I took a day trip to Ninh Binh today. It’s about 3 1/2 hours southeast of Hanoi.
First, here’s a look at motorbike traffic during rush hour this morning as we were leaving town. The downtown streets were nearly impassable.
Ninh Binh is Vietnam’s first capital from 968 to 1010. Prior to that, Vietnam was ruled by the Chinese. When they won their independence from China the then king of Vietnam decided to make Ninh Binh the capital because it was easy to defend being located in the limestone mountains and with rivers all around it.
In 1010, a new king decided that their army had grown enough to defend the country and the population of Ninh Binh had also used all it’s available area and could no longer expand, so he moved the capital to Hanoi.
Today we visited the original capital and the temple that honors the first king.
The grounds are beautiful even for something as old as it is. The original capital building has been destroyed but the temple is still there. Pictures are not allowed in the temple.
After lunch we went for a boat ride on the river where the women row with their feet.
The nearly two hour ride up and down the river was very quiet and relaxing. We went through three caves/tunnels.
I learned a valuable lesson on this trip. Don’t raise your camera over your head to take a picture in a dark cave. Especially if you don’t know how much clearance you have overhead. Luckily for me nothing was damaged except for a scrape on one knuckle and a little embarrassment. The picture wasn’t all that great anyway!
And no matter the mode of transportation, there’s always someone who has to be on their cell phone while driving!
I fly to Da Nang tomorrow. $38. The ticket says the fare is $7 with $31 in taxes. I believe it.