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Vietnam - Ninh Binh (rice paddies)

Written on: Friday March 13th, 2009

Our bus to Ninh Binh seemed to take forever. Other passengers had been told it would leave at 5:30, and had been sitting on it since. We were told 6pm. It left at 6:40, by which time some passengers had already been on the bus well over an hour. We had been going for 50 minutes when it was then apparently necessary to have a half hour break for dinner!

When we arrived in Ninh Binh, without anywhere to booked to stay, it was far later than scheduled and raining hard. The first hotel we went in was way out of our price range and the second was fully booked. However, on our way out of the second hotel a man stopped us and said he wanted us to stay in his hotel. We asked how far away his hotel was and he couldn't understand what we were asking. Eventually it turned out he was the manager of the hotel we were standing in and he wanted us to have his bedroom and that a new room would be available for us by the morning. He showed us his room and it was fine - so the first night we slept in the manager's bedroom behind the reception desk, and the manager slept in the lobby!

The main attraction of Ninh Binh is exploring the truly breathtaking scenery by bicycle, and also boat trips are available just few miles out of the town. We went on a boat trip on the Tam Coc, which flows right underneath the mountains. Our female helm rowed us using her feet through paddy fields and caves. It was lovely to drift down the meandering river watching the goats, the kingfishers catching their lunch, the watersnails and all their bright red eggs, dragonflies, egrits etc. We also went past a man sitting in a boat weaving baskets. 

There are paddy fields everywhere in Vietnam, with large Buddhist graves scattered randomly throughout some of them. At one point on a cycle ride we came across a group of teenagers with large rifles. We never worked that one out, just cycled quickly by!

J.

(Ngoc Anh - recommended, helpful and hospitable staff)

 

From Kairii on Nov 25th, 2011

Thanks for the insgiht. It brings light into the dark!