E convinced us to rent motorbikes rather than bicycles, and it was awesome! The scooters were easier to ride than a motorcycle (though the one I drove stalled if I didn’t keep my hand on the throttle at a stop or slow-down, which made things interesting a couple of times). Ninh Binh was a great, quiet area to ride around in. Little traffic, and plenty of small roads and lanes through rice paddies that were fun to explore. Without much of a plan for the day, we headed out roughly in the direction of Hua Lu (ancient city), but allowed ourselves to get lost among the country lanes. We stopped at a small cafe for Vietnamese coffee (no English), and eventually did wind up at Hua Lu.
For lunch, we stopped at a restaurant, but realized it was an overpriced tour bus stop and left. Instead, we returned to see our friends from the previous day, and they were so happy to see us again. They hung out for awhile and wanted to know all about us – how old we all were, whether we were married, etc. One woman was particularly interested in me due to my very pale skin, which was a bit awkward… eventually we headed out (them making sure our jackets were all zipped up so we’d stay warm on the scooters).
Next stop: Mua cave (and the peak above it) – with a detour down a cute country lane into the rice paddies / fishing pond.
Then, one last coffee / juice before heading back to our hotel before dark. A super fun day, and no rain (thank goodness!). We capped it off with cocktails on the floating raft just outside our hotel.