A day tour to Hoa Lu and Tam Coc is a 2 hour trip from Hanoi, and is most enjoyable.
Further into the countryside, the more interesting things you witness.
We stopped at Hao Lu first, and visited the 10th century historic temples Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Dau Hahn.
Next......onto where the row boats leave for Tam Coc.
Firstly, a nice lunch in the Hotel just across the road,
onto a small rowboat for a nice scenic journey along the river.
What a lovely, quiet, peaceful area this was! We saw local people harvesting the water rice planted along both sides of the river, we also saw some very small homes in amongst the Paddies.
We passed through 3 caves, then turned around and came back. At the turn around point, you will be hassled to buy drinks and food, they are lying in wait for the "tourists who can not get away!"
You can have your photo taken along the way, a girl in a rowboat pulled up alongside and took photos
One photo cost 10,000dong less than $1.
When you come ashore, the girl who took the photo will find you, no worries about that!
This was an enjoyable days outing, out amongst incredible limestone karsts.
I felt it was a MUST DO!
On a trip to Tam Coc, tours often visit this ancient capital of Hoa Lu where there are two temples dedicated to 10th Century King Dinh and King Le.
Inside the temples, you can find the lacquered statues of the kings. Interesting royal trysts told by the tour guide of each King.
Hoa Lu is very near to Tam Coc - about 4 km away, is the relics of the ancient capital Hoa Lu – the remains are the temples dedicated to King Dinh and King Le, the two heroes who lived in 10th century and chose Hoa Lu to build the citadel of this ancient capital city.
The King Dinh and King Le temples are almost identical. Nothing too interesting.
If I've known earlier, I would've chosen the Tam Coc - Bich Dong rather than the Tam Coc - Hoa Lu tour.
Visiting the Bich Dong Pagoda (regarded as the second most beautiful pagoda in Vietnam after the Perfume Pagoda) that is situated on Ngu Nhac Mountain would have been better.
A few hours away from Hanoi lays abandoned paddy fields which have been converted into a tourist spot. Boating & fishing (if you're lucky) are the main activities here. In between you'll glide through some small caves (you have to duck at certain spots to avoid a trip to the local clinic).
Hoa Lu-Tam Coc belongs to Ninh Binh provice which is 100 km away from Hanoi city. Coming here, you have chane to explore beautiful canals, 3 caves and beautiful field. It likely Halong Bay on land. Going up, you will reach Hoa Lu where placing the pagoda of King of Le dynasty and Dinh Dynasty. Near Tam Coc, there is Bich Dong which is also nice!
A historal places where the past emperor live and its the past capital of vietnam, long before hanoi.
Nice setting surrounded by limestone mountains. Two temples, really peaceful and interesting.
But maybe not worth the trip if you manage to see nice temples elsewhere.