Since a storm was expected in southern Vietnam, Matt and I decided to go to Ninh Binh for a couple of days in the hope everything would settle down. In the past weeks there was a lot of flooding and we didn’t want to miss out on the southern part of Vietnam so it was time to be patient. It brought us to Ninh Binh, a city famous for the nearby Karst scenery around the village of Tam Coc.

When we came back in Hanoi from Halong Bay we had around an hour to get some food and prepare ourselves for a 6-8 hour bus ride in the night. We were accompanied by Marit and Danielle, two girls that I also joined in Sa Pa. The bus ride went smoothly and we arrived early in the morning. We took a taxi to the hostel, which was far outside the city center. Initially we booked a dorm room, but we were upgraded on arrival which was really nice!

Floating around at Tam Coc

After an easy first day and a good night sleep, the four of us decided to explore Ninh Binh and go to Tam Coc. We’ve heard great stories about this place and although the weather wasn’t great, we were still excited. We all rented scooters and made our way down to a place where you can get on a small boat to get around the area.

The boat ride took about an hour or so and we went through a few caves. We had a lot of fun cruising down the river and I managed to get some good shots!

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Bich Ding Pagoda

We were starting to get hungry around the time we got back to the starting point. After getting some nice lunch we made our way to the Bich Dong Pagoda since we still had a lot of time left for that day. Not really knowing what to expect, we just walked around at the pagoda. We took the stairs up and it looked like the pagoda was built into the cave, insane! We walked through the cave behind the pagoda and went further up to see what was more to see. It seemed like we couldn’t go up further, but we saw people coming down a path. Curious as we were, we started the climb to check out the view. And damn, it was worth it!

Bich Ding PagodaBich Ding PagodaBich Ding Pagoda

Mua Caves

As time passed, we had one more thing to see on this day: the Mua Caves! There was only one minor issue… Matt’s scooter wasn’t starting. After trying to get it to work by kickstarting the scooter, we decided to leave it behind. He hopped on the back of my scooter and off we went! It was starting to get darker as we arrived at the Mua Caves. The cave itself is not terribly impressive, but there is a great panoramic view from the peak above. A stone staircase beside the cave entrance zigzags through the karst and we gently made our way up, avoiding all the goat droppings.

The next days the weather was still cloudy but we did enjoy the family dinners at night with all the delicious food. The flooding was over in the south so we decided to move on to our next destination: Phong Nha.

Mua CavesMua CavesMua CavesMua CavesMua Caves

Stay awesome ♥

— Simon

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