Today I am off to Ninh Binh, a city located in Northern Vietnam, just few hours south of Hanoi. It is a quick get away from the capital, but I’ve decided to go there with the same travel agency (Ethnic Travel) I used in Mai Chau buying the 2-days/ 1 night package. This travel agency in Hanoi is known (supposedly) for doing things off the tourist track including a better experience of the local life. I look forward to visiting Ninh Binh, not so much the city itself but rather the surrounding area; I heard the scenery is amazing.
The trip from Hanoi took 2.5 hours. I arrived around noon and had lunch at a restaurant with Ok food (not worth any pictures). After the lunch, I went for boats ride in two different rivers. The first ride was about the daily life of the inhabitants along the river. An old Vietnamese dude drove the motorboat. He was very excited about showing me the scenery, and even let me drive; I’ll realize later that was to pump the tip up. Pictures are below.
The second boat tour was in another river and was more about the landscape as well as going under grottos. This time I was in a rowing boat driven by an old lady who paddled for an hour plus non-stop – Simply amazing! Oh yeah, the sight also was amazing just see for yourself.
After the second ride, it was getting dark, my guide and I went to the homestay situated in a small village forty minutes away of Ninh Binh. The homestay was more like a lodge, which was a bit different from where I stayed in Mai Chau. Indeed, I didn’t see the local family it was really more like a hotel – very disappointing. That being said the location was great. Although it was already dark and I could not capture any pictures I got to see the daily routine of the Vietnamese by late afternoon in a small town. Similarly to the Western countries it consisted of kids cycling back from school, old folks playing some kind of dice game with a TV nearby showing some local shows. On the road, I‘ve also met farmers bringing back their chickens, cows, the latter making sure to leave their traces; there were also a lot of workers drying rice on the floor (pictures below). Last but not least I can only remember the countless number of scooters on the road and the noise that goes with it.
After the dinner, I went back to my room hoping for a more exciting and adventurous next day.