Lonely Planet Experiences: Citadels, Karsts & Cycle in Ninh Binh

  • Best price guaranteed
  • No booking fees
4.5 Based on 2 Reviews
  • COVID-19protected
  • Bicycle tour
  • Cultural, religious and historic sites
See Itinerary
  • duration 11 hours
  • tour type Group
  • age requirement 12+ yrs
  • max group size 12
  • guiding method Live Guide/Instructor
  • Starts Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Ends Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Surround yourself in the rich history and breathtaking scenery of Vietnam
  • Step back in time at the ancient citadel of Hoa Lu, Vietnam’s first capital
  • Cycle through villages, rice fields, and amongst the limestone karsts and surrounding scenery
  • Take a row boat through the UNESCO site of Trang An to explore magnificent caves and get up close to the region’s spectacular karst country
The Lonely Planet Experiences: Citadels, Karsts & Cycle in Ninh Binh tour starts and ends in Hanoi. The Lonely Planet Experiences: Citadels, Karsts & Cycle in Ninh Binh is a bicycle tour that takes 11 hours.

Mix it up on this Hanoi tour that includes a 12 km cycle session and a sneaky rowboat ride through caves, and past rice paddies, villages, and limestone karsts. In between all that sightseeing and biking, enjoy a traditional Vietnamese lunch at the home of a local family. 

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4.5 - Excellent
Based on 2 reviews
  • Mrs. Cheryl K.
  • On May 08 2016
5 - Excellent
“Fantastic day with Cuong who was a great guide. He was informative and funny. The bike ride was the highlight of the tour- I'm not a great cyclist but was able to manage and the group waited when I was a bit slow. We weren't bothered by touts which was a relief. The scenery on the bike and boat trip was superb. The boat area was quite crowded with locals being a Sunday. Highly recommended.”
  • Mr. ED L.
  • On Dec 22 2015
4.5 - Excellent
Very Good
“This tour was very good overall. I had done a previous tour in Hoian with a tour operator recommended by our intrepid tour guide for a 15 day tour which I thought compared very favourably with this one. However the site was outstanding even though i had been to Han lon bay. The guide was excellent but I thought she might have given us a little more of a heads up on the scams being conducted by the rower for our boat. The rower had a scam with one of the other boats selling food and drinks at the far end of the boat ride where we were sort of forced to buy a drink and food for our rower even though we ourselves did not want any. As always this sort of scamming detracts from the experience but I still enjoyed the row. Also on this trip we paid the tip for the rower ($5) which on our other intrepid 15 day tour would have been covered. So I was a little surprised by that. The information we got from our tour guide was excellent and I was happy to give her a tip however I must say that for both trips the (15 day tour and this one) I think it is a little sad that as an Australian company where we generally expect that people get paid enough so that tipping is not required in our country Intrepid/peregrine depend on the traveler to provide a tip to the guide to give them enough to provide reasonable remuneration. Having said that I though both of the tour guides were of exceptional ability overall though I heard of some gides who were not so good.”

Our Hanoi tour begins with a two-hour drive from the hectic capital of Hanoi to the province of Ninh Binh, approximately 100 kilometers away. Our first destination is Hoa Lu, the location of the capital of Vietnam during the Dinh Dynasty (968-980) and early Le Dynasty (980-1009). The ancient citadel once covered 300 hectares of land, however, the passage of time has left few remains of this once glorious capital of Vietnam.

On arrival, dive into history at the Dinh & Le Temples. Restored in the 17th century, the temples are dedicated to the Dinh and Le emperors and believed to be built on the original foundations of the old palaces from the 11th and 12th centuries.

Next, it's time for the biking part of the tour. Hop on a bike for about 12-kilometer ride through the area, limestone karsts towering above you as you ride along backroads and beautiful scenery with experiences you just don't get on other Hanoi tours! On the way, we also stop for a drink to cool off from the heat.

Following our bike ride, we'll visit a local family for a homecooked lunch. This is a great opportunity to meet some locals and learn about daily life in the region.

After lunch, make your way to Trang An, a new addition to UNESCO’s list of heritage sites. Honored as of June 2014, the 10,000-hectare Trang An complex comprises three areas: the Trang An ­– Tam Coc – Bich Dong ecological site, the Hoa Lu imperial capital, and the Hoa Lu primitive forests.  It is often referred to as the Halong Bay of the land due to its spectacular scenery with limestone karsts rise up of the ground to tower over the region, and is a truly wonderful sight to see.

Here, we’ll board rowboats for about 3-hour journey through caves, passing local villages along with the river system of the Red River Delta. The scenery comprises of lush green rice paddies during the rice-growing seasons and the surrounding limestone karsts make for a stunning backdrop, presenting many photo opportunities for the keen photographers amongst the group.

At the end of the boat trip, we’ll transfer back to Hanoi city, arriving late in the afternoon. Return back to your hotel and enjoy the rest of your evening.

  • Homecooked lunch
  • Return transportation
  • Local English speaking guide
  • Bike and helmet
  • Boat trip
  • Green tea
  • Local drink.&Nbsp; 
  • Hoa Lu entrance fees as indicated
  • Items of a personal nature
  • tips / gratuities for driver or guide.
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Cancellation for this Lonely Planet Experiences: Citadels, Karsts & Cycle in Ninh Binh tour is free up to 48 hours before the chosen start date - full refund will be given. If cancellation is made less than 48 hours before the chosen start date, no refund applies.


For any tour departures within 13 June 2021, full payment is required. For tours that depart later than 13 June 2021, a deposit of 100% is required to confirm this tour, and the remaining balance will be charged 0 days before trip departure.

Travel Insurance

Lonely Planet Experiences: Citadels, Karsts & Cycle in Ninh Binh tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.


For this Lonely Planet Experiences: Citadels, Karsts & Cycle in Ninh Binh tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

Meeting start point :

Front entrance of the Hanoi Opera House, 1 Trang Tien Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi at 8.00 Am.

Meeting end point :

Drop off at centrally located hotels in Hanoi

Lonely Planet extras
  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop
COVID-19 Safety Measures

This trip incorporates the following COVID-19 measures:

  • This tour follows established guidelines that are in line with the World Travel and Tourism Council’s ‘Safe Travels’ framework against COVID-19.
  • This tour follows the local government(s) recommendations for gatherings and group sizes.
  • Wearing a mask, hand washing and sanitizing is highly encouraged on this tour. Frequently touched surfaces are regularly disinfected.
If you have any question about this tour or need help with planning a trip, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We're ready to help.
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