Hoalu Eco Homestay is 10 minutes out of main Nimh Binh town. Nestled between the Limestone mountains and surrounded by rice Paddy fields and rectangular raised dirt pathways which dissect the productive land that they farm so well. Goat herders, ducks, fish, dogs and Buffalo all share this magical place. We can highly recommend this amazing part of Vietnam. The air is fresh and clean, the sky mostly blue and it is peaceful.
The first day we decided to hire our own bicycles, this area is ideal for pedalling for hours with the kids due to it being flat and scenic. Our destination this morning is https://g.co/kgs/7Dqkgk , we are going to paddle (be paddled) down the Tran An river complex and visit the caves. Hiring bicycles we head off together as a family, the kids are excited as they peddle feverishly down the path, dodging dogs and pot holes, waving at local kids on the side of the road and loving that feeling of the wind on our face. Experiencing Vietnam on a bicycle is great, you really get the sights, sounds and smells as we make our way through the small villages. Marley and Elkie are so happy. Travelling along the main highway we see the large Pagoda on the right hand side where we will begin our river/cave cruise. Bicycles locked up and tickets booked we are greeted by the cutest little Vietnamese lady who was going to be our guide today. Packed into the boat we begin our journey down the river. The water is so clear, the aquatic plant life is amazing, little ducks diving underwater as the bubbles are released from between their feathers, fish leaping and beautiful waterlillies in flower. The river is wide and sits at the base of huge limestone mountains, locals are working the fields and the sun is beaming down on us, life is good. Slowly the river narrows and before we know it the boat we are in is entering a little cave at the base of the mountain. Skilfully our guide steers us through the narrow caves, little lights hang on the ceiling showing us the way. It is beautiful in the caves. The first cave is 350m long. At one of the Pagodas we stop for a beautiful lunch we had packed, lunch under a tree while the river sweeps past us. We lose track of how many caves, pagodas and amazing sites there are to see on this adventure, deffinitely a highlight for our family. We jumped back on our bikes and peddled home filled with a sense of achievement. Perfect first day, dinner and beers and the sun sets and the stars expose themselves. The nights are mild and peaceful.
The following morning we book a taxi and head into Nimh Binh our destination is the local Rong Markets. Dropped of out the front we are amazed at how little western influence is here. Everything possibly imaginaeable is available. Bianca and I love meandering the isles just looking, it is a feast for the eyes. Everyone is there to make a buck or two. Beautifully woven fish traps, goats tongues, flowers, herbs and spices, fruit, shallots, fish and crabs, it’s all here. As we wander through the streets we come across a cafe that is set back from life, it has hanging baskets, koi carp and a refreshing drinks menu, a nice place to recharge our bodies. Freshened we are in search of a supermarket, the kids are over menu food so we are going to get some supplies and return home for a rest and work out what our afternoon will be.
Bicycles, bicycle, bicycles……. We love it so much yesterday so we jumped on them once again. This time our destination is the Ancient City, this is Vietnams capital before Hanoi. We ride our bikes around the ruins, it is stunning, Buffalos wading in the river, pagoda incense in the air and the sun is setting over the Ancient City. We are all in such a happy place, bike riding suits our family, good times. Returning home we have our dinner on the balcony of our room, supermarket goodies all put together. Dogs nestle down for the evening and the stars begin to twinkle again in the Vietnam night sky.
Tomorrow we go full circle and return back to Hanoi.
Please take a look at our photo/video link: