We left Ha Long Bay and headed towards Ba Be National Park. We knew we wouldn’t make the whole way so we chose a half way point on the map. So we decided to head for Thai Nguyen. We got halfway into the journey and wanted to grab some food. We drove and drove but all we could see was cafe’s or little shops. We just stopped at one and had a look if they had anything or at least a cup of tea! The lady who owned the shop spoke no English at all but with ‘Google Translator’ we managed to get by! She got Leila a coffee and Harry some hot water for his tea bag. (Harry can’t stand coffee and since Laos, he has carried Lipton tea bags around with him as local tea just doesn’t live up to English tea) She then appeared with two packets of instant noodles and insisted on making them for us. While they were being made her husband sat with us drinking coffee and smoking his tobacco through a large bamboo bong. This is a traditional way of smoking tobacco in Vietnam and he offered Harry a go. Harry gave it a go but it was so strong it made his head spin a bit, so that was the last time for that! After finishing our noodles we were back on our way.
After about four and half hours we arrived in Thai Nguyen. We had a drive through town, pulled up somewhere and decided where to stay. We chose ’Sunny House Resort’ as the rooms looked great and it was 700 Dong per night. We arrived and parked our bike in the car park, got ourselves checked in and relaxed for a bit. While in the room we got a phone call from reception asking if we would like dinner. Tired from the drive we thought this would be the better option than trying to find somewhere around town. They called us when dinner was ready and we headed down to the restaurant. It was so tasty we ate here the second night too!
The following day we had a look what was around us and decided to head to ’Núi Côc lake’. We headed to town for breakfast and had our first ‘pho’, which was delicious. Then we drove towards the lake. We arrived where ‘Waze’ took us, looked around, and thought.. where is the lake? We turned down a road to the left where we was greeted by a local man and his dog. Speaking with our hands we tried to say we wanted to walk to the lake and he pointed us through his buildings where we found the lake. The weather wasn’t the best as it was extremely cloudy but the lake was still amazing. The lake was enormous and on a clear day we imagine the views would be beautiful. We couldn’t walk very far as the path disappeared so we walked back to our scooter and headed to what ‘maps.me’ said was an attraction. We thought maybe this is where we could get a boat around the lake from. We parked the bike, was hand signalled to buy a ticket and walked up to the gates to found out it was actually an amusement park.
Although we seemed to be the only people there, it was quiet spooky but good fun at the same time. And for 130,000 Dong you can’t really go wrong! A lot of the park was under maintenance or had seen better days, Leila managed to brave one of the rides though after checking a few times that the ride had been tested for the day. In the amusement park there was also a zoo, mainly crocodiles and ostriches. There was guard dogs in small cages too, but after Leila’s experience in Coorg India, it spooked her out a bit as there was no one else around if any of them escaped! We finished our walk around the amusement park and jumped back on the scooter to the hotel. We arrived back to the hotel, had dinner and planned where to go in ‘Ba Be National Park’.
Tip: Make sure you have a translator or know some Vietnamese as we found no bilingual people here!