Girl travels,

North Vietnam - Ninh Binh | Day 1

4:47 AM UrbanModish 0 Comments

Ninh Binh

Post our cruise, we went on to experience another beauty that is Ninh Binh. It’s a quaint town, but so very beautiful.

We reached there in the evening and went to see the Bai Dinh pagoda.

Bai Dinh Pagoda is Southeast Asia’s largest Buddhist complex. It consists of several temples and over 500 intricately carved statues of Buddha, including one that’s made of bronze and is 10 metres in height. Set within the Gia Sinh Commune, it attracts a huge crowd of local devotees and travellers looking to pay their respects and have their fortunes told by the resident monks.

It is visually stunning and soul stirring. The sheer beauty of the pagodas, the magnificent views from atop make this place worth visiting. It doesn’t have an entrance fee, but you can take an electric car 2 ways, you might need it if you get tired real soon.

I was a kid at a candy store at Bai dinh, oohing and aahing at every step. We reached past 5:30 p.m and hoped we could make the most of and see most of what the complex had to offer. We first went to the tall structure which was 12 floors high and saw some gorgeous Buddha statues. Food and water offerings were all around the Buddha statue. Don’t forget to check the ceilings, they are in a league of its own.

We then went to a check a tall statue of the laughing Buddha. It was a very steep climb and we ran out of breath, but managed to reach the very top. Proud and happy.

We went around Bai Dinh without a map and just went with our instinct, and saw some magnificent statues, and the place smelled faintly of incense, the eerie silence was cut through by some insects chirping and the faint ruffle of the leaves.

We were the last tourists for the day. Towards the end we were really tired and opted went to get an electric car to get us to the exit and that’s when I realized I lost my wallet. It had my money, my debit card, and my ID card.

I obviously panicked, but tried to calm my nerves (with no avail) I wanted to walk back all the way, but my mom wasn’t one to let me go by myself as it was dark. We did plead with the people at the counter, but they didn’t seem to budge. Then as a miracle, and it truly was. One of the boys gestured us to get into the electric car. For a moment I thought he was going to ask us to leave, but he helped us. We walked back all the way through all the places minus the excitement and found my wallet.

That moment got us all emotional. I could have easily lost my wallet and not have realized till I got back to the Hotel. It was a miracle for that boy to have had the desire to help us. All I can say is that I had angels, and my patron saint, St. Anthony take care of us throughout the trip.

Post all this, we were joined in by two more men. They asked the taxi guy to come and pick us, and they didn’t let us go by ourselves. I was telling my mom, how safe I felt, and was also upset that if this situation had played out in India, I’m not certain how safe women would feel (topic for another day, perhaps).

Our taxi driver was kind too. He waited all that while patiently (there is no waiting charge btw). I was famished post the entire ordeal and asked him to take us to a local place for food. And we went and had the most amazing bowl of pho.

The food although looks so simple, is so tasty and flavorful. I enjoyed every last slurp and was ready to call it a day.

Read Day 2 here

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