I received an invitation from Mr.Lee, the CEO Hanoi Explore Travel, to experience a Ninh Binh tour for one day. At that time, I felt absolutely amazed at how breathtaking and tranquil views of seemingly –endless and windingmountains, caves, lakes, rivers and paddy fields were!
How can 1 day Ninh Binh Tour interest us?
It was such a stunning place that painted me an image contrasting with color of the imposing, majestic and Bai Dinh Pagoda, which was extensive and corresponded to a Southeast Asian pagoda in sizebut with modern exotic architecture. It was also kind, simple-hearted, honest boatman at the destination that arose tourists’ interest and made it become the most attractive place in the North. This image was in contradiction with the rapid developement of tourism and the beauty, of Hoa Lu ancient capital, Trang An District, Ninh Binh Province, which was needed to be preserved.
In this article, I am going to tell you about my story of one-day Ninh Binh tour despite of its shortness, it gave me a complete surprise. Ninh Binh is a tourist attraction I am immensely proud to introduce to my domestic and foreign friends about the beauty of the North in particular and of Vietnam as the whole.
The invitation to experience one-day Ninh Binh Tour
Before the departure for 2 days, Mr.Lee, the CEO Hanoi Explore Travel, had provided me information about this short tour. The tour picked up the passengers and departured from The Old Quarters near which I stayed at a hotel on the well-known Ta Hien Street, luckily.
After the guide took me to the hotel at exactly 8:00 am, it started pouring with rain; however, this did not discourage me to explore the charm and elegancy of Ninh Binh. After 2-hour travelling on an opulent and luxurious coach of 24 seats, we sat our foot on Ninh Binh land.
The first destination was Bai Dinh pagoda, the biggest and privated-owned pagoda in Southeast Asia.
The Bai Dinh Pagoda
I had came to Bai Dinh Pagoda in 2013 and it had not left a strong impression on me until this occassion. I had reckoned that it was simply a pagoda constructed to serve tourism purposes and it was a totally self-contained work, which had made me not interested in. That was why this time I made the decision to get separated from the group with the aim of travelling around the pagoda to see whether there were any changes compared to my previous visit.
Everything was barely changed. The only difference was that the tower where it was considered to be the place the bone ash of Thich Ca Mau Ni God was buried and carried from India was established. I purchased a ticket to visit the tower, mainly to go to the 12th floor and do sightseeing from a panoramic view.
After seeing the bell of the towerbriefly and worship room of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva with a thousand of eyes and hands, I walked quickly along the corridor where the statues of Arhats were displayed. I also bought an extra of ticket priced at 50,000 VND and took the elevator to the 12th floor to see the sights there and enjoyed the scenery with great relish.
From the top of the tower, I could see the dramatic, wide landscape of the pagoda spreading out on the mountains. “What a splendid and magnificent view!”, I exclaimed. From that point, I could saw ranges of rocky, majestic mountains far away covered by mist. I could also noticed the lake, river and tile roofs with classic architecture. The whole spectacular view created a poetic painting.
I left the Bai Dinh land and kept moving to the next destination, Trang An, where it had been expected that there would be many new things including nature, ancient but mysterious caves together with poetic rivers for us to explore.
Trang An – The wonderful Land
On the bus from the Bai Dinh pagoda back to the restaurant for having lunch, I realized that the view out of the windowpanes looked even more breathtaking. Small houses typical of villages of the North of Vietnam were built right at the foot of the huge rocky mountains. There werelarge rivers and golden paddy fields and some limestone cliffs huddling together.
After that, we came to a halt for a while at a restaurant and had a buffet lunch with many food options from European, Asian to the most famous local cuisine such as goat meat, burnt fried rice, etc. Before getting on the coach to visit Trang An Tourist Area, we took a rest for 1 hour.
Right after we sat out foot on the boat, we wore life jackets . While the boat sailed fast on the green water surface of the lake, we could notice some dark green algae very clearly.
Then the boatman started to take us to visit the first cave, which was a small cleft at the bottom of a rocky mountain. The cave was both low and deep , and that was why the captain instructed to sit down near the internal boat area instead of sitting on the boat seat.
Then the captain artistically headed the small boat through the small and narrow clefts. The boat drifted for a while until there was bright light outside the mouth of the cave, we realized that we got out of the cave.
The boat was drifting, all of a sudden, the color of water turned into sapphire green, which was associated with dark green algae, ranges of limestone mountains, the small boat and pagodas, all of this created a marvellous atmosphere. This caused all members of the group to be utterly thrilled.
We continued to explore the next cave and the captain warned us that it would be smaller and longer compared to the previous cave, and there would be even some parts of the caves with the length the same as an adult’s one as well. We turned on our flahslights to see more clearly the rocks of crystal quartz with possibly hundreds or even thousands of year olds in the cave. The boat continued to drift.
Passing through the second cave, we came to the place which was called “ out – of –the way” with four directions covered by jagged mountains. The fact that the pagodas were built among this place was truly a special thing. “What a fairyland”, I said to myself.
In this cave, there was an unique architectural work which had been built and emerged from the water right in the middle of the lake. (The layout of this work was the same as the Turtle Tower of Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi).
Then we moved into the third cave, which was also the last one, then headed to the spot where King Kong film had been shot. From a distance, we already could see the boat for fighting which had been invented from a damaged aircraft by some clever American soldiers. Far a little from that were thatched houses of the clan living in seclusion in the film. There were around 6 people performing the task of wearing loinclothes and make-up, with hands holding spears. When visitors came, they would wave their hands, smile and take photographs with them.
Ending the last destination – the spot of shooting a Holywood film, I felt extremely pleased, perhaps because Vietnam, my homeland, had such beautiful places boyond my imagination. Never did any tourist attraction like Trang An organize such a successful trip. In particular, we did not catch a glimpse of litter because the boatman was aware of collecting the litter on the lake. It was also because the tourists did not catch sight of any rubbish, they did not want to dispose of unwanted things on such green flow of water. Tourism servers here were similar to boatmen and souvenir sellers who were all gentle, good-natured, cheerful and always kept smiling to tourits.
My short trip ended when the boat docked. We moved out of the boat to come back Hanoi city. They dropped us off at the centre of Hanoi capital at 6:30 pm
Booking 1 day Ninh Binh Tour from Hanoi City
You can visit our website or come to the office named Travel Agent in Hanoi, located 37 Ngo Huyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, for referring and booking one-day Ninh Binh Tour from Hanoi. If you are not interested in visiting Bai Dinh Pagoda, you can subsitute it for the tour of the ancient capital of Hoa Lu – Trang An, or Hoa Lu – Tam Coc – Bich Dong Tour for one day. There are a wide range of prices for Ninh Binh tours. It would be great if you could come to the office to directly discuss this with us and to be consulted about all options.
When looking back on the Ninh Binh tour I experienced for just one day, it is sure that Ninh Binh will the most excellent suggestion if tourists depart from Hanoi city.
If you would like to take a tour for 2 days one night, you can opt for staying at a hotel at the centre of Ninh Binh city or right at Tam Coc.
- Read this article for the details: Top 9 Attractions and Things To Do in Ninh Binh
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