Paradise CaveWe visited the Paradise Cave from Phong Nha, a developing town fast becoming popular amongst travellers. The town itself is pretty average, baring in mind we visited when it was very grey and rainy so spent most of our time was inside the warmth of backpacker cafes. The cave on the other hand was absolutely spectacular. I'm not a cave enthusiast, and I don't know any technical terms other than stalagmite and stalactite so I'm not going to try and describe it to you; I'll let imagery to the talking instead:
The Mural VillageTam Thanh is a village right on the coast of central Vietnam. For us the town was only a short pitstop, somewhere we could pitch our tent and leave early the next morning. We were pleasantly surprised to pass through 'The Mural Village' on our way to the campsite and decided to pay a visit the following morning before leaving for the next leg of our journey. Placed roughly half way through the village the welcoming mural reads: "Tam Thanh Mural Village | Vietnam - Korea Joint Project: Art for a Better Community". Surrounding this are artworks of all sizes and styles painted loud and proud onto the sides of houses, hair dressers and village shops. The place is alive with colour, and true to their word the village feels united by it.
The works (some of which you can see below) are reflective of local people and culture, you can read more about this and the link to Korea here:
Nhon Hai BeachNhon Hai is a small fishing town based predominantly around its extraordinary stretch of beach. For me it felt like a creatives' paradise, a place where there's nothing to do except be inspired by your surroundings. We arrived in Nhon Hai at 1pm on Tuesday with plans to leave early the following morning, but as we sat reading, writing and munching fresh fruit to the sound of the ocean we decided to book in for another night and let the feeling of no pressure translate into productivity. During our 1 1/2 day stay I read an entire book, wrote nearly 3 blog posts and collated and edited 2 sets of images!
For me the the identity of the village is in the dozens of blue kitsch-y fishing boats that sit rocking on the ocean's surface, and the simple woven basket boats dotted along the shore used by fishermen to row out to their boats at sea. Other than the hostel (Nhon Hai Beach Hostel) there really is nothing else that caters for tourists in Nhon Hai and so residents are still getting used to the site of westerners. Walking along the beach at various points in the day brings some beautifully raw cultural sights; at 8am we saw around 30 locals hawling a giant raft made from wood and plastic tanks into the ocean, at midday a group of ladies sitting under a tarpaulin tent ripping up old nets and using the good bits to sew new ones and at 4pm dozens of kids playing football together using bamboo sticks for goal posts.