Why, oh why, do I never learn that when travelling in Asia you MUST reserve train travel well in advance? If you don’t, the best seats are taken and you have to go with what’s left. Which is usually some crowded compartment with hard wooden benches to sit on.
We had the hotel in Ninh Binh organise three motorbikes with driver for us for the whole day, to take us where and when we pleased. We paid $12 each, though we could probably have got it cheaper but we had negotiated the cost of the trip with the price of the hotel room
After a crazy bus journey packed with locals with their many parcels, children and animals, we arrived in Ninh Binh. It was 6pm and was already dark. The bus left us at the “bus station”, which was basically the corner of the street, and we set off to find a place to stay.