Day 05 - Saturday, April 14, 2012 - Boat Through the Trang An Grottoes; Visit Hoa Lu, Leisurely Dinner, Train to Lao Cai
Pho for breakfast, listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival, and sitting next to four cheerful ladies from Sydney, AU… where are we? What a diverse culture we are experiencing!
Our departure time was at 8:30. It was 80° and 88% humidity, with no breeze. We loaded our bags and then drove southeast to see more of the interior of Vietnam.
Even though it was Saturday, the traffic seemed to be just as congested as we saw on the week days. Our trusty driver maneuvered through honking horns and thousands of motor bikes once again.
We drove out into the country on Highway #1. We passed lush green rice paddies, small vegetable plots, groves of bananas and mangos, and many ponds with ducks and fish.
The land is now owned and farmed by the people and capitalism is encouraged. This land is known as the Tonkin Delta; with very flat low lying land with water everywhere.
The economy has improved and as long as a family has a TV, a motor bike, and the rice jar is full, people think of themselves as wealthy. One of the major businesses is selling motor bikes; Yamaha and Honda are the big names!
Cuong told us about the many cemeteries we saw along the way and the procedures for death and burial, and reburial in the rural villages.
Our road trip ended in Tam Coc and the Trang An Grottoes. We boarded small wooden canoe-like row boats and were rowed through a series of limestone hills and valleys, seeing caves and rivers. We saw ancient village temples and many rice fields.
From Trang An, we continued on to Hoa Lu. Historically, Hoa Lu was the capital of the Dinh Dynasty from 968 to 980 AD, and from 980 to 1009 it served the Le Dynasty.
We were able to walk through the ancient temples. We also saw many of the artifacts found in the excavations.
Traveling back to Ha Noi, Cuong invited us to visit his home and meet his family. We had time to take a shower. We then had traditional meal with Cuong’s wife, brother, sister, and his children.
At 8:00 we drove to the railroad station to catch the overnight train to Lao Cai. We thanked our driver and boarded the Fanxipan Train and settled in for the night.
Accommodations: Overnight on the Fanxipan Train – Private Cabin for 2 - - - Meal: B
Please see our Trip Evaluation -- Click Here -- A Complete Review of Myths and Mountains -- From Vietnam to China: Ethnic People of the Border -- Vietnam with Le Van Cuong