Having ridden more in a week than I have in the past 20 years it’s back in the saddle to enjoy some of the stunning scenery that Nihn Bihn has to offer.
The incredible scenery starts literally outside our little hotel with towering green hills and placid ponds.
So many shades of green to enjoy – and so many uncomfortable bikes!
The sky looks grey and sullen but the humidity is through the roof – so ideal conditions for my lardy backside to be on a saddle.
The lush green rice fields stretch as far as the eye can see and I don’t think I will ever get tired of that view.
Pro-cyclist hubby has barely broken a sweat while I am trying very hard not to cough up a lung . . .
But the scenery quickly puts a cheesy smile back on my sweaty little face!
We cycle past isolated little houses nestled at the foot of huge limestone stacks.
It really is some of the most incredible scenery I have ever seen in my travels.
Reflecting on all this outdoor space, while self isolating due to the current coronavirus pandemic is starting to give me cabin fever!
We finally make it to our final stop, a tiny little local restaurant where we are stuffed full of local cuisine, including a Ninh Bihn speciality which is sort of like a large savoury rice crispy cake that you cover in sauce. Lovely!
Here’s the husband trying some goat wrapped in leaves!
We’re up early and out in order to take a sampan trip along the meandering canals throughout the three tunnel grottoes that give the area its name -Tam Coc.
We’re all set to enjoy the stunning landscape of mountains, canals, rice paddies and rural villages that makes up the National Natural Reserve zone known as Ha long Bay on the ground.
The mainly female rowers make it look easy with most of them using their feet to propel the oars through the water!
Tam Coc is a watery paradise with looming karst stacks smothered with greenery.
During the trip you pass through Tam Coc – three long, dark tunnel-caves -Hang Ca, Hang Giua and Hang Cuoi.
It barely feels like there’s enough head room to squeeze through so it must be harder still when the water is higher.
But the payoff is emerging back into the bright sunshine to gaze at the stunning scenery again.
The area is getting more and more commercialised however and we’re warned by our guide not to fall for the high pressure sales tactics, especially at the half way point where your rower will try and get you to buy them a drink from waiting sellers, only to sell it straight back to them for half the price!
However, hard sell tactics aside, this really is an incredible place to visit and the landscape is hard to beat.
Of course the hubby wants to give it a go! And our rower is only too happy to take a back seat for a while.
I love this peaceful snap that I managed to get of one of the rowers just paddling lazily as she waits to snap pics of tourists.
Meanwhile everyday life continues along the river banks with people washing, cooking and occasionally waving at the endless procession of boats that float past them.