Trip to Ninh Binh: A day in Vietnam's countryside
During our visit to Hanoi, we booked a day trip to Ninh Binh Providence, located in the Red River Delta region about two and a half hours south of Hanoi. The tour was advertised as Ha Long Bay on land so we felt OK skipping the super long bus ride to the actual Ha Long Bay (plus, we knew we'd see similar limestones in the Philippines). We got picked up at 8am from our hotel and joined about 12 other tourists and a very friendly and knowledgable guide.
The tour started with a visit to two underwhelming temples (we were a bit templed out at this point of our trip). After that the excitement level was elevated as we got on a small boat and our rower started rowing with her feet. Most rowers were actually doing that. The boat ride took us down a murky river with fantastic views of the limestone mountains and through three dark caves. We ended the day with a bike ride through the small town and into the countryside. There were stunning views of the mountains' reflection in the small rice paddy lakes. It was really cool to see the local kids who were eager to simply say hello as we biked past.
Checking out this bad boy hanging out by the temple entrance.
Pretty cool surroundings for this temple in the countryside.
Inside one of the temples. You can see the many offerings left by visitors.
Cute girl in a Vietnamese hat.
The parking lot full of rowboats.
Our driver for the tour. Look ma, no hands! As seen from the boat - locals taking care of laundry day. Such a beautiful setting for a ride down a river. Such a beautiful woman enjoying a ride down the river. Why does our driver look like we're about to have a head on collision? Entrance to one of the caves. Row, row, row your boat... Enjoying a cold one on the river. Bought from one of the river vendors. There were some houses along the river. During the bike tour later that day we saw some locals working the rice paddies.
Enjoying a bike ride through the countryside.
A quick photo op with beautiful surroundings. The calmness and serenity was so relaxing. Chatting with others on our tour, and our guide (in the futbol jersey). Our bike tour took us to a remote and calm country side where we got a glimpse of Vietnam's rural life. These wet squares are either for harvesting rice or fish. I'm pretty sure this bike was too big for her, but it wouldn't surprise me if she could ride it herself. No words needed. Roadside pigs. Positive he was foraging for food.
Little house on the prairie.