Saturday 24 May 2014

Hanoi Travel Part 14: An Unforgettable Boat Ride Through Trang An Grottoes.

A visit to Trang An Grottoes is highly recommended if you are in Hanoi. It is only 90km away from Hanoi but it took close to 2 hours by van [inclusive of a short break] to get there.
Our tour to this place was organised by The SinhTourist, a local travel agent in Hanoi. For RM110 per pax, the itinerary include tours to Trang An Grottoes, Bai Dinh Pagoda, lunch and return journey to our hotel in Hanoi.
Trang An, with the river and mountains as background is a scenic place.
Entering the docking area.
A couple of hundreds boat peddlers were waiting for customers to board their boats.
Unlike Tam Coc Grottoes, most visitors to this place are the locals.
Each boat takes six and most of the boat peddlers are women.
The Vietnamese tourists are friendly and extremely chatty. 
We passed by a few ancient temples along our journey.
The first temple.
A monument perched on the hill.
We were approaching the first grotto, located under this tall limestown hill. 

As our peddler rowed through we had to keep our heads low to avoid sharp boulders protruding onto our path.
Exiting the first cave.
Entering the second cave: Sang Cave is only 112 metres long.
Exiting Sang Cave
This whole area is surrounded by limestone mountains which encompasses 31 valleys, most of which have been submerged by water. There are about 50 caves (dry and underwater)  but we went through only eight of them.

Entering the third grotto.
It would have been pitched dark if not for the light bulbs placed inside.
Some natural formation inside the cave.

Nearing the exit.
 Finally in the open again.
The entire place - the mountains, grottoes, submerged valleys were like a complicated maze which is not easily manoeuvred by simply anyone. 
 Seo Cave measuring 100metres is our 4th cave.
Rowing in and out of underwater grottoes, constantly dipping to keep our head and body safe from injury is part of the adventure of this trip.
This place is still unspoilt and offered countless eco-charms. The water is green and calm and the quietness and serenity, a natural therapy.
Entering the 5th cave.

The 2nd temple we passed by.
Entering the 6th cave.

Another temple we saw on our journey.
The 7th Cave - Tran Cave (250 metres)
Out in the open again.
Our 8th and the last grotto.

The boat ride was about 2 hours and this lengthy ride must have been hard on the peddlers. To give their arms a breather, many have mastered the art of rowing with their legs.
Some samaritans help out by using the extra oars to lighten the burden of the peddlers.

Our journey ended here. I wonder how many trips a peddler can make a day as the lengthy rowing is apparently a very daunting task. 

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