Sunday, May 9, 2004

Slow Boat to Tam Coc

rolling down the river

One of the highlights of our Hanoi trip is our day tour to Tam Coc. Tam Coc is a small farming community just a couple of hour's drive from Hanoi. The main attraction here is a boat ride on the river that runs through the rice fields.

The scenery is amazing. Being the start of summer, the rice crop is halfway grown, lending a bright green carpet of paddy that sprawls across a scenic landscape of fields and limestone hills melding at the horizon. A river weaves through the fields and cuts through the rocks offering a most wondrous journey you can have on boat.

Mae and I get into a boat with a middle-aged boatman and his niece. While Uncle rows the boat upstream, Niece chats us up - getting us comfortable for the kill! After an hour upstream, we take a break in a "lagoon" (for lack of a better word) where other boats approach corner us, peddling beer, soft drinks and fruits. Here, we're "encouraged" to buy some refreshments, if not for ourselves then for our boatman! Some tourists ignore these requests but we didn't mind since we had grown quite fond of Uncle and Niece by this time.

On the way downstream back to the pier, another sales pitch begins. This time Niece opens this huge tin chest and brings outs an assortment of embroidered articles, which is a booming home-industry at Tam Coc. It's reasonably cheap here (after strenuous haggling, of course!) with an embroidered tablecloth costing anywhere between USD 7.00 and USD 9.00.

At first I was hesitant about leaving Hanoi for Tam Coc (I'm a boring guy, what can I say) but Mae coerced me into it. Okay, she practically twisted my arm! But boy, I'm glad she did!


  1. beautiful pics, man. what camera do you use, by the way?

  2. happy mothers day mae.
    James go treat your wife :) ....somemore

  3. Hey james, wish Mae a Happy Mothers' Day on behalf of all of us bloggers eh? ;)

  4. are you going o lead a tray of clues for Mae? :lol:

  5. go easy on her, don't want her to bend down to pick up things ,do we? :)