Delve deeper into Vietnam’s past with this picturesque Ninh Binh day tour. Explore the atmospheric ruins of Hoa Lu, Vietnam’s ancient capital, before taking a scenic sampan journey past ‘Halong Bay on Land’. Admire stunning limestone karsts and enjoy the tranquillity of the countryside before returning to Hanoi.
Hoa Lu and Tam Coc - Full Day
Today’s tour will begin at 8:00. Escape from Hanoi this morning after breakfast, leaving the busy streets of the capital behind and entering the quieter countryside.
After around 2.5 hours of driving, reach Hoa Lu. Join the guide for an in-depth exploration of the ruins of Vietnam’s first capital. Learn about the Dinh (968-980) and Le (980-1009) Dynasties and about the history of the site. See ancient tombs and the ruins of the once-imposing Citadel.
If feeling fit, there is an option to climb into the limestone karst hills. The half-hour walk is rewarded with spectacular views over Hoa Lu and its surroundings.
Return to the vehicle and drive to Tam Coc, crossing through local villages and stunning landscapes. Enjoy a lunch of Vietnamese dishes before continuing to the Tam Coc River. Board a private sampan for a journey through ‘Halong Bay on Land’. Admire the views of enormous limestone karsts jutting out of the green rice fields while the boat cruises along the calm waters. (note: other optional tours can be done in place of the Tam Coc sampan trip. Please see below)
There is an option for another adventurous climb, this one to Ngu Nhac Mountain. The path leads to three cave pagodas dating back to 1428 and offers more stunning views over the countryside.
After the boat journey, drive back to Hanoi arriving late this afternoon. (L)
*Option 1: Trang An
Situated near Tam Coc, Trang An is a nature reserve similar to Tam Coc, however far less visited. Limestone hills surround a peaceful river which passes through a series of caves (one which takes 15-minutes to pass through in darkness). An ‘eco-tourism’ area, the only interruptions here are the sound of birds and the gentle paddle of the oar upon the crystal-clear river.
*Option 2: Thung Nang
Similar to Tam Coc though not as spectacular, Thung Nang is off the tourist trail and a pleasant alternative. Pass through a cave, fields of lotus flowers (in summer) and reach a quaint pagoda before returning on the same route.
- Please be aware that some women on boats may try to sell local products to tourists. Guests should refer to their guide if this situation makes them uncomfortable.
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