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, climbing into the limestone karst hills is an option. 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)
*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 that 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 birds’ sound and the oar’s gentle paddle upon the crystal-clear river.
*Option 2: Thung Nang
Like Tam Coc, though not as spectacular, Thung Nang is a pleasant alternative off the tourist trail. Pass through a cave, and fields of lotus flowers (in summer), and reach a quaint pagoda before returning on the same route.
After the boat journey, drive back to Hanoi arriving late this afternoon.
Meal Included: Lunch