After quite a long, very early morning transfer from Dong Ha to Dong Hoi to Hanoi to Ninh Binh (including a delay for technical problems to our propeller plane!) we finally settled in our hotel and then went for a bike ride in the afternoon. A question for the Mensa Quadrat afficionados: how do you do a bike tour with two adults and three kids that cannot drive alone (in countries where chariot carriers are… let’s say scarce)? We had often thought about that problem during our trip but this hotel in Vietnam had the perfect solution for us!
So while Alex was driving around with Diego we all enjoyed a nice ride in Tam Coc and explored the closer surroundings. The next day – as we felt really brave again – we decided to rent to motorbikes for a day. We loved it right on and touring through the rice fields and hills of Ninh Binh is just amazing. We first drove to the Mua Caves nearby and climbed up to a temple. I believe we have never perspired so much while climbing the 500 stairs – it was just pouring out! But we finally made it and the view from the top was of astonishing beauty.
After lunch we took our rides and drove through some small villages to Trang An were boat tours start. We were a bit sceptical about it as the tours was described with a duration of three hours and the temperature was way above 30 degrees with high humidity. Still… we bought hats and drinks and embarked for a fantastic journey through caves, hills, hidden lagoons and 11th century temples. The three hours just flew away, the boys had the chance to row and nobody was actually bored.
The next day (today) we had booked a full day tour with a local agency on a short notice. We first went to the Cuc Phuong National Park where we had the chance to visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre and the Turtle Conservation Centre. After that we had a short hike in the jungle which reminded us of how already far away our adventures in Borneo are.
.. and we also saw some butterflies in a quantity that made me reflect about the butterfly effect (yes the movie…not the scientific stuff)…
After a nice lunch with local buffalo meat we headed to Vinh Long for another boat ride. This time less caves and also less rowing than Trang An but still fun and a similar Jurassic Parc feeling.
By the way: the movie ‘Kong: Skull Island’ was shot in Trang An, Vinh Long and it seems that the Vietnamese crew is just having a party in our hotel. To sum it up: there is a reason why this post contains more pics than usual – Ninh Binh province is just incredibly beautiful and the last few days have been lots of fun. We could stay easily for a longer time to do some biking, hiking or trekking. However, our time marches on inexorably and tomorrow morning we are already off to the next destination.