I went to Hoa Lu and Tam Coc in December after I quit my job and needed some time to relax and I had a great time looking around this place. This is such a great peaceful place with a river, caves, temples and beautiful landscape which people refer to as another Ha Long Bay but on land.
We arrived at Hoa Lu, ancient capital of independent Viet Nam after a 2 hour drive by bus and everyone seemed to enjoy the scenery around for the whole trip. We biked for another 45 minutes from Hoa Lu to Tam Coc after visiting the old capital with amazing old temples where the remains of statues of Kinh Dinh and King Le, two heroes who lived in the 10th century and chose Hoa Lu to build the capital city. You can sit on a buffalo and take some photos as souvenirs and just pay the buffalo keeper a few thousand dong. Unfortunately, there are many aggressive sellers who follow and take you into their shop and keep talking, trying to make you buy their stuff even though you have refused many times.
We cleaned our eyes after 45 minutes biking through the beautiful green fields, along rivers and around mountains. When we finally arrived at Tam Coc, we stopped for lunch before taking a boat trip. This boat tour is a bit like the boat tour to the Perfume pagoda. The small metal boats are pedalled by people using their hands and feet to move the boat really fast. The lady who owned the boat I was in was really aggressive. She thought I was the tour guide and she was a bit rude before I gave her a charge. The actual tour guide was a bit worried because he was scared that I may make some negative comment when the tour finished.
It was really pleasant going along the river by boat, so peaceful and quite that you only can hear the water moving and birds singing all around. This place has a similar atmosphere to Laos. Coming here is like a heaven compared to the daily worry about money, work stress and so on. I wish I could afford to come here every month to relax.
If you ever come to Viet Nam, do not forget this beautiful place.
Labels: Ninh Binh, The North, Traditional Culture, Travel