23.07.2011 – 25.07.2011
We arrived in Ninh Binh by catching a "hard seat" train from Hanoi : wooden benches on a completely full train. Luckily, so it doesn't get too crowded by people standing as all tickets are sold with an allocated seat.
There's not much to see in Nihn Binh, but it's surrounded by a very scenic landscape of neverending rice paddies.
Just a few kilometres away is Trang An, a flooded area (much like the surrounding rice paddies) full of karst towers. Many of the karst towers have grottoes, and it's possible to row through these flooded grottes having only a 1-2 metre clearance. We hired a rower and a boat, and the rower (always female for some reason) took us through them using her exceptional rowing skills (she was rowing with her feet half of the time!)
The dock of Trang An
Female rowers taking visitors around the surrounding caves
There's also the "456 step" pagoda (I think there were a lot more steps than that!) which brings some pretty spectacular views of the surrounding area.
Ninh Binh area with the pagoda in the background
View from the pagoda
Rice is pretty hard work
Next we're off to Hoi An!