Sunday, 25 September 2016

We jumped on the train in Hanoi and made our way down south to Tam Coc in the Ninh Binh Province for three full days. Tam Coc, at least in my opinion, was one of the most beautiful places that we visited in Vietnam - limestone mountains amid peaceful rice paddies. It was like being transported back in time.


We stayed at the absolutely gorgeous Tam Coc Garden Resort which is located in the midst of the limestone mountains and rice paddies, it was definitely one of the best places that we stayed in. The resort is based off an authentic Tonkinese village with stone houses and tiled roofs, bamboo groves and surrounded by lush garden and orchards. Our room was one of the deluxe bungalows, it was so elegant and we had the most amazing views of the mountains and rice paddies. I highly recommend staying here if you visit the region, the staff were incredible and welcoming, the food was delicious, and there is so much to see and do.

After being welcomed with a traditional lotus tea, we settled into our gorgeous room and then made our way for a row-boat cruise through the Thung Nang (also known as the Valley of the Sun). It was absolutely stunning, the country side was so peaceful and untouched, there were water buffalo in the river and cows hiding in the shade from the intense heat. The last cave that we were in was full of bats! I've never seen a bat in real life so it was incredible to see so many of them. Definitely go on the cruise if you visit, it was really cheap overall - although they do ask for more money at the end of the cruise (but totally worth it).

Our second day involved us grabbing some bikes and making our way to Thung Nham Bird Valley. The day was SO. FREAKING. HOT. I'm always one for sunblock, but because I was so concerned about getting Dylan covered (ginger and pale, what a combination) I completely forgot and consequently got incredibly sunburned. Apart from that, the Bird Valley was gorgeous. The bike ride was my favourite part as we got to wind off the beaten path and went through some rice paddies and see things that aren't overly touristy. We also ate some TERRIBLE milky durian ice blocks - Dylan's pick. He thought they were pineapple. I can still taste that weird onion aftertaste when I think about it.

The last day was a bit more relaxed, we headed to the Linh Coc Pagoda which is a small pagoda hidden in the limestone hills, explored the area and then headed back to our accommodation where we relaxed by the picturesque pool and snacked to our hearts content. I'm still not over how cheap the beer was. SO CHEAP.

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