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Citadels and Temples of the Dry Halong Bay – Tour from Hanoi

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Key Highlights

  • See the ancient Dinh and Le Temples
  • Visit Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam
  • See the most stunning scenery while you cycle amongst the lime karsts
  • Enjoy an inclusive lunch at the "three caves" restaurant
  • Enjoy a relaxing boat ride through lush green paddy fields against the stunning background of limestone cliffs
  • Activity Schedule
    When does it run?



    Approx. 10.5 hours

    Start time

    Start time: Between 0800h (08:00am) – 0830h (08:30am) (Depending on the traffic)

    Meeting Point

    Your hotel in Hanoi. (Please mention your hotel details at the time of booking. If you do not have this information now, please contact the local activity operator 24 hours prior to the start of the tour with these details)

    Ending Point

    Your hotel in Hanoi

  • Overview & Itinerary


    See a slice of rural Vietnam as you take a relaxing boat ride through the incredibly beautiful 'Dry Halong Bay' or Tam Coc, and visit the Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam.

    Ninh Binh Province is known for its scenic rice fields that are surrounded by jutting limestone crags. Tam Coc in Ninh Binh got its name as ‘Dry Halong Bay’ because of the huge limestone edifices that jut out of paddy fields and canals, creating an unusual and dramatic landscape.Climb on a bike for a ride along back roads of the area, cycle amongst the lime karsts, taking in the beautiful scenery.

    A relaxing boat ride through lush green paddy fields of this region is a unique experience that combines the stunning backdrop of the limestone cliffs with Vietnamese floating villages.

    Hoa Lu was the ancient capital of Vietnam under the Dinh dynasty. The city used to be a huge citadel with temples shrines and smaller royal citadels.

    From 1 Jan 2016, we'll take a row boat through the UNESCO site, Trang An to explore magnificent caves and get up close to the region’s spectacular karst country.

    With picturesque landscapes and interesting historical relics this is one tour of Vietnam that is a must-do.


    You will be picked up from your hotel in Hanoi in a minivan and taken for a sightseeing excursion to the citadels and temples in the Dry Halong Bay area. An English-speaking guide will accompany you on this tour.

    Your journey begins with a two-hour drive from the hectic capital of Hanoi to the province of Ninh Binh, approximately 100kms.

    The first destination is Hao Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam during the Dinh and early Le dynasties. This ancient citadel once covered 300 hectares of land.

    On arrival your local guide will take you through the Dinh and Le Temples. Restored in the 17th century, the temples are dedicated Dinh and Le emperors and believed to be built on the original foundations of the old palaces from the 11th and 12th centuries.

    Next jump on a bike for a 12 km bike ride through the area, lime karsts towering above you as you ride along back roads and beautiful scenery.

    Following your bike visit you will stop for lunch at a local restaurant before visiting Tam Coc (which translates as "Three Caves").

    The area is often referred to as Dry Halong Bay due to its spectacular scenery in which lime karsts rise up from the ground to tower over the region.

    Here you will board rowing boats for a 2 to 2 ½ hour journey through caves, passing many local villages along the river system of the Red River Delta. The scenery comprises of lush green rice paddies during the rice growing seasons and surrounding limestone karsts making for a stunning backdrop to the journey and presents many photo opportunities.

    From 1 Jan 2016, we'll stop for lunch at a local restaurant before visiting Trang An, a new addition to UNESCO’s list of heritage sites. Honoured as of June 2014, the 10,000-hectare Trang An complex comprises three areas: the Trang An ­– Tam Coc – Bich Dong ecological site, the Hoa Lu imperial capital, and the Hoa Lu primitive forests. It is often referred to as the Halong Bay of the land due to its spectacular scenery: lime karsts rise up of the ground to tower over the region, and is a truly wonderful sight to see. Here, we’ll board row boats for a 3 to 3.5-hour journey through caves, passing local villages along the river system of the Red River Delta. The scenery comprises of lush green rice paddies during the rice growing seasons and the surrounding limestone karsts make for a stunning backdrop, presenting many photo opportunities for the keen photographers amongst the group.

    At the end of the boat trip you will once again board your vehicle and return to Hanoi. Note: A Tam Coc boat trip will be offered as an alternative to Trang An on selected days, when the place is too crowded or during peak season.

    The tour ends with a drop-off at your hotel in Hanoi.

  • Inclusions & Exclusions


    • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
    • Transportation in a minivan
    • Boat ride
    • English-speaking guide
    • Entrance fees
    • Bike and Helmet
    • Lunch
  • Please note & Additional info

    Please note

    Please check your hotel details are correct on the voucher. If your details are not correct please call or email the local activity operator to inform them.

    Voucher information: No need to print! If you are travelling with a smartphone or tablet you can present your voucher on your device for this activity.

    Additional info

    The confirmation voucher includes the local activity operator’s contact details and local telephone numbers at the destination. They will happily answer any logistical questions you may have

  • reviews
    • Very enjoyable day trip.

      Had a great day overall, but the best bit for me was the cycling. Gorgeous scenery, with a tranquil bike ride meandering through the countryside. I also enjoyed the boat ride....

      Jodi Marie Breen, Australia, 24/Dec/2012

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