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Ninh Binh Day Tour

It was a tiring yet satisfying adventure throughout the trip in Ha Giang, and we definitely need a good rest after long journey on the bus back to Hanoi. I tend to have some relaxing day exploring Hanoi for the day after a comfortable rest in the morning. Q recommended a famous dishes in Northern Vietnam, which was Fried Turmeric Fish in Thang Long restaurant, somewhere inside old quarter. This was my first try on this dish, and god damn it, it was truly superb! It was a simple fried fish dish, but I never recalled I tried anything similar before anywhere. The staff was very helpful and assisted us to cook the fish on the spot, add the dill, spring onion, and herbs, and it was ready to eat by mixing with rice noodle which you can freely add in some fish sauce and chillis to mix with. One serve of Fried Turmeric Fish wasn't enough for me, and we add on another serving of Fish Intestine with similar cook style, and it taste perfect as well! Definitely a must try food in Hanoi for sure, truly satisfying meal!

The helpful staff cooked the food for us on the spot.

So tempting, I am so hungry now looking at it!

One portion wasn't enough, add on another portion of fish intestine.

Mixing with the spring onion, dill, and herbs once again.

And the end result was still a perfect dish!

A must try food in Hanoi!

We spend the lazy afternoon just walking around Hoan Kiem Lake, and buying some stuff from the local market. During the wandering around the lake, I also make up my mind to just go for a day trip to Ninh Binh on the next day, before conclude my Hanoi trip this round. After settling the tour plan, Q brought me over to Huong Mai Phocuon for local Vietnamese restaurant for dinner. The food was rather good as well, but I am even craving for the lunch earlier at Thang Long still! That was how great the food for me!

The statue of Emperor Ly Thai To, the founder of Ly dynasty of Vietnam.

Youth hosting game and invited tourist to join them to spread the fun atmosphere.

Turtle Tower with the flowers by the lake side.

Another perspective of Turtle Tower, when the brighter sunlight hit the lake.

The crowds roamed freely on the street by Hoan Kiem Lake, in which no transport allowed on weekend or public holiday.

Another group of youth performing traditional dance on the street.

Happening scenery along the road.

Kids enjoy variety of rides on the walking street.

The Hanoi Opera House.

Traditional Vietnamese spring rolls.

Crispy fried corn.

Huong Mai Pho Cuon for our dinner.

We took grab over to the gathering point for the tour bus in the morning on the next day, and since it was still early, Q brought me over to have Pho at a famous small local restaurant which was Pho Suong. Surprisingly, it was by far the best Pho I ever tasted and I truly love the old style feel of the environment, which was definitely a local favorite. We board the bus on time and was welcome by the tour guide as well as other fellow tourists, which include a group of local girls, and a big group of Japanese teenagers.

Pho Suong, best Pho I tasted by far!

Love the locality environment here very much.

This shown how Vietnamese enjoy their morning call everyday.

After nearly 2 hours of journey with a minor pit stop for souvenirs and refreshment, we reach Trang An for our boat tour activity. Our package inclusive with boat tour of route 2 and we sharing a same boat together with a solo traveler girl from Saigon. The journey took us across multiple caves, temples, and also movie set of the Hollywood movie, Kong:Skull Island, and for sure the most amazing experience was passing through those magnificent limestone mountain surrounding the river, which truly make it Halong Bay on land. Beside sight seeing, it was also fun competing with other boats from same tour group by helping our boat rower to pedal. It was a great workout by the way, and thanks to Q for borrowing me her hat as it was extremely hot when it was closer to the noon. Luckily, the lunch break was on a air-conditioned restaurant with buffet style, the tour package cover the food but you need to pay by our own for the drink.

The main building of Trang An boat tour over the bridge.

Our package offer us exploration through Route 2 as shown on the board.

Everyone were divided into smaller group of 3 to 4 peoples per boat for the exploration.

Here we go, they have their scarf for to cover the sunlight, and I got the hat borrowed by Q.

It was close to noon when we started the boat trip, it was super damn hot.

Hey, what's that thing over there?

Passing through one of many caves.

Helping the solo traveler from Saigon to take a photo with Than Cao Son.

Heading over to another cave, Vang Cave with 250 Meters long.

These rowers work very hard everyday to bring tourists in boat along the route. Do tips them accordingly.

A pagoda in the middle of the lake, with a singer singing in on it.

Everyone helping the rower in moving the boat as well using extra rowing sticks available on the boat.

The plant that grow underneath the lake, unsure what species was it.

The limestone to the left looked very unique with a seamless cut horizontally in the middle.

Another drop point for walk around but wasn't included in route 2.

Cheerful teenagers from Japan!

Continue the journey under bright hot sun.

Get to stop at this point for free wandering for a while.

A temple close to the drop point for a visit.

A walkway to another end for the boat to pick us up again.

And we going to visit the movie set of Hollywood movie, Kong: Skull Island.

The rear part of the boat that used in the filming of the movie.

The front part of the boat.

You can also take photos with the actors acting like tribe member similar to the movie.

The hut of the tribe in the movie.

The boats rested on the shaded part block by limestone while waiting for the tourists to reach the pick up point.

The pickup point for respective boats, hence do remember your boat number to avoid confusion.

Resting at shaded area while waiting the other from same bus.

Good workout to challenge each other!

Heading back to our bus before having our lunch.

Our next spot was to Mua Cave, but the highlight of the spot was not exactly a cave, but in fact the 450 steps of hike towards the Lying Dragon Mountain. I ain't sure if it was the black limestone surface or only the weather effect, the hike itself was so hot like I am inside a sauna room, as my sweat dripping non stop, almost like taking a bath without having a towel. It was a crazy short hike that make me all wet all the way to the top, and it seems not only me having that problem after all. It was all worth it for the hike toward the top, with two junctions to have magnificent view on two different scenery on the river and paddy field. We have a good rest on the small hut on the top before going down and explore a bit on the cave, which was nothing much interesting.

Entrance to Mua Cave.

The beginning of 450 steps....

Not sure why those people came down with their shirts totally wet with sweat.

Until I hike for a while, that's what truly happened here, non stop of sweat even you just stand still on the shaded place!

Those energetic teenager still manage to race each other for the hike.

The view from a shorter peak to the right of the path.

A pagoda on the view point.

This hike was also known as Lying Dragon Top.

The highest peak, still some distance away.

The look at the shorter peak we was a while ago, while on the way to the top peak.

The view toward same direction from the highest peak here!

A Guan Yin statue on the peak.

The view over Tam Coc boat cruise area, it will be much greater during harvesting season when it was yellow all over the area.

The view toward the pagoda earlier at the shorter peak from the top peak!

The classic view of the hike here.

Saying goodbye to Mua Cave, and is time to depart back to Hanoi.

Most of us was too tired on the way back to Hanoi and sleep soundly along the way. Waving goodbye to Q after having dinner together and try the famous egg coffee at Giang Cafe, thanks her for spending time to explore Northern Vietnam with me throughout my time here. Until next time we meet again!

A recommended shop that offering great discount on its stuff near to Hoan Kiem Lake.

Famous egg coffee via Giang Cafe.

The very hidden entrance to the Giang Cafe.

Ninh Binh - Vietnam

September 2019


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