17.07.2010 - 17.07.2010
As a safety precaution, Vietnamese authorities had evacuated the whole costal area around Halong Bay, which is why we could not spend the night at Cat Bah island. So we went back to our hotel, the Splendid Star 2, which is kinda of our home in Hanoi at this point and fortunately they had rooms for us. Since we had a spare day, we decided to go to Ninh Binh, the ancient capital, which is two hours south of Hanoi. The weather was not that great, the bus was not very comfortable, but we had a interesting experience. After visiting the palace, we went for a tour in a river trough limestone mountains (the same as what you see in Halong Bay). Tourists board a small row boat where local folks row you for 2 hours in the beautiful scenery. Of course, another woman also jumps in your boat to help with the rowing with the expectation of a tip, and will try to sell you some stuff mid-way. It was rainy but quite fun after all. Oh... I forgot... Oscar and Matthias got to ride a buffalo... which, without a doubt, was the highlight of the day!