We awoke early on board our floating, private hotel. The first activity of the day Tai Chi on the sun deck. The sun was barely lighting up the morning sky. The morning mist blanketed the island’s limestone peaks jutting straight out of the water, providing an other worldly feel to our surroundings, as we began our movements, following our instructor. A light breakfast was served and then the tender boat took the group to one of UNESCO’s 7 natural wonders of the world. It is impossible to describe the beauty of Surprise Grotto. Returning, a more robust breakfast was presented. This would be our last meal on the boat that day. The crew was great and we headed back to the launch sight to board our bus for our trip to Ninh Binh. We spent about 4 hours on this leg of our journey. We found the lines on the road are merely a suggestion. The ride was a little hair raising but our expert, native driver handled it easily. Close calls, covering our eyes and slowing moving for the water buffalo were all part of the adventure.

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Along the way we were able to stop and visit with a rice farmer. She was kind enough to allow some of us to jump in and transplanted some of the rice seedlings. Just as the sun was setting in Ninh Binh we arrived at our luxurious Hotel. This is to be our first evening to venture out with locals, if we chose to soak up a little Vietnam after dark. Karaoke was the activity of choice and is was a great time held by all that participate. Looking forward to what the next day brings.


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Barb Liebenstein & Yolanda Cotterall


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