Tam Cốc-Bích Động, Ngo Dong River, Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam.
Visitors have a love hate relationship with Tam Coc - and Ninh Binh in general - thanks to the aggressive nature of the touts that descend upon them the moment they disembark from their day trip tour buses from Hanoi. Solution? Don't get on the day trip tour bus from Hanoi. Cruising the river is fun, but it's not the only reason to come to this corner of Vietnam. The surrounding countryside is some of the wildest in the province, marked by rugged limestone mountains and verdant terrain. We spent three nights in Ninh Binh on this trip and ripped as deep into the countryside as our motorbikes would take us. We met local villages, feasted on fresh mountain goat, and climbed mountains for views over the river like the one above. We didn't meet a single tout once we were away from the water, though I was chased through one rice paddy by a particularly ornery goat.
By Flash Parker, AFAR Ambassador
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