I think the name of this attraction is designed for lazy people. There is a cave and it is called Mua cave so I can see how it was given the name.
However, the cave isn’t really the main thing here. There’s a hill with several Pagodas built on it, when you walk up the hill, you are rewareded with views across Ninh Binh including the views over Tam Coc.
If the area was called Pagoda hill or something similar, I’m sure the lazy ones wouldn’t bother going to it.
Without a tour guide, this place is quite difficult to get to but we hired bikes from our hotel and armed with no more than a very inedaquate map, we departed to find the place.
The map had about 3 streets on it and it was as useful as someone saying just go out the door, cycle for a bit and you’ll find your way there.
After about 5 minutes on the bike, we stopped to have a look at the map – it was then that we discovered how bad the map was.
In Asia, it seems that people all over the place are friendly and want to help people. I have written about one or two who charge too much for food but they are massively out numbered by the decent people.
As we stopped, a girl on a moped stopped and asked if she could help us. We told her where we were going and she drove at a very slow pace so that we could follow her and she directed us to our destination.
After leaving us with two final instructions, she returned to tell us that she meant ‘left’ instead of ‘right’ at one point so off we went to find the cave.
I’ve mentioned earlier that the cave isn’t much to write home about and it isn’t. That’s why I’m writing more about the journey there.
When you arrive, you can pay a security guard to park your bike. I think it’s a the same as paying a guy at the football to watch your car. You are paying for them not to smash your windows or burst your tyres. Here, you are paying for them not to damage or steal your hired bike.
The grounds themselves had a small pond with some statues in them and then you find your way round to the cave. There was a sign up saying that during a war (either with French or the US), the caves were used to treat injured soldiers.
However, there was nothing to say where that happened and certainly no way that we could see to get into the caves. With a torch, you could see some very small and narrow tunnels but there was no way of knowing how long they ran for or even if people could have fitted into them.
Outside of the cave, there are steps which is the start of hill that holds the pagodas.
In total, there are 3 of them built on the hill. Health and safety clearly wasn’t take into account for the builders here either. There’s a large pagoda on the edge of the hill with nothing but jagged rocks between the path and it.
How the materials and people were moved there to build it remains a mystery to me.
To get to the top of the hill, there are 400 steps. Some of them are quite steep and some are a bit dodgy looking, I wouldn’t want to walk up here with flip flops. I was close to going back to the bottom and asking for crampons and a climbing rope.
The path is also used by goats. We didn’t see any but there was plenty of evidence left behind by the goats alongside a pretty strong smell at one or two parts of the walk up.
When you get to the top, the reward is the views over the countryside. One side, you can see the city and the other side, Tam Coc where we were going to cycle to next.
400 steps isn’t really very much but in high heat and humidity, it certainly warms you up.