After 5 days of hectic Hanoi I needed somewhere slighty quieter to escape to! So took a Xe Om across Hanoi to Giap Bat Bus station, brought a ticket for Ninh Binh and jumped on a bus. Unfortunately it didnt go anywhere fast! Took almost 2 hours just to get out of the bus station because about 40 buses were trying to leave at once and the whole station exit got completely gridlocked. Anyway in Ninh Binh I found a great guesthouse with a lovely owner, Xuan, who sat down with me and drew a map for a bicycle trip to Tam Coc, only about 7 km south. The trip was amazing! Its so stunningly beautiful, water filled ricefields surrounded by huge limestone karsts, totally amazing! I took a trip up the river in a rowboat to the caves of Tam Coc then cycled around the local sights visiting Pagodas, Temples and climbed up Mua Mountain. Stunning! This to me is the real Vietnam, tiny little villages, friendly people and stunning scenery! Definite highlight of Vietnam so far!