Start the day with 8am pickup in Hanoi, then begin the 2.5-hour drive to Hoa Lu, a one-time royal city that’s home to a collection of millennia-old temples. Visit the Temple of Emperor Dinh and the Temple of Emperor Le, and explore the sites of the Outer Citadel.
Continue to the village of Tam Coc, where you’ll pause for a Vietnamese lunch, then board a traditional sampan boat for a cruise down the Hoang Long River. Get water-level views of the soaring karst landscape, and paddle into hidden caves to see the stone formations inside.
Return to shore for a 1-hour bike tour through small villages and rice fields, following back roads at a laid-back pace. In 2014, this entire landscape was inscribed on the list of UNESCO Sites, and the contrast between Tam Coc-Bich Dong’s limestone towers and rice paddies makes for dramatic views (and unforgettable photos). After covering about 3 miles (5 kilometers) of terrain, pedal back to the restaurant for a cool drink before starting the trip back to Hanoi. This 10-hour tour concludes with drop-off at your Hanoi hotel.