Ha Long Bay on rice paddies

Trip Start Oct 05, 2010
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Trip End Nov 24, 2010


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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Thursday, November 18, 2010

The opportune moment

I read in a few places that with all the sights surrounding Ninh Binh, it was the next big tourist attraction, and in 5 or so years it would be just as busy as many of the others. So I didn't see any real choice about whether to go or not. I met up with a German woman, Madeline, on the bus here, and so we traveled around this area together.

The two areas around Ninh Binh that we went to were Hoa Lu and Tam Coc. Hoa Lu wasn't anything extraordinary, so I only spent a few hours there. But Tam Coc was another story.

Reminders of Ha Long Bay

Tam Coc, which is a town right outside Ninh Binh, is known as Ha Long Bay on rice paddies. Unfortunately we were here when all the rice had been harvested, so the usual green fields were replaced with a drab brown. But the scenery was still stunning. It really was very similar to Ha Long Bay, but without all the crowds. And since it isn't a bay, you can go wherever you want, without having to be able to tread water to do so.

The first day consisted of renting a motorbike and going around the surrounding countryside. I am certainly good at doing many things, but let's just say that riding a motorcycle isn't one of them. It was actually quite embarrassing. But the scenery was still great. We roamed around a lot here, and it was nice to have the place pretty much to ourselves. Almost no one in sight.

The second day we took a boat ride down the river which was through the middle of the same scenery we saw the day before, but it was still just as interesting, seeing it from a different perspective. Plus, the river went straight through three different caves, and so that was pretty awesome. They weren't very large caves, more like tunnels, but still really sweet.

And off again

I planned on spending two nights here, but although it was a great area, there wasn't much more to it, after what I'd already seen. So I was off on a 3-hour bus ride to Hanoi, my last stop.


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