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Cycling Tam Coc - Cuc Phuong - Phat Diem

3 days

Click here for full itinerary of this journey

 

Cycling in Ninh Binh

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Cuc Phuong, the biggest and the most diverse National Park in Vietnam with a huge variety of rare fauna and flora in the limestone mountain forest. The endangered Primates Rescued Centre is a perfect place to see many kinds of rare primates such as Langur, Gibbon and Loris all over Vietnam, many of them are under threat of extinction.
Phat Diem Cathedral – the Center of Catholicism in North Vietnam - was built in 1891 with four roofs and six sets of iron wooden pillars. On both sides of the church are four smaller churches of different styles.
The boat trip in Tam Coc is another opportunity to contemplate the beautiful countryside scenery of Vietnam and see the daily life on water of the Vietnamese in this region.

 

ITINERARY

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trip map - click to zoom

Day 1: Hanoi – Phat Diem – Tam Coc
Our trip kicks off with an early start from Hanoi, a 2 hour drive will take you to the rural town of Ninh Binh, which is located in one of the most beautiful parts of Vietnam, with its dramatic scenery, historical intrigues, religious pilgrimage sites and endangered animal sanctuaries. The town of Ninh Binh is an ideal base to venture out on short small day trips. En route we will stop at the centuries old brick kilns, a war memorial, picturesque rice fields… We will then continue on to the town of Kim Son to visit Phat Diem (Phatdiem) Cathedral, the centre of Vietnamese Catholicism, we will take a guided tour around the immense 19th century stone cathedral. We will also visit a factory where villagers produce handicrafts for the churchgoers, then return to Ninh Binh.
Arriving in Ninh Binh, you will have a chance to visit Tam Coc (Three Caves) travelling through Ninh Binh’s rice fields which have earned nickname Halong Bay without water, a moniker borne out by the limestone karsts which dominate the landscape. You will take a boat to and through the caves, past spectacular cliffs, liliputian villages, and remote farming communities.
The restaurants around TamCoc are a special way to enjoy some local food specialties. After lunch, the guide will assist you with your bicycles in preparation for your cycle tour of Hoa Lu. The bicycle tour is a 24km round trip through spectacular scenery of rice fields, karst mountains and quaint rural villages. Leaving the restaurant you will pass glowing lime kilns used by locals to extract lime from the nearby mountains. 
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. Though nothing remains of the capital, the attraction is the raw beauty, the 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 to have a cool drink, wash and dinner. You may want to have a look at local markets where you will see typical Vietnamese trading without the tourists.

Day 2 Ninh Binh - Kenh Ga – Cuc Phuong
Over breakfast you will have the opportunity to discuss the days activities with your guide. A 21km bicycle ride will take you through striking rural scenery. Once you arrive in the floating village of Kenh Ga your guide will organise a private boat. Many travellers to Kenh Ga justifiably refer to the area as Halong Bay with rice fields, but for others, there’s no comparison; the magnificent natural beauty of the town’s surroundings knows no equal. Still largely undiscovered, Kenh Ga remains an amazing site to explore without the distractions of flocks of tourists. 
This part of the trip is an opportunity, not only to visit the floating village but also to see the spectacular limestone mountains that jut out from the rice fields and the river that gently meanders through them. You will also be charmed by the smiling, waving children, and have an opportunity to explore a water carved cave featuring thousands of year of mineral and rock formations. 
After your tour of Kenh Ga a vehicle will transport you back to Ninh Binh for lunch. Following this you will drive the 45km to Cuc Phuong National Park. On the way you will pass pineapple plantations, ethnic minority groups, beautiful scenery and rural villages. Arriving at the gates at Cuc Phuong (Cucphuong) National Park will give you the opportunity to view the Visitor Information Centre which will highlight features of the park including the numerous hikes on offer, 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 park such as the Thousand Year Old Tree trek. These walks vary in difficulty and your guide can match you up with the right trek depending upon how active you are feeling. Following your close-up experience with the nature in Vietnam you can retire to your accommodation in the National Park. 

Day 3 Cuc Phuong – Hanoi
After breakfast you will drive to the Cave of Prehistoric Man where locals still pay homage to the prehistoric artifacts that have been found in the cave.
Departing the National Park you will have the rare opportunity for a guided tour of the Endangered Rescue Primate Centre by one of the resident German zoologists. In the centre are 15 of Vietnam’s 25 species of primates including the extremely rare Cat Ba Langur. The primates are brought to the centre for rehabilitation before being set free in the National Park.
Driving back to Ninh Binh will take you through the spectacular scenery of Hoa Lu before lunch in one of the local restaurants, after which the bus will take you back to Hanoi.

 

DESCRIPTION

travel style: Independent
If you're looking for something different (perhaps group travel isn't for you) or you want an extension to your trip, an Independent adventure could be just the thing. These private itineraries will take you to a new level of personal experience and self discovery. They can accommodate a special interest, such as cookery or meditation, or can be as simple as a beach break. Transport, accommodation standard and inclusions vary from trip to trip - please check the trip notes for full details.
group size
N/A as this trip is on a private basis.
accommodation & meal inclusions
1 night in hotel and 1 night in the national park
Ninh Binh: Thuy Anh Hotel (breakfast)
Cuc Phuong National Park (breakfast and dinner)

Tour includes:
• Accommodation based on twin share with daily breakfasts
• Extra meals as per the itinerary
• Private transfer round trip
• Other transports and transfers as dedicated in the itinerary
• Tours and excursions as described in the program
• Local English speaking tour guide
• Entrance fees and permits where applicable during guided time
Tour excludes:
• Pre & post trip arrangements
• Transfers beyond the itinerary
• Entrance fees and permits during free time
• Travel insurance (compulsory)
• Food & drinks not mentioned within the itinerary
• Tips and gratuities
• Expenses of a personal nature such as bar bills, laundry and telephone charges
• Other services not clearly described in the program

 

PRICING INFO

Tour cost: US $250 per person in the party of 2

 

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