Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The amazing journey to Hang Sơn Đoòng - part 2: First challenge & night camp at Hang Én (Swallow Cave)

I really don't know how to start my story about the journey to Son Doong. First heard about the cave in 2010, but as it was not open to the public so I totally forgot until early this year when I was sitting behind a dining table with relatives, we were talking about different spots around the world.
All of sudden someone mentioned Son Doong, and few weeks later I managed to book the tour. I did ask myself what motivated me that much to make a quick decision? Is it my wish to escape for a moment from the state of being stuck at home over the past two years? Or the great curiosity to discover something unusual, right in Vietnam, or just my pride to show how much I'm capable to do such a thing? Maybe all!

         Before heading to Son Doong we had a group photo with Ho Khanh who discovered the cave in 1990.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The amazing journey to the world's largest cave - Hang Sơn Đoòng - Part I - The preparation.

Just one day left before my departure to one of the most famous spots in Vietnam - hang Sơn Đoòng.  I really really feel excited and can't wait to take part in this life-time expedition. I first heard about this cave, its discovery in 2010, I still remember some online competition to create the best name for a cave in this mysterious prehistoric caving network of over 150 caves. I don't know which name was chosen finally!

I made a quick decision when I called a guy at Oxalis - the only tour agent in Phong Nha, authorised by the local authorities to organise different trekking tours in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. For certain reasons the  number of visitors to Sơn Đoòng cave is limited within 224 persons per year, and there is no tour during the flooding season from September to January, so that's why the demand is huge and always mostly fully booked.

                                                                                                               Photography by Carsten Peter
              Mist sweeps past the hills of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, its 330 square miles 
             set  aside in 2001 to protect one of Asia's largest cave systems. 

Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Twelve Midwives - a comedy on stage, a wish in life...

If going to see a play can be compared with going out to dine, we always prefer a good place with a fine dinning experience, we should also find a nice theatre with an interesting play. But I doubt Saigon could offer generously that to us.
It's hard to remember when was my first time in Saigon's theatre. Long, long ago. Over the past decade, the theatre life here changed a lot - more activities, more freedom. These days people seems prefer the comedy, easy laugh. Very popular stand-up comedy here, we call it "tấu hài". Maybe I'm from another generation, so it's not funny for me to see "tấu hài" these days, I still can laugh but this laugh is far from good.

Tonight I'm going with a big fan of play, my nephew, to see a famous "The Twelve Midwives" (12 Bà Mụ). According to him, it's not easy to get tickets to this show.

             Young fan posed in front of the official poster of "The 12 Midwives" 

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