Oh, how much I loved that scenery. Again, weather wasn’t exactly the best but the mistiness and the little bit of unknown.. it was gorgeous.
*We arrived to Ninh Binh yesterday afternoon. It didn’t start too well. As we arrived around here, the bus stopped by a place called Tam Coc. Almost everyone got off here but as I read, we have to be in Ninh Binh. Rich said, we should get off here as there were hostels, restaurants and shops everywhere. It seemed like the perfect tourist place. But I said no,we go to Ninh Binh, I’m sure it’s the same. Don’t get me wrong, it took about 15mins to get to Ninh Binh but as we got off the bus in the ‘centre’,I knew I was wrong. It’s a very big town, nothing really around. In the so called centre wasn’t even 1 hostel, just some shops and a few hotels. Good thing we didn’t book anything previously which I ALWAYS do. But not now…. we took a taxi straight away for a price of 70,000VND and we came back to Tam Coc. Later I read there is not much in Ninh Binh, people from there are coming here to visit the karst mountains. They call it ‘Ha Long Bay on land’ and that is exactly what it is. It looks the same except it’s on land. Same beautiful sets around, looks amazing! We booked a hostel straight away (20USD/2 nights) and asked about tours around. They gave us a choice which we can go back to Hanoi in the end with,so we took that. It’s tomorrow. We go to see the old part of this area, a pagoda and then we go on a boat trip next to the rice puddles 🙂 (paddies). It supposed to be amazing. Except, the weather isn’t our friend lately. It’s been raining since 2 days. As we are on the northern part of Vietnam,it isn’t summer here yet, so a bit of rain and is normal. I’m still looking forward the trip tomorrow. It wasn’t the cheapest, it cost 680,000VND and it’s half a day, including a buffet lunch.
Today, as we have no tours we decided to walk around the karst mountains but as it was raining, I had breakfast and we had a few drinks (it was after 12pm). As the rain stopped, we went for a walk. The scenery was beautiful even it was a bit misty and very cloudy. I also checked the rice… later back to the hostel I actually googled how rice becomes rice on our plate. Very interesting….☺️ As we walked, a lady stopped us and asked if we want to have a boat ride. We asked how long and how much. It was 1 hour, 100,000VND/person. As we didn’t do much anyway, we said yes. And it was amazing. She took us between these beautiful ‘mountains’ next to lush greens and banana trees dotted the area. It was very quiet, we could only hear the nature and the woman paddling -with her legs, by the way…-. Suddenly we saw a little entrance for a cave. She was pointing at it saying, we go in. We did paddle through the cave while she tried to use her light. And it was a proper tight cave. We had to put our head down a few time. As we got out, we faced the beautiful,misty scenery again. Not long again, we had an other cave, shorter this time. Then we turned back. The whole experience was nice until we arrived and the lady asked us to give her tip. We gave her some VND but she was asking for dollar which we didn’t have. She was nice and we understand, they need the money but we felt it was a bit of a piss take. We walked back and by the time got to the hostel, it was dark. Found a restaurant where we ordered sweet potato cakes, tuna and corn cakes and chicken with garlic and curry. We got chicken bites (like small nuggets) and the sweet potato fries were literally sweet, like doughnuts. I also had to wait 40mins for the fish cakes which turned out potato cakes with a bit of tuna… At least it filled us up but got completely different experience that we expected which can literally happen anywhere in Asia.
Back to the hostel I surprised Rich with a whiskey sour as it’s St Patrick’s Day and he always says, he is Irish. So here we are. It was a bit pricey, 75,000VND (to compare with his beer which cost 20,000 or my gin and tonic for 50,000) but it’s and Irish day so what the heck. ☺️ Even it’s a bit cold and rainy, we still enjoyed being here.*
More photos coming in the evening.