Day 1: Hanoi Ninh Binh Phat Diem Trang An
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 Ninh Binh.
Arriving in Ninh Binh, you will have a chance to visit
Trang An tourism complex, travelling through Ninh Binhs
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 Trang An 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 Kings 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.
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, theres no comparison; the magnificent
natural beauty of the towns 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
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.
We spend the night at hotel in Tam Coc.
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.