We lucked out with no rain and a tiny bit of sun. I caught up again with my Alaskan friends and we checked out a national park, sweaty 30 mins hike for a great view as the island is gorgeous as well.
We headed south to tam coc (nickname Halong bay on land) near Ninh Binh. Our place was a short cab ride and then a 20 mins walk through some fields; my friends wee a bit concerned about the place I selected.
It paid off at the end as it was next to the limestone cliffs and our bungalow was adjacent to the cane that you can see in our open air bathroom.
We motor biked to a pagoda and the ancient city. I've been noticing the cemeteries are so beautifully colored and decorated with artwork. They are pretty big and vary In styles.
We enjoyed our cultural experience during lunch at a local restaurant. These guys were all drinking their homemade rice wine and wanted to do shots with us. It's impolite to say no as it is a super social thing here.
My friends were nervous because they were driving. Before and after each shot they shook our hands. My friends said no more; after 4 the local guys let us go. After some picture requests, they gave us two small bottles.
My Alaska friends were on a quicker schedule than me so I decided to cut my time short to continue travelling south.
Cat Ba island pix link
halong bay pix link https://goo.gl/photos/YdQohaamq7CMtqV87
Tam coc pix link https://goo.gl/photos/9JLt3QwPCFJQwcxX6