To the east of the Cambodian border in southern Vietnam is Kien Giang Province; a stretch of coastline filled with magnificent rock faces, beaches created by the silt flowing out of The Mekong, and caves to explore, many marked with scars from past wars.
Leaving Ho Chi Minh City is a trip of its own — between finding our way out, and the traffic, it takes us more than an hour to get out of the city.
The bus rips its way along the winding road, narrowly missing its ghost-like cousins as they spin past through the mist. It is as though the forest is hungry.
It started off as a road trip just for two; Ben Mitchell from Phong Nha Farmstay and I. Yet by the time we departed Phong Nha in Quang Binh early one August morning, our ranks had swollen to eight.
The worst part of road tripping south out of the city is the dusty construction you must first pass on Highway 13. It’s a sort of toll for the beauty you’ll see soon.
We were supposed to set off early to Ba Be Lake to ensure we completed the 230km trip in a day, but because of mechanical gremlins, our departure gets put back. The contingency plan is to make a first stop at Thac Ba Lake, 150km away in the village of Vu Linh in Yen Bai.
The scenery here is breathtaking. It is Ha Giang, after all, the most beautiful province in Vietnam. Yet two days into our trip it still defies words.