Located in the northeastern province of Ninh Binh, the Ngo Dong River meanders through a rural landscape, passing verdant rice paddies and jagged limestone formations. A stretch of the Ngo Dong passes through three limestone tunnels, often referred to as caves or caverns. A popular tourist trip is to take a row boat from the village of Van Lam through these three caves. In Vietnamese, the three caves are called Tam Coc.
In Vietnam, women do a lot of the physical labor, including rowing tourists up and down the Ngo Dong. What’s most memorable about the Vietnamese women that operate the boats is that they use their feet to proper the oars. That’s right, they row with their feet.
I booked my trip to Tam Coc through my hotel in Hanoi. Tam Coc is most often done as a day trip from the capital. My trip included stopping at a couple of temples in Hao Lu before setting off on the river.
Tam Coc was a great trip. I’ll never forget the women rowing with their feet.