Hoa Lu, situated 100 km south of Hanoi, was the capital city of Vietnam under the Dinh & Le Dynasties between 968 and 1009 AD. Some of the sanctuaries and tombs have survived the years and can still be seen today. From time to time, archaeologists have excavated buried parts of this citadel with rusty weapons and ceramics. The temples are said to be built on the old foundation of their original palaces in 11-12th centuries and restored in 17th century.
Apart from the historical interest, the river trip in Tam coc is wonderful for photo hunters, especially when local people come to harvest the water rice planted along the river, or when they transplant some seedling for the next crops. The tourists often compare the place with Guilin – China, or more closely, to the limestone islets of Halong Bay in the Tonkin Gulf for their similar geological structures and shapes. Thus Tam Coc is also called Halong-Bay-On-Land.
Activity Grade – Moderate
Require a reasonable level of fitness. Cycling distance is approx. to 15km.
Itinerary in Details
08.00 Drive to Ninh Binh province. On arrival in Tam Coc, board your private sampan for 2 hours as the boat gently slices through three water caves. Return to Tam Coc Town and have lunch at a local restaurant.
Tam Cốc, literally “three caves”, consists of three natural caves — Hang Cả, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba — on the Ngô Đồng River. Tourists are taken in small boats along the river from the village of Van Lam, through rice fields and limestone karsts, through the caves, and back. Local women serve as guides and attempt to sell embroidered goods to their passengers.
13:00 Start biking to ancient Hoa Lu Citadel for a couple of hours through stunning limestone karst valleys which surrounded by the picturesque fields and villages where named as Halong Bay on land. The sceneries are paradise for photographers. Visit Dinh King’s temple & Le King’s temple.
Dinh Temple worships King Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Temple worships King Le Dai Hanh. These temples were built in 17th century.
Dinh Temple was built in the shape of a Chinese character. Through the first entrance called Ngo Mon, there is a stone royal bed with Nghe (imaginary animals of the old times) standing on both sides. Inside the temple is Khai Thanh in worship of Emperor Dinh’s parents.
The temple consists of three parts: Bai Duong for the community, Thien Huong in honour of mandarins, and Chinh Cung where Dinh Tien Hoang’s statue is located. On his left is the statue of his eldest son Dinh Lien, and on his right are those of Dinh Hang Lang and Dinh Toan. On each side of the altar, there is one stone dragon similar to the ones placed near the royal bed.
Drive back to Hanoi and arrive in Hanoi late afternoon.
- Local Bicycle / Helmet
- English speaking guide
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary
- Admission fees and permits
- Reasonable supply of drinking water during the trip.
- Personal expenses
- Tips and Gratuities
For more information about What to do in Ninh Binh, please visit our website. Have a nice trip!