Discovering landscapes in Sa Pa and Ninh Binh

Having spent a couple of days in Vietnam’s heat, I decided to take a sleeping bus (beds are in Asian size, not so comfortable for me) further north in the mountains to Sa Pa, which is known as one of the most beautiful landscapes in Vietnam, with huge rice fields and lots of green spots.

Unfortunately, I was unlucky enough to spent almost all time in rain. No beautiful sights at all, so no reason for me to stay longer than a day and a half. At least I met James from America who had been travelling for four years and who knew Vietnam very well. He showed me some nice corners in town and shared with me his sad ending love story with a Vietnamese girl who apparently was particularly interested in his money. Later, Dong told me that this sort of story is not the only one she had heard of.

Because of the bad weather I decided to leave Sa Pa earlier and had one day more, which I spent in Ninh Binh. Beautiful little city!

And also the first time for me to try to ride a motorbike by myself. I was quite nervous before I started, since traffic rules do not exactly work as I am used to. But soon I realized there was nothing to worry about as long as you know how to beep the horn.

I think this day was probably one of the best: Even though I got to know a very nice group of French guys and we took a canoe together to discover the cliffs and caves in Tam Coc, 9km from Ninh Binh, I couldn’t wait to be alone on my bike again and just drive without any destination. I didn’t want to follow big streets but rather enter in small lanes, where local life took place. Again, people welcomed me with a big smile and a “hello” on every corner.

At some point I saw a big tunnel and although I was on my way home I changed plans and entered. Behind I spotted a big lake and steps to something that looked like a temple. I climbed the steps and discovered a big cave illuminated with golden lights. Inside there was an altar decorated with Buddha statues and jags, all in gold. The temple smelled great thanks to joss sticks someone had lightened. I was really impressed by its beauty. In front of the cave, from the building I had seen downstairs, I had an amazing view all over the lake and the mountains next to it. I was almost the only person, and it felt great.

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