Frangipani morning

I set off just after dawn to climb a nearby mountain in the sensational Tam Coc limestone landscape in northern Vietnam. These jagged mounds of rock rise almost vertically our of a completely flat plain of rice paddies. At the bottom of the mount is a sacred cave and a tunnel that takes you through to the Eden-like gardens and ponds next to the paddies and a river that winds between the rocks. On top is a statue of a Buddhist godess closely guarded by a dragon. Between the two are 450 steps of white marble winding up the face of this pinnacle. This beautiful Frangipani tree is very close to the summit and from here you can view the amazing mountains to one side and the flat plain to the other. In the sharp sun of early morning it is a very spiritual experience.

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