Taiwan and Vietnam


Day 11

Ninh Binh day trip

We had a 7:30am pick up this morning so we had an early breakfast and got picked up by a black van. After picking up another group of three our tour guide introduced himself and explained the plan for the day.

Enter via the gift store

As the journey was about two hours, we had a stop over along the way where we could use the bathroom, buy some breakfast and had the opportunity to buy some over priced souvenirs.

Some history of the three dynasties

Nihn Binh was the first capital of Vietnam and while most of the palaces, etc. have been destroyed, there are still two temples representing the first two dynasties.

To the best of my recollection of the history, the first temple is for the first emperor of Vietnam, who was the first person to unite twelve different tribes of Vietnam and allowed them to stand up to the invading Chinese.

He had three children and when it came time to pass the power to one of his sons, he thought the second son was most suitable to control the country, however the first son was jealous and ended up killing the second son to gain power.

The second son and the father were both subsequently poisoned leaving only the six year old, third son. As he was too young, the wife made the decision to marry the minister for the military which have him power over the country and started the second dynasty.

The second emperor had four sons, who also tried to kill each other and in the end there was only one son left who was known for being very cruel and sleeping with a lot of women. This emperor was known as “the lying king” because he died of hemorrhoids and while he was in power, he couldn’t sit up right. Our tour guide called him “the sexy king”. The memorial for him was much less elaborate.

The captial city was moved to Hanoi after the invading threat from China had passed as they didn’t need the defensive position in the mountains anymore and they could make use of the flat ground to improve the countries economy.

I’m sure I’m missing some details there but it was interesting history.

The next stop was a hike up a mountain, there was a looking point at the top and while Bec was able to float to the top with ease, the rest of us struggled a little more. The view was worth it though and we could see the river that we would eventually get to cruise down.

Interesting, there was a couple of people that brought their pet monkey, it was on the shoulders of its owner on the way up and had a leash. Not something you see every day!

River cruise

Once we got off the boat, it seemed like we had gone over time as we were supposed to have gone for a bike ride but we got back in to the car and started the journey back to the city.

Of course we had a stop over for the long ride at the overpriced souvenir shop for a toilet break too.

500 steps

Buffet lunch

After getting back down the mountain, the next stop was lunch. We were all pretty tired and sweaty and most of where wearing the wrong clothing, I was in jeans but we eventually cooled off a bit and had a big meal from the buffet.

After lunch we went down to the harbour, put on life vests and boarded a boat. The rowers have a pretty interesting technique, they row the boat using their feet and the trip is about an hour and a half!

The view along the river is pretty nice between the mountains and we got to see the mountain we climbed too. Once we reach the furthers point of the cruise, there are other boats selling food and drink. We bought a beer for our rower and once we were back where we started, we gave him a tip. We were warned up front that this is expected but it seems worth it considering it’s a pretty long ride and they were doing all the work!

Pho dinner

Once we got back, we all wanted to have a shower and freshen up and instead of going to a fancy restaurant, we found a pho restaurant nearby to keep it simple tonight.

The meal was nice but for me there was too much spring onion and not enough meat so I was still a little hungry by the end. Anth and Amy were the same and they wanted to go to lotteria, an burger chain around Asia. I ended up getting a fried cheese stick after being so impressed with the cheese dog in Taiwan. It didn’t compare but wasn’t too bad anyway. We had a quick stop by the convenience store and headed home to pack for the cruise tomorrow and get an early night for another early start tomorrow.