Beautiful day at Wareham, Dorset, England.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Keinton Mandeville, Somerset, England.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Birmingham, England on May 19th!

Monday, March 4, 2024

Out for a bike ride, then off to the big city of Hanoi

On Monday, our train to Hanoi didn't leave until just after 4:00pm, so we had most of the day to do some more exploring.

We rented a couple of bicycles and decided to ride up to the tourist boat port of Trang An just to see some different scenery and check out the area.

Despite all of the hills in the landscape, the actual road and path system is totally flat. So it's easy bike riding terrain.

Ruth took a photo of me on one of the roads.

These boats mostly looked like older ones no longer in use.

There are two large commercial operations running tour boats in the Ninh Binh... and several smaller ones. The two large ones are located at Tam Coc, and Trang An. This is the Trang An one.

It's a big operation, employing hundreds of people!

People heading out on tour boats.

It costs 200,000 dong ($8 USD, $11 CAD) and you can choose between three different routes lasting between two to three hours.

Personally, having done a one hour tour with a private operator the day before, we think that two to three hours in one of these boats would be too long, especially in the hot sun. However, these routes do include stop offs at a couple of temples, so at least you can get out and stretch your legs.

It's definitely a pretty area.

The boat operators do a lot of sitting around waiting for their turn to take people out.

We sat in the shade and watched how things work.

All of the employees wear these green shirts.

There is a big fancy building for the washrooms and of course coffee shops and restaurants.

Scenery along the way.

On the way over, we had seen an SUV with a rooftop tent parked here.
What a great overnight spot!

I had seen a lunch place on the way over that looked like it had a beautiful view, so we stopped in there for lunch...

The view from our table!

Ruth had the falafel salad.

I forgot to get a photo of my bun thit nuong. That's the same dish I'd had in the market at Vinh the other day. It wasn't quite as good this time, but still not bad. Just different.

Then we rode back to the hotel and paid the bill. They arranged a driver to take us to the train station, and we boarded the train to Hanoi right on time at 4:13pm.

The train is slow, and it stops a few times along the way. Maximum speed was about 55 km/h (32 mph), so it took us three hours to go 100 kms (62 miles).

We arrived right in the center of the big city of Hanoi (pop 8 million in the city itself, 20 million in the greater metro area), and walked the 1.5 kms to our hotel located right in the old quarter. I figured that if we only have one and a half days to explore, we had better get a place right downtown.

Our room is in an old building with no windows.

The facilities.

The bathroom reminded me of an old hotel we were in in New York City a long time ago where the bathroom was so tiny you barely had room to turn around.

But it's fine. We're here because of the location, and for 634,000 dong ($26 USD, $35 CAD) a night, it'll do. Besides, we're only here for two nights, then we fly to Bangkok Wednesday evening.

The weather here in Hanoi is nice... forecast high of 27C (81F) and sunny, with 25C (77F) and sunny tomorrow.

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And in Canada...


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