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The Perfume Pagoda is difficult to get to from Hanoi: it requires about two hours in a minivan, followed by an hour and a half in a rowboat, and then a 45 minute hike uphill. As you read this, the river is probably packed to immobility with a boat-jam of epic proportions, as vast numbers of the citizens of Hanoi go right after Tet to pray for an auspicious New Year. I was lucky, going just before Tet - it was remarkably quiet. The Pagoda itself is a big cave - I've seen a number of limestone caves recently and was somewhat indifferent. But the scenery on the boat ride ... that was something else entirely. The river is lined with vivid green rice fields, and looming over them are karsts. Stunningly beautiful.

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Photo © 2008, Giles Orr

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Last modified 20160719 by giles