Hanoi, First full day

We definitely wanted to get out of Hanoi for a day to see the country.  Our original thought was we would go out to Bai Tu Long Bay but realized the night before that it was a 3.5-hour drive just to get there.  I do not like being in a car for more than an hour so we regrouped and went to Ninh Binh which is about 2.5 hours certainly depending on the driver and traffic.

Driving on the highway is more like driving down a long road with store after store and some farm areas in between.  We finally got to Ninh Binh.  It is a beautiful mountain with water flowing around it and caves inside.  These spots are essentially their national parks.  I felt like we were lining up for a taxi.

It is a nice reprieve from the chaos of Hanoi.

We really couldn’t go deep into these caves because the water is high this time of the year.

After we were finished they drove us to a place for lunch that was in the middle of nowhere on extremely rural roads.  None of us were particularly excited about this including our meal that included grilled goat.  The rain that came was torrential so instead of a leisurely lunch we took our beers and made our way back to Hanoi.

Loved seeing this person with green tea strapped to their back.

We got back to the hotel, hit the pool, took showers and went out for dinner.  We went to Cao Go which is up on the 7th floor and overlooks Hoan Kiem lake that sits in the middle of the old quarter.  The food was mediocre at best.  We are attempting to try the mango salad everywhere we go.

Then we walked back to the hotel where the streets are closed to cars starting on Friday night and ending on Monday morning.  There are multiple events happening from karaoke groups to Jenga.  Really feels lively with all the young people and their families.   Gives you a real sense of the city.