Red River Delta & countryside 4 days / 3 nights.
Booking code of this tour: NB401
Day 1: Hanoi – Perfume Pagoda – Ninh Binh. ~100 km, ~4 h.
Ride to Perfume Pagoda on karst road through myriads of limestone. Then boat to the foot of the mountain. Alternatively, you can take a cable car, however boating is more fun. Walk to the most well known pagoda – Huong Tich – requires a 4-km walk straight up the mountainside. It should be noted that the site attracts the greatest pilgrimage in North Vietnam during the three months following Tet (New Year according to the lunar calendar). During this time, thousands of worshippers climb the mountain to pray at the various religious sites. A city of bamboo is constructed at the base of the mountain in just one week to cater for the occasion. Impressive!
Finally, ridee through myriads of stone on the bumpy road to Van Xuan Hotel, dinner at hotel (exquisite cuisine).
Day 2: Ninh Binh – Hai Phong – Cat Ba. ~150 km, ~5 h.
Hike up Yen Ngua Hill to get the paramount view of Hoa Lu’s bizarre landscape. Then ride on the little peaceful back road through myriads of limestone to Tam Coc. Next ride to Hai Phong in 4 hours to take the ferry at 1.30 pm. Park the bike at Binh station. Check in hotel in Cat Ba. In the evening, take sampan to have seafood dinner at a floating restaurant.
Day 3: Cat Ba – Boating.
Breakfast at the hotel. The guide and the captain of the boat will go to market to buy food. You can go with them if you find it interesting. Boating starts at 10 am. Then have lunch with seafood on boat. Fishing and swimming. Visit local people in the floating village of Van Gia. Boating to Monkey Island. Dinner and sleep overnight on boat.
In fact, Cat Ba is the far end of Halong Bay. In general, Cat Ba still live from the resource that the sea offers. However, the tourism is developed and of high quality. The Cat Ba Bay is a condensed of Halong Bay, its labyrinth of limestone so dense that it is difficult to imagine we are on the sea.
We created this itinerary – the floating village Van Gia. They are our personal friends and the relation with them is intimate, even knowing that some companies now also pass through there.
Last but not least, Monkey Island (Cat Dua Islet) was totally ignored by mass tourism when we propose to stop there. It has got nothing special beside the fact that there is nobody except monkeys and one family who takes care of their security.
Day 4: Cat Ba – Hanoi. ~120 km, ~3 h.
Breakfast on boat before cruising back to Cat Ba town. Then have a shower and lunch in the hotel before taking the ferry back to Hanoi at 1.30 pm. Pick up the bike and ride back to Hanoi in 2 hours.
We try to arrive in Hanoi before 5pm to avoid rush hours. Otherwise, you should be good with city traffic from the experience you got over the last days.
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