Ninh Binh is an awesome site of giant limestone karst formations jutting out of the rice paddies.The best choice for Ninh Binh is to combine the trip with Ha Long bay trip. After Ha Long bay, you drive straight to Tam Coc for overnight instead of Hanoi. This not only saves your time but aslo helps you to have better timing to stay away from crowded time in Tam Coc. Most of people feel Tam Coc too touristy and commercial. Whereas, Trang An is a new destination and much better managed. This is the great site for nature lovers. The boat trip goes through dozen of limestone grottoes with beautiful scenery of mountain ranges, valleys, caves and rivers.
– After Ha Long bay, drive to Ninh Binh and check in hotel in Tam Coc
– Have dinner and spend another quiet night in Tam Coc
– 7.30 AM Start cycling from Tam Coc 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 2.5 hour 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.
– Cycle 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. The cycling tour is easy as the path is quite flat and short distance (around 12 km)
– Have lunch in a local restaurant.
– Driver will take you to Van Long Nature Reserve.
– Take rowing boat (1 – 1.5 hours) around the reserve to see wild life and the beautiful landscape.
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!)
Recommendations: It is good to combine Ninh Binh tour with Mai Chau tour.