• Breathtaking scenery around Tam Coc and Hoa Lu
• Cuc Phuong national park with unique plants and animail life
• Stone Catholic church of Phat Diem
• Spectacular sampan ride along Ngo Dong river.
Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Phat Diem – Tam Coc
Our guide and driver will pick you up at hotel at 08.30 in the morning a 2,5
hour drive will take you to the rural town of Ninh Binh, which is located in one
of the most beautiful parts of Vietnam, with its dramatic scenery, historical
intrigues, religious pilgrimage sites and endangered animal sanctuaries. The
town of Ninh Binh is an ideal base to venture out on short small day trips. En
route we will stop at the centuries old brick kilns, a war memorial, picturesque
rice fields… We will then continue on to the town of Kim Son to visit Phat Diem
Cathedral, the centre of Vietnamese Catholicism, we will take a guided tour
around the immense 19th century stone cathedral. We will also visit a factory
where villagers produce handicrafts for the churchgoers, then return by bus to
Arriving in Ninh Binh, you will have a chance to visit Tam Coc ( Three Caves )
travelling through Ninh Binh’s rice fields which have earned nickname Halong Bay
without water, a moniker borne out by the limestone karsts which dominate the
landscape. You will take a boat to and through the caves, past spectacular
cliffs, liliputian villages, and remote farming communities.
The restaurants around Tam Coc are a special way to enjoy some local food
specialties. After lunch, we jump on our vehicle for a short drive to Hoa Lu.
The 24km drive will take you through spectacular scenery of rice fields, karst
mountains and quaint rural villages, you will pass glowing lime kilns used by
locals to extract lime from the nearby mountains.
Hoa Lu is the site of the former capital of the Vietnamese state, post Chinese
rule in the first millennium. The site was chosen for its geographic location,
which made it virtually impenetrable and served as the capital from AD 968 until
it was moved to present day Hanoi in 1011. Though nothing remains of the
capital, the attraction is the raw beauty, the temples dating back to the 17th
Century, the King’s Tomb and the simple life of the farmers in the region.
On completion of the cycle tour you will return to your hotel to have a cool
drink, wash and dinner. You may want to have a look at local markets where you
will see typical Vietnamese trading without the tourists.
Meal inclusions: Lunch and dinner
Overnight: at hotel in Tam Coc
Day 2 Ninh Binh – Kenh Ga – Cuc Phuong national park
Leaving Tam Coc we head for Kenh Ga, once you arrive in the floating village of
Kenh Ga your guide will organise a private boat. Many travellers to Kenh Ga
justifiably refer to the area as Halong Bay with rice fields, but for others,
there’s no comparison; the magnificent natural beauty of the town’s surroundings
knows no equal. Still largely undiscovered, Kenh Ga remains an amazing site to
explore without the distractions of flocks of tourists.
This part of the trip is an opportunity, not only to visit the floating village
but also to see the spectacular limestone mountains that jut out from the rice
fields and the river that gently meanders through them. You will also be charmed
by the smiling, waving children, and have an opportunity to explore a water
carved cave featuring thousands of year of mineral and rock formations.
After your tour of Kenh Ga a vehicle will transport you back to Ninh Binh for
lunch. Following this you will drive the 45km to Cuc Phuong National Park . On
the way you will pass pineapple plantations, ethnic minority groups, beautiful
scenery and rural villages. Arriving at the gates at Cuc Phuong National Park
will give you the opportunity to view the Visitor Information Centre which will
highlight features of the park including the numerous hikes on offer, ethnic
minority groups, the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre and rare wildlife.
The late afternoon provides the best time to take one of the short treks through
the park such as the Thousand Year Old Tree trek. These walks vary in difficulty
and your guide can match you up with the right trek depending upon how active
you are feeling. Following your close-up experience with the nature in Vietnam
you can retire to your accommodation in the National Park
Meal inclusions: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Overnight: at guest house in the national park
Day 3 Cuc Phuong – Hanoi
After breakfast you will drive to the Cave of Prehistoric Man where locals still
pay homage to the prehistoric artefacts that have been found in the cave.
Departing the National Park you will have the rare opportunity for a guided tour
of the Endangered Rescue Primate Centre by one of the resident German
zoologists. In the centre are 15 of Vietnam ’s 25 species of primates including
the extremely rare Cat Ba Langur. The primates are brought to the centre for
rehabilitation before being set free in the National Park.
After spending the morning in the forest we jump on our vehicle again for the
drive back to Hanoi
Meal inclusions: Breakfast.