Vietnam Trip 2015 – Ninh Binh

When I was doing research on nature excursions in the north, I saw gorgeous photos of hikes next to lush green rice patties in Sapa and people boating on deltas through the rice patties in Ninh Binh.  However, I found out that November isn’t the best time to see rice patties since they will be yellow and harvested.  Luckily, there is still plenty of pretty scenery to see in November around Ninh Binh.  So we opted for a scenic hike at the Mua cave and a boat ride through limestone karsts and caves of Trang An.

A bus picked up our large group of eleven and drove us two hours south, escaping the busy city of Hanoi.

First stop- Mua Cave. There wasn’t anyone else around as we walked towards the cave except for a few chickens.  There were a lot of pretty trees and this bridge.

500 steps doesn’t sound like a ton, but when they are super steep and it’s 80+ degrees out, it’s tough!

View along the way. There’s the bridge we walked by.

Made it to the top! The view of the Tam Coc rice patties and limestone karsts was so nice and I liked that there weren’t a lot of other people around.

Grantland going back down the stairs.

After lunch, we went on a boat ride through Trang An. People call Trang An “Halong Bay on land” because you get to go through the limestone karsts and see them up close. When I was doing research, I noticed that a lot of people commented on how Trang An isn’t as touristy as other areas such as Tam Coc. Because of this, we didn’t experience anyone pushing for us to buy things. I’d recommend going here for sure. We booked our Mua Cave and Trang An tour through Vietnam Awesome. Yes, it was indeed awesome! har har ..

About to go into one of the caves.

It had just rained the day before, so the water was high this day. Because of that, we had to duck quite a bit in some of the caves. Unfortunately my camera is bad with low lighting photos, so I didn’t get any good photos inside the caves.

Pit stop so Grantland could go to the bathroom. Each boat is rowed by a woman. A small Asian woman. They must be so strong to be able to row up to four people for two hours! This type of work for sure deserves a tip.

We encountered these men along the way. I think they were making sure there wasn’t any trash or anything on the water.

The men were rowing their canoes with their feet! I saw some women doing it too but mainly when they were in the caves and less visible.

The group! We met Tony’s two friends and hung out with them in Hanoi and Halong Bay. We also all met Petra through Tony who was traveling solo at the moment while her friends were still on their way. And then we met up with James from Cal Poly and his girlfriend. It was fun hanging out with everyone!

Next up, Halong Bay.

(Also, I’m figuring out how to customize this WordPress theme so that my photos captions look more like captions that are directly under the photo and not just regular text.  If I use the caption code, it’s too small.  Can I edit WordPress themes?!  And then when I change the permalinks to text, my blog dies, but I think Grantland can fix this one (:  Oh yeah and how do you have the shorter blog posts that people can click to see more?  And lastly, I’m not sure if my photos take forever to load, but maybe there’s an easier way to put photos from flickr onto WordPress. Guess I should look into plugins. #noob #halp)