Inland Halong bay

Trip Start Sep 16, 2012
Trip End Oct 08, 2012

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Sunday, September 23, 2012

We decided to to take a tour organised from the Hotel today to Ninh Binh Province to visit Tam Coc which is known as like a 'Inland Halong Bay'. We wanted to get out of the city for awhile. Ninh Binh is South of Hanoi & about a 3 Hour Trip. It was the capital of Vietnam for a long time, because of the mountainaus terrain it was easier to defend.

We had a private car & guide for the day which was very comfortable, we setout for the 3 hr drive to Tam Coc on a very badly maintained road & was one of the roughest rides i've been on.  When we were doing our research on Vietnam, we were surprised to learn that in Vietnam, they drive on the right hand side of the road so that made the trip interesting. The countryside was amazing, the driving was interesting, some drivers just sit in the fast lane whilst you have buses, trucks, bikes & cars beeping horns, flashing lights for them to move over. Around 40 people a day die a day on the roads in Vietnam, we can see why.

We arrived at Tam Coc around 11:00am, bought a brimmed hat from a local market as it was a hot day again, we walked to Tam Coc wharf & we were assigned our boat & rower. The rower was a young girl & they row with their feet. We headed off on our boat ride which is 3Km's in & 3Km's back, as headed off we were approached by a lady wanting to take our picture whith the scenery in the background, our guide had warned us about this & was important to agree to the price & No of shots. We agreed on $1USD & 1 shot, if you don't agree on the No of shots you may end up with 5-10!. As we went under a bridge an older lady joined us to assist the younger girl in rowing & happens most of the time to tourists, her purpose is to do the hard sell later on.

It was a beautiful trip thru Rice fields & Karst Towers in the Tam Coc valley with some great sights, you go thru 3 caves. When you get to the end you are set on by some sellers, selling drinks & snacks, again if you buy yourselves a drink you are then asked to buy the rowers a drink, & this is where the older lady plays the game & pushes the hard sell. We bought them a drink but no snacks & think she was doing a bit of swearing in Vietnamese at me. You are then rowed back to the wharf, as we approached the wharf the old lady asked for a tip which was surprising considering Vietnam doesn't really have a tipping culture, i offered her an amount but that wasn't enough so settled on $4 or so i thought, the $4 was each..., that was the purpose of the older lady. We collected our single picture from the picture lady, paid the money but she was still trying to slip another picture in.

We then walked to a restaraunt for lunch, the local cuisine, because of the terrain is Goat, but Di baulked at that so our goat was substituted with chicken, lunch was ok. We then travelled a short distance to a temple that is located in a rice field which was interesting.

Long drive back to Hanoi & we arrived back around 4pm, it was a very hot day so we were both tired, Di ordered some room service for dinner & i got some Indian take away from Namaste which is located across the road from our hotel. I ordered some chicken wings, butter chicken, Garlic Naan & rice $13, it was delicious.

It was very hot today around 37c.
That was it for the day.

Stay safe.

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