We managed to safe a half a day in Hanoi, with which we decided to use very efficiently. I have to admit that our half-day trip to Ninh Binh was a little extreme, but I’m glad we saw this area at least like that. In this case, I can’t really give you any advice, because the only two places we explored were the Tam Coc boats and the mountain above Mui Caves where we spent a great sunset.
Our hotel in Hanoi organized the transfer for us. When we explained our planes, they looked at us as if we were crazy but a van came in about 20 minutes and and took us where we needed, right to the Tam Coc River. We went for a boat ride which took about two hours. We wandered around the river with a funny lady behind the sculls, admiring the limestone hills emerging from the water. At the end, we bought some fresh pineapples and came back.
The experience was really cool, but with my dislike for organized activities, half an hour would have been enough for me. Also, this is, of course, the most popular activity around this area so be prepared for tons of people.
When we got back from the boats, we needed to get to Mua caves somehow, but we didn’t have time for an hour and a half of walking, so we rented a scooter at one hotel and hit the dusty path to Mua Cave. We parked down on a paid parking lot and five minutes before the official sunset, the race with time started. By the way, if you’re here, don’t be fooled by shouting locals, wanting you to park at their parking lot. Go all the way to the end of the road and park at the nearest parking lot to the entrance – it’s surprisingly the cheapest. Unfortunately, there is an entry fee to the mountain which is a bit expensive compared to other Vietnamese stuff, but it really is worth it.
It took us 20 minutes to get up to the summit even though we were almost running. We lost the race with time, but even the time right after sunset was pretty spectacular and it was definitely worth the nerves, money and sweaty back.
That’s all from me for now, next time from Phu Quoc!
All pictures taken with a Nikon Z6 + Nikkor 35 mm f1.8 or Nikkor 24-70 mm f4.0.