The next day we took a local bus for 4 hours into the countryside to Phong Nha farmstay alongside locals transporting all kinds of bizarre objects including a full-size fridge and two massive tractor tyres
. This Australian/Vietnamese-run accommodation was literally in the middle of nowhere and although we were among 30 or so other backpackers the region is only just beginning to attract the odd tourist and the sight of westerners is still very exciting and new for the local villagers who rush out of their houses to say 'hello' as we walked past. On the evening of our arrival we decided to take a couple of bikes to explore the amazing countryside surrounding the farm and have a peak at the nearby village. A family having a meal on the ground outside their house spotted us and eagerly beckoned us to come and join them, filling our hands with freshly made sticky rice dumplings which we ate with slight apprehension at how much it would all cost us. However to our complete surprise when we tried to give them some money they point blank refused it and instead ushered us on our way with big smiles and waves.
Although we were sad to leave Hoi An, the sudden influx of rain made it somewhat easier. However sadly the weather in Hue was not much better so we were forced to dig out our rain coats from the bottom of our bags. Hue was the most heavily bombed province in Vietnam so despite some pretty remnants of the Imperial City a lot of the buildings were new and lacked the attractiveness of the old traditional-style buildings we saw in Hoi An. Nevertheless we negotiated a good price with a rickshaw driver who gave us a brief tour and was more than happy to answer our questions about the daily life of an average Vietnamese person ( which seemingly involves a lot of lying around, drinking coffee, and playing board games in cafes!)