Hoa Lư was the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries. It lies in Truong Yen Thuong village, Truong Yen Commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province. The capital at Hoa Lu covered an area of 300 ha (3.0 km2), including both the Inner and Outer Citadels. It included defensive earthen walls, palaces, temples and shrines, and was surrounded and protected by mountains of limestone. Today, the ancient citadel no longer exists, and few vestiges of the 10th century remain. Visitors can see temples built in honor of the emperors Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Dai Hanh, their sons, and Queen Duong Van Nga, who was married first to Dinh Tien Hoang and then to Le Dai Hanh.
Ha Long Bay (Vietnamese: Vịnh Hạ Long, literally: "descending dragon bay") is a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site, and a popular travel destination, located in Quang Ninh province, Vietnam. The bay features thousands of limestonekarsts and isles in various sizes and shapes. Ha Long Bay is a center of a larger zone which includes Bái Tử Long bay to the northeast, and Cat Ba islands to the southwest. These larger zones share similar geological, geographical, geomorphological, climate, and cultural characters.
Day 1: Hanoi - Mai Chau (-/L/D)
7.30-8.00 a.m: Pick you up from hotel in Hanoi start tour to Mai Chau. On the way to Mai Chau, stop over to take photos. From the top of Cun Mountain, one can admire the superb panorama of Mai Chau surrounded by a green valley and stilt houses. Many minorities, including the Thai ethnic group, live in Mai Chau.
11.00 a.m: Arrive Mai Chau, come in and visit stilt houses of Thai people, stilt houses border both sides of the roads. The houses are quite large with palm leaf roofs and polished bamboo-slat floors. The kitchen is located in the center of the house; the cooking as well as the making of the colorful tho cam, the material used by Thai minority to make their clothes, takes place in the kitchen. The windows are large and decorated with patterns. Each house also usually has a pond to breed fish.
12.00: Have lunch in local restaurant, especially enjoy the minority specialty dishes including rice cooked in bamboo and grilled meat.
1.00 p.m: Walking around the Lac village, and PomCoong village, the Ban Lac People have Thai ancestors that settled in the North-Western area of Vietnam. The two tribes, White Thai and black Thai, settled in the same area and make up the largest ethnic population of the region.
3.00 p.m: Keep visiting Lac II village, this village is not famous as Lac I but walking around this one, you can see real life of White Thai people.
5.00 p.m: Back to homestay and check in room with stilt house style.
7.00 p.m: Have dinner and also enjoy watching traditional dancing, music performances (bronze, drums, gongs), and Thai minority singing and dancing. The remote minority villages are attractive sites for tourists.
Day 2: Mai Chau - Ninh Binh - Hoa Lu - Tam Coc (B/L/D)
7.30 am: Breakfast at stilt house in Mai Chau.
8.00 a.m: Take the bus to Tam Coc
12.00: Arrive Tam Coc, and have lunch in a local restaurant with goat meat which is famous as the local specialty.
1.00 p.m: Start the 2hour-boat trip to visit Tam Coc. Known as “Halong Bay on land”, Tam Coc are three limestone caves stretching along Ngo Dong River. The boat trip is a nice journey along the river with peaceful scenery of Limestone Mountains, rice paddy and the site of some temples along the way from Hang Ca (first cave) to Hang Hai (second cave) and Hang Ba (third cave).
3.30 p.m: Go to visit Hoa Lu Ancient Capital. In 968, Dinh Bo Linh declared himself as the King. Since then Hoa Lu existed as the capital for the next 41 years (968 – 1009), of which 12 years was under the Dinh dynasty – King Dinh Tien Hoang, the country named Dai Co Viet, and 29 years later was under the Le dynasty – King Le Dai Hanh. In 1010, King Ly Thai To moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long – present day Hanoi. Hoa Lu became the old citadel. In Hoa Lu there are now 2 temples have been built on the ground of the old royal palace, one is dedicated to King Dinh Tien Hoang, the other is to King Le Dai Hanh. The visit offers a chance to know more about part of feudal dynasties and historical periods in Vietnamese history.
5.00 p.m: Go to hotel, check in and relax in Hotel.
7.00 p.m: Have dinner and overnight in Ninh Binh
Day 3: Ninh Binh - Halong (B/L/D)
7.30 a.m: After breakfast, check out the hotel and take the bus to Halong Bay for 4 hours.
Arrive in Halong Bay around 12:00. Get on a traditional wooden junk boat, check-in procedures.
In the afternoon:
1.00 p.m: Lunch with fresh seafood is served (vegetarian and kids menus available). We are slowly getting off the classic cruising routes, keep admiring the amazing karsts with different formations on the way. Limestone rock formations will parade around us for about 2 hours before our first stop.
3.00 p.m: You will arrive at TiTop areas and enjoy kayaking. Snorkeling, kayaks, paddles, dry bags for cameras are available on boat. Amongst the many ways to explore this legendary stone world, kayaking has been emerging as a new, exciting and adventurous way that can lead tourists to the most primary parts of the bay. Let’s discover Halong Bay from top of the island.
After one/one and a half hour kayaking, we get back on boat, and then the afternoon is perfect for some diving, swimming, fishing, sunbathing or snorkeling....Relax on the sundeck, enjoy free fruits and drinks served by the crew.
6. oo p.m: You can join a cooking demonstration class to learn how to prepare Spring-roll Vietnamese dishes before sitting down for dinner.
In the evening:
7.00 p.m: A romantic dinner embraced by one of the most spectacular sunsets in the world will warm up every sense and passion of yours, and the evening will be full of surprise with party on boat and night squid fishing, relaxing, enjoy music or English movies (equipment provided).
Staying overnight in a cozy air-conditioned cabin with en-suite bathroom facilities is also a favorite of many visitors.
Day 4: Halong Bay - Cat Ba Island - Lan Ha Bay (B/L/D)
In the morning:
7.00 a.m: Coffee, tea and fruit will be served from 6.30am. Wake up smoothly while witnessing the silence of beautiful misty bay, energize your body and soul or just allow yourself some idle time on a sunbath with a cup of coffee.
8.00 a.m: After breakfast on boat, you will visit the Halong Bay’s largest cave named Sung Sot (Amazing Cave), walk up about 100 steps to the cave entrance and tour the cave for approximately 45 minutes. Walk down about 100 steps and return to the boat.
9.00 a.m: Please remove all of your belongings from the cabins, you may leave heavy luggage outside of the cabins.
Around 9:30 a.m, change to day boat then cruise toward to Viet Hai Wharf belonging to Cat Ba National Park. Taking a 5km ride to Viet Hai village to explore the lifestyle of local residents. In the heart of the island, Cat Ba National Park possesses the largest area of tropical virgin forests in Vietnam. It is home to more than 20 species of mammals, 69 species of birds, 745 species of plants and 20 species of reptiles and amphibians.
In the afternoon:
12.00: Back to the boat relax on the sundeck for a while and multi-course lunch with Vietnamese specialties will be served mid-day
1.30 p.m: More kayaking, more swimming, more sandy beaches, more floating houses, definitely a "cruise++”…
3.00 p.m: Cruising to Beo Wharf. Disembark and check in your hotel in Cat Ba Island. Free to explore Cat Ba town on your own activities.
For sea lovers who seek relaxation and peacefulness in the embrace of emerald seas, the island opens its arms with Cat Vang beach and Cat Co Beach, where mountains look like a throne holding a marvelous sandy beach.
Pack lightly; swimwear and a set of dry clothes, and as there are different activities during the day bring both shoes (such as trainers) and flip-flops or sandals.
Suggestions: taking a motor biking trip around the town or swimming in the beach. (Exclude in tour price).
7.00 p.m: Dinner and overnight at hotel in Cat Ba Island.
The small and ancient town can satisfy the desire of gaining authentically local cultural experiences, with clusters of fishing boats and inspiring sunsets across the harbor. Visitors can check out the catch of the day in the early morning, see cuttlefish dried over hot charcoals, or stroll around the old town.
Day 5: Cat Ba Island – Halong Bay – Hanoi (B/L/-)
In the morning:
You can greet the early morning sunrise from windows of the hotel, watching sun light shining on every island, waking up every floating houses and gradually covering the whole area.
7.30 a.m: After breakfast, transfer to Beo Wharf. Get on the day trip boat and cruise along Lan Ha Bay then back to our awaiting cruise on the bay.
9.30 a.m: . Cruise around Halong Bay, and take photos before cruising back to the harbor. On the way, witness the beauty of Dinh Huong Island (incense burner), Cho Da Island (stone dog), and Ga Choi Island (fighting cocks).
In the afternoon:
Have lunch then disembark and take a bus from Halong City return to Hanoi with short break on the way. Arrive in Hanoi around 5:00 pm and say goodbye at your hotel