Ninh Binh - Tam Coc

Right: Tam Coc, on the Ngo Dong River, Ninh Binh.

Ninh Binh is a small city south of Hanoi. It's Halong Bay on rice, featuring numerous limestone crags and caves. This was possibly my most enjoyable stop in Vietnam as I took to exploring the local sites by motorcycle. At Tam Coc I hired a rowboat for a pleasant trip through the caves. The Vietnamese have a curious laid back way of rowing with their feet. I also visited the ancient citadel of Hoa Lu and the Kenh Ga floating village.

Ngo Dong

I managed to freak the hotel manager out when I arrived back one afternoon as he came racing out on to the street exclaiming "Where is my motorcycle?". "What do you mean? It's right...ooops!" I had somehow managed to ride off on someone elses bike when I leaving a photo shop in town. I remember having had trouble unlocking the thing when a "helpful" local came over and forced the lock for me and consequently I drove off on someone else's bike. We managed to find the right one on returning to the shop. No damage done. Oops! Heh....

Below Left: The Boat Crew at Tam Coc. It's pretty hot on the river so hats are de riguer, though some improvise with local materials, below right.

Tam CocTam Coc

The journey through Tam Coc's limestone caves on a hot day is quite relaxing though you need to be prepared for the hard sell on the way back as the ladies try to flog off their embroidery.

Tam Coc is about 9km SW of Ninh Binh on Hwy 1 south. Ninh Binh hotels run day tours and hire bikes/motos. The entry fee and boat ticket come to D55,000. Don't forget to take some kind of protection from the sun.