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Overview

Discover a corner of Vietnam where ancient history and stunning landscapes collide. Travel from the modern capital to the first capital city, Hoa Lu and admire ancient relics. Explore the limestone karsts and rice paddies of ‘Halong on Land’ before boarding a boat to cruise the real Halong Bay. 

Trip Highlights

Hoa Lu, Tam Coc & Halong Bay

Explore historic Hoa Lu

Visit Vietnam’s first capital city and admire the tombs of former emperors and the crumbling walls of the Citadel.

See stunning Tam Coc

Board a wooden row boat and cruise a river surrounded by towering limestone karsts and vibrant rice paddies.

Cruise Halong Bay

Take an overnight cruise through the UNESCO-heritage site of Halong, admiring the scenery and dining on fresh seafood.

Itinerary

1

Hanoi - Hoa Lu - Tam Coc - Ninh Binh

Hanoi to Ninh Binh (110km):2hrs

This program takes one to the beautiful ancient capital of Vietnam, Hoa Lu; to Tam Coc, for a sampan cruise through picturesque landscapes; and to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Halong Bay, with its stunning limestone outcrops scattered in an emerald sea.

Depart from the hotel early morning for the 2-hour drive through rural northern Vietnam to the site of Vietnam's first capital, Hoa Lu. Visit the temples dedicated to Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang of the Dinh Dynasty (968-80), and Emperor Le Dai Hanh of the Le Dynasty (980-1009). The ancient Hoa Lu Citadel, most of which has since been destroyed, once covered an area of three square kilometers.

Afterwards, if time permits, take a half-hour walk up one of the surrounding limestone karst hills. The climb is rewarding with spectacular views.

Next, travel to Tam Coc, for a Vietnamese lunch.  Stop en route to take photographs of local villages and the stunning landscape.

After lunch board a private sampan* (see options for Tam Coc sampan trip below). As the boat gently slices through the water, notice the enormous limestone karsts jutting out from the green rice fields giving rise to this area’s other name, 'Halong on Land'.

For the adventurous, climb up to Bich Dong Pagoda on nearby Ngu Nhac Mountain.  This pagoda is comprised of three structures dating to 1428: Ha, Trung, and Thuong Pagodas, in ascending order.

*Option 1: Trang An

Situated near Tam Coc, Trang An is a nature reserve similar to Tam Coc however 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 (in summer) and reach a quaint pagoda before returning on the same route.

Note: 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.

Spend the rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight in Ninh Binh.

2

Ninh Binh - Halong Bay

From your chosen hotel in Ninh Binh to Halong Bay (160km): approx. 4hrs

This early morning be transferred by road from Ninh Binh to Halong Bay.

Arrive at the pier in Halong Bay towards noon and proceed with check-in formalities for the overnight cruise. After the welcome onboard, lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay itself. In the afternoon, enjoy some visits and/or activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on-board. Towards the end of the day the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board.

Overnight on Halong Bay.

3

Halong Bay - Hanoi

From Halong Bay to Hanoi (160km): approx. 2.5 hrs

Enjoy a fresh morning in the middle of the bay, the sun rises on Halong in the morning and breakfast is served (brunch on some boats) while the vessels cruises slowly through the magnificent rock formations and back towards port. Disembark and transfer back to Hanoi or Haiphong.

Note: This tour may be subject to change depending on weather conditions.

Important Information

Our services include:

  • Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • English or French speaking guide (for other languages supplements apply)
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
  • Boat trips as mentioned in the itinerary

Our services do not include:

  • Other meals than mentioned
  • Other services than mentioned
  • International and domestic Flights
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Tips, Travel insurance

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