This is a skill in itself
I decided to go to Ninh Binh as several back to back public holidays meant that room prices and train/bus tickets doubled or tripled in price. Being a dot on the map town Ninh Binh accomodated me for $6 night which included hot water, TV and privacy.
I wanted to go to Ninh Binh as it is the place to stay if you want to go to the National Park (Cuc Phoung). I had oringinally intended to stay overnight in the National Park but it simply wasn't in my budget. Instead I took the 120km round trip on the back of a motor bike for $12. My back pocket thanked me while my butt screamed in agony from the bumpy roads and confined space. It was definately worth the pain though as the views were spectacular. In fact, it must come close to being my favourite day so far. The mountain air was fresh and clean and my driver Hub took good care of me.
I was in a state of bliss walking through the park, just myself, some frenzied mosquitos and the scenery. My peaceful state was only interupted by my celebrity-ness. For some reason I was greeted by
Soaking up the sun
This was just before they handed me a paddle! Yes, I rowed my share that's for sure.
the local tourists with great enthusiasm, taking photos, touching my hair and pinching my cheeks. It was incredibly funny as I was decked out in my grottiest clothes and posing for close to 1 million photos. They didn't seem to mind though!
The day before I had also met John and Lauren, a couple from NSW. They took me under their wing (along with another girl from Austria) and it was wonderful to have beer o'clock with them. We also hired bikes and rode around Tam Coc. That day the weather was clear and the view- magnificent. That day cost $4 including bike hire, park entry and a boat ride up the river. I love the freedom of riding a bike and in the park we were away from the hustle and bustle of the bus, car and motorbike noises. Another great day.
This morning I had breakfast in our hotel, and began talking to some young girls deciding what to do in Ninh Binh. We ended up having breakfast together and it turns out these girls are future volunteers at Seametrey. Yes, Ana and Lena will arrive at the end of May for 3 weeks at the
View from the top of Bich Dong temple
school. Another crazy coincidence.
So I'm back at the Hanoi Backpackers for at least tonight and maybe tomorrow too. I'm trying to get a train ticket to Sapa but I might have to take the bus if things get desperate. What are your plans this weekend? Any wild plans anyone? Mum, are you home tonight or tomorrow for a Skype catch up?
Love you all. x
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