DAY 1. HANOI – NINH BINH [-/L/-]
08:00: Depart from your hotel for a 2,5 hour drive through rural northern Vietnam to the site of Vietnam’s first capital, Hoa Lu, the capical of Vietnam in the 10th century. Visit the two remaining sanctuaries of the ancient citadel: temples dedicated to Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang of the Dinh Dynasty and Emperor Le Dai Hanh of the Le Dynasty. The late morning, depart for Tam Coc town for a Vietnamese lunch, along the way stop where you wish to take pictures of local villages and the stunning landscape.
After lunch board your 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 other name “Halong on land”.
Should you feel adventurous climb up to Bich Dong Pagoda on nearby Ngu Nhac Mountain, dating to 1428 and comprising three structures: 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 Nham
A rowboat ride on a small river through 3 caves that give you the impression of being in a magical space. Inside the 3rd cave, there is a large stone resembling an elongated Buddha that brings luck, happiness and prosperity to man. This place is called the cave of Buddha. Then landing for a walk (10 minutes) in the amount up to Thien Ha cave (Celestre river) where you will continue a boat ride inside the cave over 300 meters with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.
Check in hotel in Ninh Binh at the end of the day. Dinner on your own. Night at hotel.
DAY 2: NINH BINH – THAI BINH – HANOI / HAI PHONG [B/L/-]
Breakfast at hotel. 07:45: Depart to Thai Binh province for an in-depth discovery of the Red River delta life: the century-old temples and pagodas, the tranquil villages with authentic life style, the peaceful countryside, surprising encounters….
09:00:Visit the Keo pagoda which is one of the most unique and spectacular structure in Vietnam.
10:00: Continue to a peaceful and luxuriant village (30 minutes) located on the bank of the Red river which is recently known for growing mulberry and raising silk worms. During your time with the villagers, you will learn about the sericulture technique: from the mulberry cultivation to the life cycle of a silk worm and how to rear them.
Lunch at the home of a local family in the village. After lunch, depart to Nam Cao village where you will discover the traditional method of weaving which has exisited and developped for many generations.
Heading to Dong Xam carved silver village. The village is widely famous for its silver processing which has existed since the 17th century. The fame of Dong Xam Silver is known not only in Vietnam, but also overseas. Dong Xam’s silver products are characterized by strange styles of cube and appearance as well as sophisticated and well-proportioned decorations under delicate and perfect skill. Walking around the village, meeting with artists to discover their unique technique and visit Dong Xam temple, dedicated to Nguyen Kim Lau, the founder of silver engraving work. The temple consists of a number of the magnificent and beautiful architecture works.
16:15: Return to Hanoi (2.5 hours) or continue to Hai Phong (1.5 hour).
DAY 1. HANOI – NAM DINH – HAI HAU [-/L/D]
08:00 Pick up at Hotel in Hanoi and transfer to Nam Dinh
09:45 Our local tour guide pick you up in Nam Dinh city and start to discover Hong Quang Village – one of the most beautiful of Water Puppet villages in Vietnam, experience how to do the Puppet and enjoy how to play puppet in water.
Continue your visit to Co le Pagoda
12:00 Have lunch with local food at Ecohost Hai Hau.
14:00 We will cycle around the villages and visit Pham Phao cathedral and traditional brass trumpet making village. On the way, you will also see Tile-roofed bridge was build in 16th century with unique architecture. Explore of the daily life of local people and understand about the ancestor worship village. Visit Pham Phao Church and explore the day of Catholic People and discover about the life style of living in the land of Church.
19:00 Enjoy dinner with typical local foods. Overnight in Ecohost Hai Hau – living with enthusiastic of local people.
DAY 2. HAI HAU – VAN LY – HALONG/NINH BINH (B)
In option: 05:00: Starting your day with a short transfer to Hai Ly ruined church and enjoy its wild beauty and perfect harmony among sea, sun, wind and sand. Possibility to enjoy a great sunrise when the weather is favorable. Continue to a nearby fishing village when you will experience the unique technique to catch fish of local inhabitants: fishing on stilts. The fishermen use stilts to wade into deep watersa and they have to maintain their balance while adjusting their net. Seeing this scene, you have impression of admiring a circus show (Remark: this way of fishing is only maintained when the sea is calm).The next stop is Hai Chinh village where you can experience how to make the mesh in the fishing village.
After the breakfast at Ecohost, leaving Hai Hai for Halong or Ninh Binh.