Today was thankfully a bit more relaxing, starting with a one and a half hour boat ride through Tam Coc, sometimes called inland Halon Bay. The river system snakes between, and under, limestone mountains, and our trip took us through three low lying caves. Our guides where a husband and wife team who row tourists along the river five days a week.
I must remark on the knack the Vietnamese have for rowing with their feet. Whilst you may have seen it on TV and it may look simple, its not. The action is not just pushing the oar forward, the rower then rolls the oar under their feet so that it comes up out of the water somehow draws the oar back and then plunges it back in again. Amazing, and quick.
As we glide along we see lots of people out checking their fishing nets and tending to water gardens and at the midpoint of the trip there are a number of women selling sweets and cold drinks.
After our boat ride we joined back up with our guide and driver (who unfortunately had a run in with a bug in his eye and needed a trip to the hospital) for a visit to the Bich Dong Pagoda. This is a buddhist temple and is three levels set into the side of a mountain. The climbing is steep and once we have seen the the highest temple I perched on a rock whilst Simon and Hoang climb to the top of the mountain. I am grateful I piked when Simon returns dripping – saturated – and looking exhausted.
I wont go into another food related rant, we had lunch in a fancy tourist restaraunt and the food was not as good as the meals we have had in the local restaraunts and homestay, but it hit the spot and set us up well for our cycling.
Today it was only a lazy 25kms round trip. The highlight was a wander through the old capital of Vietnam, now a place of worship to the first two kings of Vietnam. The gardens where cool and shady and the temples full of artecfacts from the 1400’s as well as a number of statues. Heres a bit more footge of the riding:
We finished our day at The Legend Hotel. Four star and only three years old, the hotel is brilliant and our room houses the biggest (albeit firmest) bed I have ever slept in. We have spolit ourselves with a dip in the pool, a hot shower, drink in the 10th floor bar and buffet dinner. Big sleep now, to get ready for day 5.