March 25, 2016 – Day 5
We had like 2 hours of travel from Hanoi to the province of Ninh Binh. Our first location was Hoa Lu, the capital of Vietnam during Dinh & early Le dynasty. Then, the Trang An complex comprises of the Trang An, Tam Coc, and Bich Dong ecological site. Trang An is one of UNESCO’s heritage sites.
We visited Hoa Lu temples of the Dinh & Le Dynasties. The temple was impressive like other temples we went to. But like other temples we went to, the feeling I got was the same. I don’t understand the term ‘temple burnout’ before but now I know exactly what they mean. You like to explore and see more temples but somehow you feel like you already see it or the experience feels the same.
We had a three/four hour boat ride along Ngo Dong River surrounding rice paddies and limestone karsts. While enjoying the scenery, we also passed Tam Coc (three caves).
The weather was so cold for this boat ride but we still did it. It was our last day so we have to seize the opportunity of experiencing it. The moment I realized that it was freezing was when we got off the boat. The wind was chilly. I ordered a cup of coffee but it did nothing to my freezing hands.
Chả Cá Lã Vọng is a known Hà Nội dish of marinated fish, grilled over charcoal then pan fried in fat. This was the most luxurious meal I had in Vietnam. We spent all our Vietnamese Dong lavishly in one night, our last night in Vietnam.