Though we did not know it yet, leaving Cat Ba one day earlier was a smart move, as we discovered Tam Coc the so-called “Halong Bay on earth”, as its karst scenery is quite similar to Halong Bay but located inside the Ninh Binh province.
For sure our lovely homestay is partly responsible of us enjoying the area: perfectly located in the middle of the rice fields, but still near the main attractions, with incredibly nice owners and an excellent breakfast.
The main attraction of the area is a row boat trip over the rivers crossing through the karst rocks. As we stayed about a week in the area, we had the chance to do two of them, one departing from the Tam Coc marina and the “must-do” Trang An tour (Unesco). We liked both: for the first one, we came across a funny Vietnamese rower who was smiling every time he could show us something, while for the second one, the landscape was really impressive, with long and narrow caves.
We also stayed long enough to enjoy a motorbike ride to Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam (during the 10th century), but there is not much left of it. And finally we climb up the five hundred steps of Hang Mua viewpoint.