I had heard about Ninh Binh from other travellers who were coming up from south Vietnam, some go north to south, some go south to north depending on seasons and your route. Ninh Binh is known as Halong Bay in rice fields. The same huge limestone rock formations rise from the ground but at the base of the rocks are rice fields with a river running through them. I hired a motorbike guide and we set off for the day, the driver/guide and the motorbike was 16 dollars all in, a good price considering the bike and fuel would have cost about 8 dollars by itself. We headed for the hills and i went on a boat trip through the rice fields.
The lady rowing the boat rowed with her feet turning the oars and placing them back in the water in one motion, clever stuff.
We went under three caves until we reached the end of the river, as we turned around and started to go back a lot more boats appeared so it was a good decision to get there early.
As we neared the end the polite funny lady suddenly started saying ‘Goodbye, goodbye’ and then started yelling ‘Tip, Tip !!’ i guess it was the time to give her a tip before we got off the boat !!
Next stop was a trip to the Mau Cave, the cave itself was rubbish but the reason you go there is to climb to the view point above. Unfortunately this is 500 stairs to the top, there is no shade and it was a bloody hot day. People i met at the top were shattered, me too, it was an incredibly hard climb. The view was worth it however, it was a view just like the postcards that i had seen.