18 May, Vietnam – ‘All Over The Place, Asia – part 2’

Woke up in the old colonial town that we ended up in last night, with some lovely old French style buildings dotted about. They clearly considered it an area worth living in back in the day, and once we got to Tam Coc and climbed aboard a small rowing boat on the Ngo Dong river I could see why. Huge limestone columns and hills tower over the river, with the odd temple perched on top, and there are three caves you have to pass through along the way, with no more than 2 metres clearance. Over a thousand tourists a day take the trip up river, and there’s the added gimmick that the people who row the 3 man boats do so with their feet.

That was the main reason we were there, and once we’d spent the morning being rowed up and down river with Ricky and I pretending to be Bear Grylls it was time for me to have a go at rowing with my feet too. It didn’t go well. I’m not a great rower at the best of times, with an inability to remember which way I have to row to turn the boat left or right, so adding my feet into the equation proved to be a disaster as I crashed into parked boats and accidentally splashed Vietnamese boatmen. Should make good telly though!

After filming, all the male members of the crew splashed out on green pith helmets, which a lot of the men here in Northern Vietnam seem to wear. Not sure what I’m going to do with it when I get home, but since they were £1.50 each I couldn’t help myself.

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