Why Book with Tours of Exploration?
- We specialize in customized, personalized tours that can suit your needs, interests, and hobbies. Whether you prefer adventure travel, culinary experiences, or becoming immersed in another culture, Tours of Exploration will be able to curate your dream tour using this itinerary as a base.
- We choose to work with local partners, not only to guarantee an immersive, culturally and naturally authentic experience; but also to economically support the area's local population.
- Book with confidence as deposits are risk-free and refundable.
2021 Departure Dates and Cost
Private touring. Departures daily based on 2 persons (itinerary can be modified)
Tour cost from Hanoi: $ 1,025 USD
Day 1: Hanoi - Ninh Binh - Tam Coc - Hoa Lu (Cycling distance 24 km)
Depart Hanoi early morning by private transport for the rural town of Ninh Binh 2 1/2 hours). The Ninh Binh region is one of the most beautiful parts of Vietnam with its dramatic scenery, ancient history, pilgrimage sites and nature sanctuaries. Orientation on arrival in Ninh Binh. Then depart by car to Tam Coc. (Three Caves). The limestone mountains have earned the area the nickname "Halong Bay without water". You will take a boat to and through the caves, past spectacular cliffs, Lilliputian villages, and isolated farming communities. Around Tam Coc there are some great restaurants and you are at leisure to enjoy one of them.
After lunch, the guide will assist you with your bicycles in preparation for your cycle tour of Hoa Lu. This ride is a round trip of 24km through spectacular scenery of rice fields, karsts mountains and quaint rural villages. Hoa Lu is the site of the former capital of the Vietnamese state, post Chinese rule in the first millennium. The site was chosen for its geographic location, which made it virtually impenetrable and served as the capital from AD 968 until it was moved to present day Hanoi in 1011. Nothing remains of the capital; however, the attraction is the raw beauty, and temples dating back to the 17th Century, the King's Tomb and the simple life of the farmers in the region. On completion of the cycle tour you will return to your hotel. Evening at leisure to explore Ninh Binh's local markets where you will see typical Vietnamese trading without many tourists. Accommodation at hotel in Ninh Binh (simple hotel).
Day 2: Ninh Binh - Phat Diem / Kenh Ga - Cuc Phuong National Park (Cycling distance 21km)
Over breakfast you will discuss the day's activities with your guide. A 21km bicycle ride will take you through striking rural scenery. Once you arrive in the village of Kenh Ga your guide will organize a private boat. Many travelers to Kenh Ga justifiably refer to the area as "Halong Bay with rice fields", but for others, there is no comparison; the magnificent natural beauty of the town's surroundings knows no equal. Still largely undiscovered, Kenh Ga remains an amazing sight to explore without getting lost in the flocks of tourists. Though the boat tour is named after the floating village, the excursion captures much more; it encompasses a trip past the spectacular limestone mountains that jut out from the rice fields and the river that gently meanders through them. While passing through the rivers with their cliff-side homes, visitors are charmed by smiling, waving children, and the occasional mother holding a baby while paddling along with her feet. There is also an opportunity to explore a water-carved cave with thousands of year of mineral and rock formations. After your tour of Kenh Ga it is a return drive to Ninh Binh in your private transport.
After lunch drive 45km to Cuc Phuong National Park. On the way you will pass pineapple farms, ethnic minority groups, beautiful scenery and rural villages. Arriving at the gates at Cuc Phuong NP we visit the visitor Information Centre. Cuc Phuong NP offers numerous hikes, ethnic minority groups, the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre and rare wildlife. The late afternoon provides the best time to take one of the short treks through the NP. Accommodation at the National Park Guesthouse.
Day 3: Cuc Phuong National Park - Hoa Binh - Mai Chau (B/L)
Depart early for a 200 km drive to Hoa Binh. In Hoa Binh you will join a private boat and cruise up the Song Da River. Along the way, you will visit and the ethnic minority Muong village of Vay Nua and the minority Dzao village of Duong. Have lunch on board the boat. At the end of the six hour boat cruise, you will arrive in the village of Mai Chau. Surrounded by steep mountains and stunning rice paddies. Tiiny Mai Chau is an uplifting and refreshing region. Just outside of town, the White Thai villages of Ban Lac and Pom Coong allow visitors to step into Thai rural life. Accommodation in Ban Lac, Maichau (simple stilt house).
Day 4: MAI CHAU-HOA BINH- HANOI (B)
After an early breakfast, cycle around the local area before a departure to Hoa Binh. Points of interest include:
- Kim Boi Hot Springs
- Xom Mon Village- Muong village
- Local markets
By late afternoon we will return to Hanoi. Drop off at your hotel. (Accommodation in Hanoi additional).