There’s so much to see in Hanoi that you’d be struggling to do it all in 24-hours without the help of a local. Then in addition there are the outlying provinces that also have so much to offer, as Casey Wallen discovered on her Citadels, Karsts & Cycle Urban Adventure…
“I’d not actually heard much about the province of Ninh Binh before, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to go there. After leaving behind hectic Hanoi we hopped on bikes to wind our way along the narrow roads through the stunning valleys of the karsts. This was a wonderful highlight. We saw duck farms, buffalo having mud baths, plenty more gorgeous scenery, but there were no other tourists in sight. We rode through several small villages where the kids were happy to say “hi” or high-five us as we cycled past – what fun!
After a delicious local lunch another highlight awaited us, a visit to Tam Coc and the region known as ‘Halong Bay on the Land’, due the stunning karst surrounds. We were loaded into a small row boat of 3-4 per boat. Our local captain steered and did all the hard work as we meandered along the river the cuts through the breathtaking scenery. Of course he was obliging when we wanted to swap and take photos of ourselves rowing the boat.
The river trip took around 2-hours and we glided past the towering karsts and under natural caves to emerge on the other side. High up on the karsts you can see steps all the way to the top with a temple at the peak. There were local fishermen using very basic apparatus under the water to round up fish and catch them in nets. There were farmers tending to their rice fields on the banks of the river and water buffalo ploughing the fields. It was a very pleasant ride and wonderful way to finish off our extraordinary day!”
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* photo by KatherineWilkins – Intrepid Photography Competition