We took a tourist boat down the Perfume River (Suong Huong) to a really nice pagoda. Surprisingly, I liked the boat ride. While it was noisy, it gave us an nice slow view of the river banks and the weather was perfect. Afterwards, we headed out to the Citadel. That evening, we took an overnight train to Nam Dinh. I was grossed out by the dirty sheets and had a hard time sleeping. Even though we had a few hours to sleep in a hotel nearby, the night was a total disaster. I was ready to high-tail it to Hanoi.
We started the ride in Ninh Binh, and the pain of the previous night was forgotten. In the morning, we saw limestone karsts rising out of the land (and some water due to the recent floods). We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant where a woman and her children cooked for 18 in a single wok in a matter of half an hour. It was one of our favorite meals so far. In the afternoon, we rode next to (and possibly through) a small mountain range on our way to the National Park and the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in Cuc Phuong.