded by vertical cliffs. The tour continued through two more caves marked with the length… 250m …350m. We became embarrassed that this 60 year old was powering us around the lake so we picked up plastic oars in the bottom of the boat made from old broomsticks and curtain poles. However much effort we put in we never seemed to make much difference to our powerful pace. When our guide became tired or got a phone call she would switch to rowing with her feet.
Almost two hours later we made it back after sunset to walk to the hostel in the dark for dinner and bed for the next 100km.