Trang An Grottoes
The bamboo boat tour at Trang An Grottoes, Ninh Binh is also a must. While these types of limestone caves are not so uncommon in other places of the world, we learnt, that meandering through the limestone caves on boats drawn by skilful Vietnamese women having a prowess is just thrilling.Vietnam is now a throbbing and fast-developing nation, not a war. The very spirit of the nation, its heritage and culture, deserve a visit.For interested readers, Air Asia (Kolkata only), Singapore Airlines, Malindo Air have direct flights to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi from other metro cities.
We head to Yousmarg, another lovely valley. After a short trek of 4 kms through Yousmarg Valley, make your way to Nilnag which is small turquoise lake, amidst pine trees cradled by mountains. Relax by the lakeside before we make our way back to Yousmarg. Meals: Breakfast Experience: Exploring Yousmarg Valley and trek to Nilnag Stay: JKTDC resort
Head out for a day of sightseeing in Srinagar. We start with Shalimar Bagh, which Mughal Emperor Jehangir built for his wife in 1619. Next, visit Nishat Mughal Garden (Garden of Gladness), which borders Dal Lake. It was constructed in 1634 after Shah Jahan became the Emperor of India. Later we head to Pari Mahal for fabulous sunset views over Dal Lake and Srinagar. On the way we'll pass the Botanical Garden, where the famous Tulip Festival is held every April, and Chashme Shahi Gardens. Meals: Breakfast and dinner Experience: Visit the gardens of Srinagar Stay: A traditional Kashmiri homestay
We also took a day tour to Hoa Lu Tam Coc. I personally enjoyed this tour more than Halong Bay. In the morning we were brought to visit a temple in the Ninh Binh province. After which we had a buffet lunch and off we were for a boat ride along the river. The sights that you see, can only be seen when you are on the boat. What's more, the boat ride takes you through 3 caves. The entire boat ride was enjoyable but take note that towards the end of the ride, the local may demand you for a tip. Normally the tip would be about 2 USD per person... so please do not give more than that. Even though, the local may stop the boat half way and start to demand for more money from you, just stay firm and not to give any more money. Because ultimately, they will still bring you back to shore.And the best part of this tour was a bicycle tour! Each of us had a bicycle and you can either follow the tour guide or you can explore the area on your own (just be sure to be back by the time given). It was a very different experience because I feel like a local!
Bai Dinh Temple
It would have been an incomplete trip if I didn’t head to Bai Dinh, the biggest complex of Buddhist temples in the Ninh Binh Province in Northern Vietnam. The architecture is very traditional which can be seen in the design pattern followed on the outside as well as the interiors. The intricate interior work full of wood carpentry, stone work and embroidery is said to be selected from local handicraft communities. You can spend hours appreciating the magnificence of this place. When you exit you will be won over by its tranquility. The temple has a new complex which includes many structures built over 7 years. The old temple is located in small caves below the new temple along the mountain. You have to climb up a series of stone steps to reach it.
Cuc Phuong National Park Hot
Day 5 Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Van Long Nature Reserve – Cuc Phuong NP Am: Have breakfast at hotel. This morning you will leave Hanoi for Ninh Binh. You arrive at Van Long Nature Reserve after two hours drive on car/van (110km) through the countryside, You board the bamboo rowboat, the boat trip will take about 2 hours rowing along this beautiful nature area, enjoying spectacular scenery surrounded by rice paddies and towering limestone mountain peaks. Have lunch at local restaurant. Pm: This afternoon you continue your journey to row boat to visit Tam Coc or called Theree cave for more enjoyment and experience of beautiful landscapes of limestones which is well known as Halong on land. Then you go ahead to Cuc Phuong National Park. Check in room in Mac Lake which is 1,5 km from National Park Gate. Have dinner and overnight at the park. Day 6 Cuc Phuong National Park discover Am: Have breakfast at the park. This morning you visit the Animal Rescue Center to learn about the park's biodiversity and endangered species and then Botanical Garden which is the home of the oldest forest. Your long trek today is about 18 km begins here. You will have a picnic lunch on the way. Pm: After about 5 hours of hiking through the life and songs of the local rain forest, you arrive at Muong minority people village where you will take off your packs and relax at a Muong ethnic style homestay. Have dinner with the family. In the evening you have free time to talk with the host family and learn about the Muong people’s life and culture. Overnight at the stilt home. Day 7 Cuc Phuong – Ninh Binh – train to Quang Binh – Chay Lap Rustic & homestay After your breakfast, you will leave the National Park and go ahead to Ninh Binh Train station for taking train SE7 @ 8.33 am to arrive in Quang Binh on AC soft sleeper. You spend full day on train. You arrive in Dong Hoi train station at 15.43 pm. The driver picks up and transfers you to Chay Lap Rustic for spending night at tra