The first trip to Hanoi from Hai Phong was pretty spontaneous. Jimmy’s cousin was driving his aunt to pick up another aunt from the airport so we tagged along. We decided the night before and packed two days worth of stuff for one night two days in Hanoi. However, as I was saying about how we didn’t love Hanoi at first – we were sort of over it the next morning. Meaning we realized we could potentially make it on a bus and go to the countryside while we were eating breakfast. So again we quickly packed up our stuff – talked to reception in our hostel and they said that the bus was leaving in 15 minutes and we could make it if we decide right away! So we did and off we went!
The tour included the bus ride there and back (2 hours one way), buffet style lunch, a bike ride through the countryside and a boat ride down a canal. Ninh Binh blew us away!! This was only our 3rd full day in Vietnam and it was so amazing. Vietnamese countryside is a so gorgeous. Super lush mountains – not as crazy as the Rocky Mountains but so picturesque. The vegetation and colours of the houses, potted plants and peoples clothes hanging out to dry is just so nice. Just a simple life, not polluted with the modern society. There’s something very artsy about it that I guess I am just not exposed to at all here in Canada.
That night we caught the last bus back to Hai Phong and walked from the bus station to Jimmy’s grandma’s. The next day I was talking to my mom and told her we went to Ninh Binh the day before and she was like “!! OMG Ninh Binh? Your grandpa was born there!”
How cool huh!? I had no idea. I knew my Grandpa was from somewhere in the north because of his accent but didn’t know where. Later on I found out my grandma was also born there – my aunt commented on a photo on Facebook.
Our bike ride was great. It was just a quick 30 minute ride on very flat land (thankfully, our bikes were barely working lol) but took us through some very pretty views. We eventually hopped back on the bus and they drove us 15 minutes to the beginning of a canal. Here we split into twos and was paired with a rower. Jimmy and I got paired with a young girl – we talked to her and found out she just does this a couple times a week. Everyone in the village gets to do this a couple times a week. So everyone gets to earn a little something from the tourists that visit Ninh Binh. Fair is fair! All the rowers also row with their hands for 10% of the time and then with their feet for the rest!! Very relaxing ride – again with amazing views. So peaceful and calm. Loved it.