Ninh Binh is an awesome site with giant limestone karst formations jutting out of the rice paddies. This ancient land is enriched with historical, cultural and geographic wonders. Van Long Nature Reserve is perhaps the best selection offering you amazing landscapes and authentic cultural experiences.
8:00 AM: Transfer from Hanoi to Ninh Binh, driving through the picturesque countryside of the Red River Delta, painted by rice and vegetable fields. After a 1.5 hour drive, you will arrive in Van Long where you will meet a typical 3-generation rural family. Be welcomed to their home with a cup of tea and learn about their idyllic local lifestyles through intimate conversation.
Take a 15km bike ride (optional) or walk through the villages. A journey along the dyke will offer you gorgeous landscapes of rice fields, a river and limestone mountains. There are several stops for you to take beautiful photos or encounter the locals then walk to discover Thung La temple, dating back to the 11th century. Meet Mr Tuong, the temple guardian, and enjoy an authentic conversation as well as a 20 minute drum show.
Later, take a sampan boat trip along the stream and among the limestone mountains to discover the beauty of Van Long nature reserve. If lucky, you might get to see white monkeys and egrets on the cliffs. After the boat trip, visit an embroidery village and take part in an embroidery course under the instruction of local craftswoman, Mrs Lam. She will proudly explain the techniques of her traditional craft. This will be a good opportunity for you to practice on fabric like a real craftsman.