Sightseeing in the rain on the motorbike upon a slippery road
Unfortunately, it was wishful thinking that the weather in Ninh Binh would have changed overnight. Also today it keeps raining continuously, no downpours, but anyway. So I stay reading in my room in the morning. But after lunch, I decided to do some sightseeing in the rain. I go to the Bich Dong Pagoda, again with a motorcycle driver. And it is worth the visit still, though you need to make some effort. The road behind the Tam Coc lake, upon which we have to ride another three kilometers, is one large slippery mud pool. My driver, however, is agile and calm. When we arrive, I compliment him on his driving skills.
A black marble Buddha in an unlit cave
The pagoda itself is a top attraction. You have a few temples in front, but when you ascend a stone staircase, you will arrive at a new one with an unlit cave next to it. Together with an Asian tourist, we dare to enter the cave. And the reward is magnificent; an enormous, black marble Buddha flanked by two kings is awaiting. As the place is really dark inside, I need some trial and error, but in the end, I get the statue nicely on camera. Even my Asian fellow visitor congratulates me on the result.
A dedicated guide explaining everything in Vietnamese
A path outside leads to a temple slightly higher up. This place of worship is less worthwhile after the previous discovery, but still. Once descended, I continue my sightseeing in the rain and notice a sign to another cave, 200 meters away. Curious as to what I am going to find here, I start climbing the slippery rock path … to arrive at a closed cave. But no worries, a Vietnamese man has spotted me and opens the gate. With his flashlight shining, he leads me in and gives an explanation with a complete dedication about the stalactites and stalagmites, all in Vietnamese. Afterward, I tip him for his enlightening exposition.
My sightseeing in the rain ends with a banana and tea at a temple
Then my driver brings me to the Thai Vi temple, where I get a guided tour by the supervising monk. After giving a donation, I am treated with a banana and some Vietnamese tea. While the temple itself is beautiful, I am not impressed as I have seen so many already. However, I return satisfied to my hotel. My two days of sightseeing in the rain here in Ninh Binh was definitely worth a stop. And if the sun had shone, the extensively green landscape with the karst cliffs would have been even more breathtaking.
Hue seems to have flooded
At dinner, I have another lively conversation with two German couples. One couple is leaving with the sleeper bus to Hue tonight until it appears that the city has flooded. As they are not really looking forward doing some sightseeing in the rain they start to doubt; all in all, the couple will take the risk of traveling to Hue to see what the situation is on the spot, depending on that they will stay or move further immediately.
Arranging my return to Hanoi
I briefly inquire about taking the bus to Hanoi. According to the owner of the guesthouse that is a reasonably easy trip; every hour a local bus leaves for the capital. She only needs to make a call, and the bus will pick you up at the hotel. Together with the other German couple, we decide to take the 9 o’clock bus.