Explore Hoa Lu, former capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries, and located 70 miles (120 kilometers) from Hanoi. Following a hotel pick-up from the Old Quarter of Hanoi, relax in air-conditioned comfort on the 2.5-hour journey southeast.
Upon arrival, see the 2 main temples of the former royal city, including the main temple to Emperor Dinh and the temple to Emperor Le in the foothills of the Den Mountain. Explore the historic sites of the Outer Citadel, seperated from the Inner Citadel by the limestone mountains.
Continue to Tam Coc for lunch at around at 12:30. After sampling some delicious Vietnamese cuisine, cruise the Hoang Long River by traditional sampan. Pass the curious karst mountains carpeted in lush vegetation, and paddle into hidden caves to see geological formations.
Next, cycle along quiet roads through small villages and rice fields to see the rocky outcrops of Tam Coc - Bich Dong. The gentle bike ride lasts for about 1 hour, covering a distance of approximately 3 miles (5 kilometers).