Hoa Lu – Tam Coc – Bich Dong, situated 100 km south of Hanoi, was the capital city of Vietnam under the Dinh and Le Dynasties between 968 and 1009 AD. Some of the sanctuaries and tombs have survived the years and can still be seen today. In choosing the location for his new capital, King Dinh Tien Hoang decided to base himself amongst the rugged mountains, fed by a system of water currents, which would surround the capital forming natural barriers, vital for defense as well as agriculture. The area is also one of astounding natural beauty with limestone peaks whose splendor is often said to surpass that of Ha Long Bay. You will enjoy being rowed along the Boi River in traditional boats, which makes for a truly unforgettable experience, passing between towering limestone peaks.
We leave Hanoi at 08.00 and head south for the two hour drive along Highway One. We spend one hour visiting the Dinh and Le sanctuaries. These are the two remaining temples of the ancient citadel of Hoa Lu. The first is dedicated to Dinh Tien Hoang (also known as Dinh Bo Linh), an Emperor from the Dinh Dynasty. The second commemorates the rulers of the Le Dynasty. Dinh Bo Linh successfully conquered Vietnam’s first independent rulers, the Ngo Dynasty. On his death in 980, General Le Hoan wisely married Dinh’s widow and established the Le Dynasty and enlarged the citadel.
We then move on to Tam Coc for a three hour boat trip along the Boi River. This area is rightly often referred to as the Ha Long Bay on land due to the similar topography. We return back to Hanoi at 6pm.