This unforgettable 2-day tour exploring Hoa Lu Ancient Capital which was the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries, Phat Diem Stone Cathedral, the center of Catholicism in northern Vietnam, as well as some Ninh Binh’s highlight spots provides you a great opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Vietnamese nature’s beauty, as well as enrich your knowledge about the northern Vietnam’s history and religion.
Day 1: Hanoi - Hoa Lu - Halong Bay on Land (L/D) At 8:30 AM, Your knowledgeable guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter and start heading South for a 2.5-hour drive by the former Road Mandarin or Highway 1. Once arriving, you will spend one hour visiting Dinh temple, Le temple at Hoa Lu Ancient Capital area. 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. Le Temple is almost the same as Dinh Temple in term of architectural design, except for some details. Le Temple also consists of three parts: Bai Duong used for the community, Thien Huong, in memory of the royal mandarins of King Le, and finally, the altar in memory of the King. Next, you will drive to Tam Coc for a 3-hour boat trip along the Boi River admiring the amazing scenery of Tam Coc caves, green rice fields, ancient temples, as well as exploring the life of farmers in the Red River Delta. With Ha Long type views of majestic limestone cliffs and mysterious yet inviting caves, as well as countryside sights, like peaceful streams, rice paddies and deserted green fields, Tam Coc is often referred to as “Ha Long among the rice paddies”.After having lunch, you will make a stop at the Co Vien Lau which is a collection of Vietnamese ancient houses and the Bich Dong Pagoda, where includes three palaces on three levels: Lower, Middle and Upper pagoda. From the Low pagoda up to 120 steps is the impressive Middle pagoda with a half of it was carved into mountain including three compartments. Up to 40 steps is the High pagoda located on the highest point nearby the top of The Bich Dong mountain. From here, you can have the wonderful perspective view of the Bich Dong pagoda.Finally, you will stay overnight in Ninh Binh.Day 2: Phat Diem - Hanoi (B,L,-)In the morning, you will visit Phat Diem Stone Cathedral, which is one of the most spectacular and unique cathedrals in Vietnam having become the center of Catholicism in northern Vietnam. Built by stone between 1875 and 1899, the whole complex has been classified as a historic and cultural relic, comprising of a lake, a cathedral, a stone church, Phuong Dinh (bell house) and three artificial grottoes. After taking lunch at a local restaurant, you will visit Bai Dinh Pagoda which is well known as the largest pagoda in Vietnam, famous for 500 La Han statues, biggest bronze Buddha statue in Vietnam at the height of 10 meters, and the weight of 100 tons. After exploring here, you will back to Hanoi and your memorable tour comes to an end with a drop-off at your hotel at around 18.00.