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Ninh Binh - Halong Bay Meets Rice Paddies

VIETNAM | Saturday, 21 February 2009 | Views [2588]

My driver Ving

My driver Ving

Ninh Binh was a difficult, but incredibly rewarding short stop in our trip. Difficult because of the circumstances by which Sebastian and I arrived there (separately thanks to a dumb fight) and rewarding because it gave us a chance to experience life in the Vietnamese countryside.

Quick highlights:

  • Bus Ride – The most crowded public bus I’ve been on to date. At one point I counted 13 people in the first row where there were two seats. I was crammed up against a window for 4 hours.
  • Motorbike tour - The rice paddies were bright green despite the grey and gloomy weather. It was interesting to see that even the country homes are built of brick and cement – very different from the other countries we’ve visited.
  • Mau Cave – Over 500 slippery steps, high into the clouds. Great views of the surrounding countryside.
  • Tam Coc Cave – Paddling up stream in a small boat that the owner operates with his/her feet. The scenery was breathtaking – tall karst limestone hills, rice paddies, caves, temples, and more.
  • Hoa Lu Temple – Strong Chinese influences, but lots of other religious elements making it uniquely Vietnamese.
  • Bai Dinh Pagoda – This massive complex is still under construction, but it will be insane when it is complete. I’d love to see it again in 10 years.

Tags: countryside, temples, tours

 

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