Don’t miss out on one of Phong Nha’s best attractions, the Wild Boar Eco Farm.
I stared over the edge of the timber boat and into the flowing Bung River. The water was clean and I could clearly make out the shapes of the individual stones on the bottom of the riverbed.
The lack of rain over the last few days ensured there was no sediment runoff to cloud the meandering waterway.
Our driver, Cuong, expertly guided us around protruding rocks as we motored the 5km towards the Wild Boar Eco Farm.
Local kids waved excitedly from the shore; their beaming smiles shining bright on the overcast Phong Nha day.
Even though colossal caves beckoned just over the next valley, the appeal of what was cooking in the Bong Lai Valley was just too exciting to resist…
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The Wild Boar Eco Farm in the Bong Lai village of Phong Nha opened its gates to tourism in April, 2014. Just two kilometres up the road from the iconic Pub With Cold Beer, the Wild Boar Eco Farm offers a similar dining experience – albeit with a different perspective.
Here Cuong and his wife Phuong welcome travellers to their expansive and working boar farm, with sensational vistas over the river and valley.
Arriving at the Wild Boar Eco Farm is a mission in itself, and that adds to the appeal. The only options are to cycle down a long and muddy road or to jump on a boat from near the Pepperhouse Homestay.
A new hiking path starting from near the Semi Wild Primate Enclosure and finishing at the Wild Boar Eco Farm is being scoped out at the moment, however this still requires utilising a local guide as it is not signposted.
Ask at the Phong Nha Farmstay about details for this.
If you choose to venture out on two wheels keep in mind that the road can be quite treacherous in the wet season. Entire sections can be washed away and the mud may threaten to envelop your bike whole.
Despite this, the scenery is gorgeous and you should definitely consider the ride if your legs are up for the challenge. The effort put in will make that first beer all the more tasty.
No matter which way you arrive, the atmosphere at the eco farm will make you feel completely at home. Walking through the rubber plantations and peanut fields is a perfect entrance to the restaurant.
Cuong enthusiastically gives tours around their property, detailing every part of his business with a warm smile. He is quite proud of his free-range wild boars and obviously cares a lot for them.
Before hungry and thirsty travellers started coming to the farm, they were his family’s main source of income. Now thanks to the booming tourism industry, new opportunities are opening up for Cuong and Phuong.
The main appeal of the Wild Boar Eco Farm is to relax, drink and eat by the Bung River. On hot days you can take a dip in its cooling waters, or just swing in a hammock overlooking the valley.
The menu is limited to pretty much one thing at the Wild Boar Eco Farm, and surprisingly it isn’t pork. Besides the relaxed atmosphere and breathtaking views, the reason people come here is for the chicken.
Either bred on the property or by their neighbours, you order your free-range chicken by the bird load. The family then catches and kills the live bird before cleaning, preparing and cooking it over an open fire.
The process may seem slightly off-putting to some customers, but this is as farm to table as it gets. Served with optional rice, vegetables and delicious peanut sauce, it is a hearty meal that may very well put you into a food coma.
Once you muster the energy to crawl out of your hammock, walk off your meal by wandering around the property and jump into the Bung River.
When you are ready, ask Cuong to drop you off at the Pub With Cold Beer for a drink or three. Another place that mustn’t be missed in Phong Nha.
The list of attractions around the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is growing by the day, and it is starting to become that even one week isn’t enough time to check them all out.
Still everyone needs a day to unwind, even in Southeast Asia’s newest adventure hotspot. If you are looking for a relaxing afternoon after exploring all the other amazing activities that town has to offer, filled with great food and even better people, the Wild Boar Eco Farm is the place to be.
Things To Know About The Wild Boar Eco Farm
- Make sure you get there early. Due to its location in the Bong Lai village, it is not the kind of place you can drop by for a quick beer. Aim to arrive about 12 or 1pm and you should have plenty of time to truly enjoy the place.
- If you don’t want to wait for your food, ring ahead. You can ask the Phong Nha Farmstay or Easy Tiger to call Cuong for you and start cooking your food. Otherwise you may be waiting for up to 2 hours for your meal. Although in such an amazing place, 2 hours will fly by. Note that you do not have to watch the family prepare your food if you don’t want to.
- If riding a bicycle or motorbike, give yourself enough time to ride back in the evening. It can get dark quickly in Phong Nha, and the road has no street lights. Coupled with the quagmire that the trail can turn into after rain, your trip back at night may be a lot more adventurous than you had anticipated.
- Whether you take Cuong’s boat or ride yourself, be sure to stop in at the Pub With Cold Beer either on the way there or back.
- If you do decide to go for a swim in the river, keep in mind that the area is still quite traditionalist and conservative. Wearing bikinis, short shorts or no shirts in public is still deeply offensive to many of the loca people. Be sure to cover up when you are not in the water, and never walk around the village or back to the restaurant only wearing your swimwear. Remember you are a guest in Vietnam. Respect the people and their culture, and everyone will continue to welcome tourists with open arms.
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