Hanoi has a very unique characteristics and it is an amazing to visit this place. But one thing more amazing about Hanoi is you can do a number of day or small trips from here. One such day trip for us was the Tam Coc village just 90Kms away from Hanoi. Tam Coc (Three Caves) has beautiful rice fields along the Ngo Dong River and limestone grottoes.
A grotto is a natural or artificial cave used by humans in both modern times and antiquity, and historically or prehistorically. Naturally occurring grottoes are often small caves near water that are usually flooded or liable to flood at high tide
We had booked a day trip, and had a pick up from our hotel around 8.30 AM. The price for the day trip was quite reasonable around 35 USD per person.
King Đinh and King Lê Temples
The first place we visited was the temples. The temple had a very nice architecture. There were a lot of people as there were multiple groups visiting the place.
Tip: It is very hot so please use sun block and hats and sunglasses. Stay hydrated.
These temples are located in the Hoa lu- Ninh Binh.The landscape of this place is very mysterious and surrounded by beautiful views of the lakes and arched stone mountains. The most beautiful feel for me was the incense potted in the entrance which provided a very spiritual and mysterious ambience to the temples. It was worth a visit.
The Buring incense. Beautiful.
Around the temple area, also was our buffet lunch which had wonderful vegetarian food on request. Food was simple, delicious and very local.
The Sampan River ride.
When you reach the place, it looks like a movie scene with the green waters and small and many sampan boats lining the bank. The river is filled with mountains on either sides and small caves and grottoes which you will pass through when you take the ride.
There are three caves which we generally pass through in the river, Hang Cam, Hang Giaua and Hang Chateau.
The Sampan boats are rowed using the feet.
Local people, mainly lots of women row these boats using wooden paddles using their feet so skilfully. It must be a very tiring job I am sure and they must be super fit. When you see them, it feels very natural but I picked up one of the oar and was trying to help them using my hands and after a few minutes my hands started feeling heavy as stone. The good thing is though, the pressure on their back and arms are low because of using the feet. Thankfully only two tourists are allowed in these boats.
When you row your boat, you pass beautiful caves, with some water droplets falling from the top, and it is a very unique experience. Some of the caves you actually lower your head in the fear that you might just bang it. The journey lasts for quite some time and you see the scenic beauty of Tam Coc.
Also on the rides, there are many sampan boats selling food like chips, cookies and some drinks. They are a little expensive. They even ask you to buy it for your guide. Sometimes these people can get insistent. It is better to have some food in your bag if you want to avoid them. Also we got our picture licked from another sampan photographer for a small amount.
Post this we went for a cycle ride to enjoy the views of some bungalows set up against the rice paddy fields. The bikes were a little old and looked a little riskier but they were quite functions. We did have to wait for the bikes for some time; however the ride was for around 40 minutes around the village and was quite nice.
Have you visited Ha-Long bay? Here is my guide to the Ha-Long bay one night two days trip. Ha Long Bay