THIS amazing place in Vietnam is rarely mentioned in guidebooks and this Aussie had only heard rumours of it from fellow travellers.
“Recently, I heard that up until 12 years ago, some people here used to pay for things with rice,” Michael Rowbottom told the twenty of us seated in front of him.
“That meant, in 2006, you could still buy things using rice.”
Mike, a British expat, was describing Phong Nha, a rural town in Vietnam I’d arrived at the day before. I was in the daily information session he gave at Easy Tiger, the hostel he managed in the area. It was a gathering point for tourists.
Both the hostel, which wasn’t listed on any booking sites, and the town were word-of-mouth destinations. Their visitors were a select group of travellers: ones eager to see another side of Vietnam.
“Hoi An gets six million visitors per year,” Mike continued. “We get 100,000.”
A friend I was travelling with had stumbled on Phong Nha through an Instagram photo.