We cycled into the Tam Coc boat dock near Ninh Binh in North Vietnam, left our bikes near a group of Vietnamese people and purchased our tickets. It wasn’t overly touristy here but a guy from our hotel had recommended this place as a beautiful tourist attraction. The boats appeared little more than a thin sheet of curved steel, I hoped they were safe. A small Vietnamese lady was our guide / rowing peddler. I felt a little sorry for her as we (being Westerners) were considerably heavier than her (we tipped her after!). I had no idea what to expect, but honestly I was totally blown away. It was such an intimate experience –  getting up close and personal with the rocks. The boat tour actually travelled underneath caves and when you are floating through these tiny gaps of cave darkness, you can really appreciate the power of these mountains.

I don’t think words can really do justice on how beautiful this place is, so I hope some of my photographs do…

Our boat was similar to this




Some of the locals selling food and beer out on the lake
Travelling through one of the low crooked caves




One of my favourites. So many colours and the water looks beautiful.

When we were returning our boat to the dock, we noticed that one of the other boat guides had hit her head on one of the rocks in the caves. Once we were back on dry land I grabbed my bike and cycled to where she had docked her boat and tried to explain that I am a medic (I am in the ambulance service in London) and I wanted to have a look at her cut. She did show me and it was pretty deep and at risk of infection. She also had a haematoma (bruised swelling) on her forehead which needed looking at. I said ‘hospital’! She needed a stitch. I was doing hand demonstrations of a stitch, at which point one of her male friends was there too. They understood what I was saying but she refused to go to hospital and simply asked me for ‘dollar’ before jumping back in her boat and rowing away. This made me sad. It really highlights the abuse of our ambulance service here and when people abroad really need help but either do not have access to it or cannot afford it.

4 thoughts on “My Tam Coc Boat Trip Experience

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