With a 100km drive through rural northern Vietnam, from Hanoi to Ninh Binh, much closer to Hanoi than Halong Bay, yet just as breathtaking, this up-and-coming destination offers surreal limestone karsts, tranquil boat rides and the Vietnam’s former capital, Hoa Lu, is a short ride on the bike for 12km down the road from Tam Coc(Three Grottoes). Explore the two temples, Le Dai Hanh and Dinh Tien Hoang, there remains as stunning as it was over a millennium ago, when the complex was the political center of Vietnam.
We start our tour at 7:30am with a 120km drive through rural northern Vietnam, from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. Our first stop is at Hoa Luu (Click View 360) – the first royal capital of Vietnam’s centralized feudal state from 968 – 1010 led by three dynasties of Dinh, Early Le and Ly. After visiting the two remaining sanctuaries of the ancient citadel, we start our 12km cycling trip through country roads from Hoa Lu to Tam Coc (Three grottos). On the way we will stop to take photos of the farmers working on their rice crop with the magnificent scenery of Limestone Mountains in the distance. After 1 hour cycling we arrive to Tam Coc resting and enjoy a good buffet lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon take a sampan on a river through the rice paddies to the grottoes of the sacred Tam Coc Caves. Enormous limestone karsts jut out from the green rice fields giving rise to this place’s other name, ‘Halong on Land’. Late afternoon we return to Hanoi, the trip ends.
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