On Two Wheels Through the Countryside
People describe Ninh Binh as Ha Long Bay on land, which is a very accurate statement. The best way to explore this city, just like any other city in Vietnam, is by two wheels (scooter or mortorbike). Bring your camera, sun block, mask and lots of water. We rented a scooter and were off for the day. The streets were filled with all kinds of noises such as horns, people talking and kids playing in the background. Traffic in Ninh Binh is less hectic compared to other cities. We drove to Tam Coc, which is a river surrounded by mountains and valleys. You can take a rowboat down the river for 30,000 VND each and they paddle you through the quiet river. The view is very picturesque. Mountains made from limestone are plenty some with serene rice paddies in the distance. The ride takes about two hours and it was very relaxing, minus the part where they try to haggle you to buy some delightful junk. Overall it is a wonderful opportunity to see the quieter side of Vietnam and you won’t regret the prize-winning photos you take.
We read about Cuc Phoung National Park and how it is one of Vietnam’s most protected areas, according to the Lonely Planet. We visited the Endangered Primate Rescue Center, which is home to more than 140 creatures from 15 species monkeys such as gibbon, langur and loris. These monkeys are rescued from the wild for a number of different reasons. The most common one is that they were wounded from people who try to hunt them. Once the animals are fully healed they release them back into their natural habitat. It’s great seeing people who have a real love for animals and are doing something to help.
On our way back from Cuc Phoung, we came across a herd of buffalos and were stuck until a young boy could move them out of the way. Driving through the countryside is a great way to see the real Vietnam.