Saturday, June 30, 2018

Saturday June 30 - Going North

We drove north to Ninh Binh Province in North Vietnam. I think the trip was an hour or two

First thing we did was stop at the Trang An Grottoes. You get in a boat, and your rower starts rowing. You CAN row if you like, but you don't have to. The rower did the majority of the work. Apparently there are a LOT of rowers. A rower might work once every 5 days and have other jobs ... this is just the occasional gig. So, this was our first view as we rowed out. The mountains are called karsts.

The landscape was really beautiful and we mostly we enjoyed watching the scenery.

We were headed to caves. This was one ... you can zoom into the middle of this photo and see the caves ... low to the waterline!
You had to watch your head inside the cave. They were dark, low, and very very still.

Eventually we came to ... a place were we got out and walked up 800 steps up and over a karst, and to a temple area. Here we are on the steps.

And K at the temple.

And some behind the temple pictures.

After that we were hot and headed to the hotel. We stayed at the Tam Coc Horizon Bungalow in Hoa Lu, which I would recommend for everybody! Wonderful people, amazing food.

Lunch, or at least some of it. SO. DELICIOUS.


Then we had a rest, and then a bike ride to a temple. Dirt roads, ducks, motorbikes. This is the view along the route we took.

The temple was built into the mountain, basically. Here is the entrance.

The first level of the temple, the Celeste temple, where they said was the origin of Buddism. This temple was thought to be the origin of Buddhism. Celeste, a member(?) became a Buddah and returned to earn to relieve the pain of others. 

Second level, in the mountain. See the waterfall? You walk in and behind and around through the cave.

And then out and up again.
The view. The sun was starting to get lower.

And then up some more. We walked up and up and up. Where the people are at the bottom is where I took the above photo.

This was the last level. You could climb up from here but 1) there was a sign saying not to and 2) we were wearing flipflops. Not sure it wasn't possible, but we decided to stay at the lower temple and not trek up the rocks to that higher peak above A.
The roof of the temple.

And dinner. DINNER. My favorite bit:

And the next morning, this was the view of the karst from our room.

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