Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Vietnam Diary - Bai Dinh Temple and Trang An Boat Tour

Hi there, everyone. I hope you all had a great start of the week with little stress and more fun and relaxation. I just got back from a short trip to Germany and finally have a new post for you about our second day in the beautiful Ninh Binh.

Bai Dinh Temple

We started our second day in Ninh Binh quite late since we were a bit exhausted from the night before that we spent on the train. We left our hotel around 11am or so to go explore the Bai Dinh Temple that our hotel had recommended. Since we hadn't seen any bigger temple in Vietnam until then we decided to give it a try. We passed loads of green fields, watched a few locals while they were working and some peaceful water buffalos grazing on that misty morning. After a 20-minute scooter ride we finally reached the entrance of the temple complex where we had to park our vehicle to walk the rest. The moment we reached the site I was totally amazed by its size and peacefulness. 

The Bai Dinh site is a multilevel complex of Buddhist temples on Bai Dinh Mountain and offers a wonderful cultural but also spiritual experience. You can admire large well-maintained gardens, a tall pagoda, a bell tower and various temples there. The latter are home to numerous impressive, beautifully carved Buddha statues that are visited and worshipped by spiritual tourists who bring offerings of all kinds. I was also astonished at the number of golden Buddha figures adorning the endless staircases that led up to the temples. My boyfriend and I spent several hours at the temple complex because it was so huge and I wanted to see every little corner of it. Visiting Bai Dinh was by far our most beautiful spiritual experience in Vietnam. I felt so connected to the people visiting the temples as well as to their religion and felt so peaceful and grounded simply looking at the Buddhas' happy faces. I recommend this site to any Vietnam visitor, just the sizes of the complex and the Buddha statues are already worth a visit!

Trang An Boat Tour

After exploring the Bai Dinh temple complex for a few hours we headed to the area of Trang An to take a boat tour there. We chose this tour because the boat excursions in Tam Coc seemed to be much more touristy and more crowded. We opted for a three-hour boat tour that would take us through various caves and stunning nature. And we were not disappointed. For less than 10 Euros per person we had a fantastic time with our Vietnamese captain and another Slowenian visitor who shared the boat with us. The landscapes of the Trang An area are simply breathtaking and have an even more magical feel when it's misty outside. Huge mountains arise from the river, covered with plants and trees. The sky seems to touch the water while the fog creates an absolute silence. The caves you pass are long and dark but totally safe and well equipped with several lights so you can admire the rock formations. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our boat excursion in Trang An (despite some other noisy tourists occasionally passing by our boat) and it left us so tired that we only had a yummy Banh Mi sandwich that night and went off to bed...

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