At the end of April and beginning of May, Vietnam has a two day public holiday. From what I hear, all of Hanoi disappears so I chose to take a two hour train ride south to Ninh Binh. I would say this is a small town that is becoming more and more popular among the foreign tourist crowd. Rightly so because the landscape is what dreams are made out of. I was there 48 hours and only did two scheduled things. A boat ride and staircase climb up a hill/mountain. The rest of the time I spent riding a bike aimlessly, sitting at my hostel looking at the view, or just breathing the fresh air. Here’s a few memories I’m taking with me.
Because it was a public holiday, I think it was a little more crowded than usual. The boat ride through caves was packed but it seemed to be mostly Vietnamese travelers. In my boat there was a young couple with a son, a Vietnamese girl from Hanoi traveling alone, and a Japanese man. The Japanese man spoke the most English but the Hanoi girl was the most eager to talk to me. One boat went past us and yelled “Nǐ hǎo” and the Japanese man shook his head and said “I’m Japanese, not Chinese”. Lol, shoot. On the cave tour there were a couple of land sites that we got out of the boat to explore then had to wait for the whole group to come back together to get back into the boat. While we were waiting I saw the dad was trying to take a picture of his kid and I was in the back so I stepped out of the way because I assumed he wanted the scenery in the background. But when he moved his kid back in front of me I went, “Oh, you want a picture of me! Oh!” I should have known. My last memory is when I decided I would rent a bicycle instead of a scooter for a change of pace and to have a break from helmet hair. But it was was the first day of the season that was genuinely hot and sunny, and as I was sweating through all of my clothes, I was convinced there has never been a human who has sweat more than I did that day.