Red River Delta: Around Ninh Binh

Jun 10, 2014
Whereas Hue might have been a bit of a "miss" of places to go, this was a definite "hit". We arrived with a train to Ninh Binh- a town people choose as a base in order to explore these fantastic surroundings. The town itself is bit of scruffy and noisy thanks to the heavy traffic that the major "highway" of Vietnam takes through the city centre, but it serves the purpose as a base camp from where to explore the marvellous area just outside the city.

The most industrious women in action.

We got our bikes arranged easily at our hotel and it took us a good half an hour to get out to the nature. Once we got to the Tam Coc-Bich Dong, which is one of the highlights of the area, we switched our bikes into a little boat and headed down this spectacular river. Not only we were cruising down the river, but also through number of limestone caves that were quite impressive! Another impressive thing must've been the way the women operate these boats- they row with their feet (on the pics below)!

The rest of the afternoon we got around the area on our bikes, marvelling at the karst limestone mountains rising steep out of the flat land, spotting vietnamese hats popping out of the rice paddies  as they worked on their crops, and finally we climbed up to this viewpoint that offered breath-taking views over the immense land around us. Highlight, we thought.

On our way back the sun had started to set, but it wasn't like all the other sunsets. The sun was red like it was on fire! As we past some little villages, the tiny streets were full of life and people of all ages were greeting us with big smiles on their faces... and as we stopped to play soccer with these little kids, you could just tell how excited they were to have someone play with them - heartfelt. Such happy little troopers, just like the Laotian kids! 

As we finally made our way back to the town, we sat down on small mini plastic chairs along with local workers (a local happy hour perhaps?) and ordered a fresh pint of beer (for 10-15 cents)...and another one right after ;). What a day and what a place! As if we didn't like Vietnam enough already.

Tam Coc - "Halong on land"

On bikes

Climbing up to a viewpoint

Red sunset

{All pictures © Voyages of Discovery}


Other possibilities to explore around is to take a taxi from Ninh Binh to Tam Coc (5-10min) and then rent a bike, or to base yourself in Hanoi (90km away) and do a day tour.


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