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Vietnam – Day 10 – Tai Chi in Hanoi, cycling in Ninh Binh

After the long night in the VIP cabin of the King Express train, we arrived in Hanoi at 4:30 am, when the city, still in the dark ( there are no public lighting in the streets), was slowly to waking up.

Fitness for everyone in Hanoi

At first light, we walked from the station to the city old district (20-minute walk), and we began to notice more and more people, stretching and doing small physical exercises.

Arrived at the Hoam Kiem Lake, the heart of the city, at about 6am, the spectacle in front of us was surreal, almost comical: everyone, absolutely everyone, old and young, was doing a physical activity of all kinds: group dance, running, tai chi. There were those who merely moved his leg, who only its head, who only one arm, curious movements that I later discovered to correspond to Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art, very popular in Asia.

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A generic hyperactivity situation, already at 6 am, never seen before!

Still asleep from the uncomfortable night on the train, we felt literally stunned by all this movement and hyperactivity all around.

Time for an Egg Coffee

The stop at the bar, to try the typical Hanoian Egg Coffee, helped to wake up before taking another train, this time for Ninh Binh. The Egg Coffee, is one of the most popular drinks of Hanoi, also called “the liquid tiramisu”. It is actually a cream made from egg yolks, sugar and condensed milk, which is then poured over the hot Robusta coffee, making it very very tasty and delicious.

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Train to Ninh Binh

The final destination of this tenth day of traveling is Ninh Binh, famous for boat trips to Tam Coc and Trang An, among the karst rock formations and caves, and so called, the terrestrial Halong Bay.

So we arrived in Ninh Binh, Hanoi, at 11:30, two hours and a half away, and then take a taxi in ten minutes took us into the village of Xuan Ang Noi, where we expect that will be the best home stay of the whole trip: the Limestone view of the homestay likeable Mr. Dzung who welcomed us with so much joy.

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A quiet evening stroll by bike among the spectacular karst rocks

Once placed the luggage in the large and clean room with a panoramic view of one of the rocks, we immediately took the bikes (free) and started to explore the village and surroundings.

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Suggestive the visit to a Buddhist temple where a century-old monk, was celebrating a ritual reading from an old book and beating time with a wooden stick on a small bell. I wanted to see his face and photograph him, but we didn’t know when would the prayer last .

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We continue cycling among the beautiful large karst rocks surrounded by rivers, houses and ducks. That was a magnificent setting and so relaxing tour!


About my photography

Just a day of rest, only a few photos made during the bike ride in the small village and the nearby countryside.


Useful information

  • The local train from Hanoi to Ninh Binh (carriage SE5), costs only 80.000VND and the ride takes 2: 30h approx.
  • Where to sleep: “Limestone view homestay” in the village of Xuan Ang Noi, is a great accommodation, perfect for exploring, in a very short distance, Trang An (2km) and Tam Coc (5km). Rooms are very spacious and clean.

The day in pictures (iphone 6s)

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