After my work was done, I had one more day to explore the countryside. Since this time I didn’t plan much on the trip, I decided to take a day tour from an agent to Halong bay for the next day. My booking was done and I was looking at Youtube videos on what to expect once I am there. unfortunately for me, the bay was closed due to the whipa level 8 cyclone near Hong Kong. I received a mail that the trip cannot be done and I can choose some other option. After a bit of Googling, I found out this place called Ninh Bhin: “Ha Long Bay on land”.
Ninh Bhin was once the Capital of Vietnam, it is famous for the Limestone Karst scenery around the village of Tam Coc. About 100km south of Hanoi. With its hundreds of limestone cliffs emerging from the ground scattered across the rice fields, this region is appropriately nicknamed the “Halong Bay on the land”.
Ninh Binh makes for a perfect day trip option from Hanoi. I called the agency and decide to go on this trip. It cost 2200 INR for the entire day trip including a lunch buffet (which was amazing).
Our first stop was to reach Hoa Lu Ancient Temple. Hoa Lu existed as the capital for the next 41 years an later the capital shifted to Hanoi. Our guide told us the stories from the history and it was no different from our Indian stories, where brothers fight for the throne and eventually someone else takes it.
Main entrance of the Temple
Hills in the village
Temple in the foothills
After finishing lunch, we took the rowing boat at Tam Coc Harbour. Arranged by local people here, the boat is rowed by both hand and legs. The boat took us to 3 specular caves with hundreds of limestones on the way. The boat rowing took around 2 hours. We saw the peaceful scenery of mountain, rice paddy fields and the temples. We also had the chances to learn about local people cultures on their daily life from our guide.
From inside the cave
Back to the harbour
Our Boat entering the Cave
After the boat trip, we went on a bicycle ride through the countryside to a temple. This side of the country was beautifully serene and peaceful. At around 4.30 we started our journey back to Hanoi.
Countryside on the bike
Cycling in the villages
Ducks in the backyard ponds
We found this temple on our cycling trip