|Ngo Dong River viewed from Mua Cave|
The boat trip took around 1h. The boat trip boasts surreal karst beauty along the Ngo Dong River. Rowers use their feet to propel the oars, as the route negotiates Tam Coc's three caves. The name Tam Coc derives from old Chinese: Tam (three) Coc (caves).
|Boats leave from the pier in Tam Coc village|
|Enjoying the karst landscape at a slow pace|
|Mesmerising area known locally as "Ha Long Bay on Land"|
|Lotus flower that the rower plucked it from the water; by the way lotus is the national flower of Vietnam|
|One of the three caves viewed from outside|
|Interior of one of the three caves|
|Magical riverine landscape|
|Sheer limestones rising up from the paddies|
After the boat trip I rented a bike and cycled through rice paddies (now they were harvested) to get to Mua Cave. The name means "Cave of Dance". What makes Mua Cave a must in Ninh Binh province is the panoramic view from the peak above. A stone staircase beside the cave entrance zigzags through the karst and it's almost 500 steps to a simple altar to Quan The Am Bo Tat (the Goddess of Mercy).
|The way to Mua Cave|
|Prepare for a bumpy ride|
|The stairs to Mua Cave view point are guarded by a dragon|
|Ngo Dong River winding through Tam Coc|
While I was climbing down from Mua Cave view point I heard someone say, climbing up hearts my lungs, climbing down hurts even more my knees. I agree with that. After all the effort it was time for a well deserved lunch.
|Grilled goat meet - local speciality|
My next stop on my 3-week itinerary in Vietnam is graceful, historic Hoi An, Vietnam's most atmospheric and delightful town.