• After we had visited Halong Bay and been on our cruise, our driver and Binh drove us to our little hotel in Ninh Binh but on the way we took a detour and stopped at Trang An. Trang An is famous for being a much smaller version of Halong Bay on the mainland. You have a lovely driver of the boat who rows you around so you can take in the scenery and take lots of pictures, they take you through many caves and also visit a small temple and an area where they filmed the new King Kong: Skull Island movie which put Vietnam on the map in a way. It’s a very popular area for Chinese tourists who love taking pictures and seeing ‘pale’ Westerners.

     

    We reached a small Buddhist temple in the middle of Trang An which is  decorated with Chinese decorations and statues. Binh our guide told us lots of different bits of history including the significance of the multi-coloured flags that are always outside their Buddhist temples and also that most Vietnamese don’t actually follow the Buddhist ways and only pretend to when they pray in temples. A lot of Chinese loved taking pictures of us and staring at us but we ignored that. The temples are decorated from floor to ceiling with gold and lots of flowers and food offerings for the Buddha’s and spirits. 

    We then got to see a little bit of where King Kong: Skull Island was filmed with a replica of the crashed plane and a village of a tribe who starred in the film. You could have pictures with the people dressed up but they did ask for money and of course the Chinese loved that especially if we had our pictures taken. Mum was having her picture taken with someone from the tribe and this Chinese lady just handed Mum her child to have pictures with – so hilarious.

    After we visited Trang An, we travelled a little more down the road to an amazing view point which was quite a hike to get to but it was worth it in the end.

    We then headed back to the hotel to freshen up and go out for dinner. We had a little walk around Ninh Binh which was a little city in itself and was so busy with traffic and motorbikes. Our little hotel was hidden down a side road so it was nice and quiet, only with a few rooms and a small breakfast room. It was a lovely family run hotel in the centre of Ninh Binh. The next day we were picked up by Binh and his driver and had a little trip to Tam Coc which was very remote and the typical Vietnam you would think of with rice paddies and small homestays perfect for backpackers who want to explore the jungle side of Vietnam. They dropped us off an one of Binh’s friends homestays which was beautiful. They cooked us lunch which there was lots of it and so yummy and they cooked me some veggie food.

    After lunch we then grabbed a bike each which there wasn’t one for me so the lady who owns the homestay got me on the back of her motorbike to her friends homestay down the road which is twinned with hers to pick up a bike there. We then took a little bike ride around the rice paddies and around Tam Coc which was lovely but it was so hot. Afterwards we got back in the car and they drove us back to our hotel in Hanoi for our final day before flying back to Bangkok.

    Would you like to visit Tam Coc or Trang An?

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