Escaping the typhoon...just!

Trip Start Aug 14, 2012
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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Sunday, October 28, 2012

We boarded our bus to Ninh Binh the next evening, feeling a bit sorry for ourselves that we hadn't been in Halong Bay for the intended time but also glad to be leaving Hanoi! It was raining when we boarded our bus but the effects of the typhoon really showed themselves when we were about thirty minutes from our stop. The bus pulled away from a toll station, only to be forced into the oncoming lane by gale force winds! We arrived at Ninh Binh and the rain was lashing it down at this point. Our bus had to stop in the middle of the road and reverse due to fallen trees! We went to the nearest hotel and were both thankful for not being on the bus in such terrible conditions!

The next morning we awoke to hear no blowing gales, or the lashing of rain from outside. We went out for breakfast; to our amazement it was a clear sunny day, but the typhoon had left its mark with trees and debris scattered everywhere!

In the afternoon we hired bicycles and headed to nearby Tam Coc. Tam Coc is described as the Halong Bay on the land. We paid for a boat (rowed by a local woman, mostly using her feet!) and set out. The scenery was breathtaking and we could instantly see the comparisons to Halong Bay.

Afterwards we cycled to a nearby pagoda, situated up a large hill, which we have both forgotten the name of, but the view from the top was incredible. We stayed up the top for about half an hour, mainly to recover from our climb of five hundred steps to the top! Kate had somehow misplaced the map (apparently it fell out of her pocket) and had to ask how to get back to Ninh Binh, we reviewed directions and off we went. We had cycled for about half an hour and still hadn't come across the right turn we were meant to take after ten minutes. Luckily for us we were then told we were heading in the right direction by some school children heading in the opposite direction! Twenty minutes had now passed since the school children's directions and we arrived at what we believed was the outskirts of the city. We had no idea where we were or what our street name was called, the city looked huge from a distance and the road we were currently on was heaving with traffic! Inside we were both panicking whether we would make it back in time to catch our bus, if we would make it back at all. We headed down the road for ten minutes until it reached the main road which runs through the city, we now both had an idea where we were. It was rush hour by this point and we were the only people on push bikes, locals pulled up next to us at the traffic lights and would laugh at the fact we were going to try and cross two lanes of oncoming traffic on bicycles. Luckily we put them between us and the oncoming traffic and made it back safe and sound to our hotel. Later that night we caught our bus to move onto Hue.
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