– 7.30 AM: pick up from hotel in Hanoi and drive to Phat Diem Cathedra – the most distinctive Catholic church with strong traditional Vietnamese design elements and a rich history. This region has been a stronghold of Catholicism in Vietnam for centuries and continues to host dozens of active churches.
– Drive to hotel in Tam Coc; check in and have lunch
– Drive to to visit Bich Dong (Jade Cave) with 3 pagodas: Lower Pagoda, Middle Pagoda and Upper Pagoda located on the mountain
If you really want to avoid touristy sites, it is recommended to do the boat trip in Thung Nham or Thung Nang instead of Tam Coc.
– Free and overnight at hotel.
Meals: lunch (dinner by your own expense)
– After breakfast at hotel, start biking to Trang An. You will pass by local villages, rice fields. This is a good chance to see how people work on the fields. After more than one hour cycling you will get to Trang An ecotourism complex – the great site for nature lovers.
– Take the rowing boat trip to go through dozen of limestone grottoes and enjoy the beautiful scenery mountain ranges, valleys, caves and rivers. This is compared as “outdoor geological museum” with the system of 32 million-year-old limestone caves.
– Continue biking to Hoa Lu – the ancient capital of Vietnam and visit 1 of the 2 temples of 2 emperors Dinh and Le from 10th century and learn about historic events.
Notes: The whole cycling tour is easy as the path is quite flat and short distance (around 12 km)
– Have lunch in a local restaurant.
– Drive to visit Bai Dinh pagoda – the Spiritual and Cultural Complex of Buddhist pagodas- the largest pagoda area in Vietnam with the biggest gilded bronze Buddha statue in Asia (you should skip this part if you continue to Mai Chau)
– Drive back to Hanoi. The tour ends in Hanoi around 17.00.
Meals: breakfast, lunch
Inclusive services: mentioned meals, hotel, rowing boats, entrance tickets, private car/van, guide, bicycles.
Exclusive services: Drinks, tips
Notes: Long clothes are needed for any pagoda and temple in Vietnam (make sure not too short!)