If you'd like to see Ha Long Bay, but you don't want to spend cash on a tour... or maybe you're afraid of the water... it's possible to get an incredible view, without ever stepping foot on a boat. Climb to the top of Núi Bài Thơ (Poetry Mountain), to see the unique formations of Ha Long from above. The path up the mountain is hidden down a tiny alley on Hàng Nồi Street. But it's not…
Located about 30 minutes north of Ninh Binh, the Vân Long Nature Reserve protects one of Northern Vietnam's largest unspoiled natural areas. Visitors can take a boat tour to see a small section of the park, and possibly spot the elusive, endangered Delacour's Langurs which call it home.
If you're looking for an unforgettable view of the karst hills south of Ninh Binh, you might want to skip on the popular boat tour of Tam Cốc, and instead seek out Hang Múa. Over 400 steps will bring you to the top of a mountain, from where you'll be able to see the unique landscape in all its glory.
Located a few kilometers north of Tam Cốc, the mountainside complex of Bích Động consists of three temples arranged in a vertical order. A climb to the upper pagoda is rewarded by magnificent views over the region. Bích Động was established in 1428 by two Buddhist monks from Ninh Binh, who recognized the area for its natural beauty. They built three pagodas at different heights on the mountain, making use of the limestone caves and recesses in…
Among Vietnam's most stunning images is the aerial view of Tam Cốc: a region of rice fields and steep limestone hills, just south of Ninh Binh. If you're spending any time in the region, it's a photo you'll see over and over again, in the window of every tourism agency, hung on the wall of every restaurant. And every time you see it, you'll think to yourself... "Man, I've got to go there!"
Rarely have we spent time in an area so beautiful and remote as the Pù Luông Nature Reserve. In fact, in terms of sheer beauty and remoteness, I'm pretty sure this place tops the list. We took hundreds of photographs during our two days here, and could have taken hundreds more. Everywhere you turn in Pù Luông, it's nearly guaranteed that you'll encounter a scene worthy of a picture. And the longer you look, the more charming…
After a few days in the Phong Nha National Park, we were happy to stay focused on Vietnam's nature, and relocated to another park: Pù Luông. Just like Phong Nha, this is an exceptionally beautiful area. But unlike its more famous brother, Pù Luông is still largely untouched by tourism. We spent two days exploring the region, and never once saw another foreigner.
Deeper into the Phong Nha National Park, and much more difficult to reach than the park's eponymous cave, the Paradise Cave is even more spectacular. There are no boat rides, this time, just a path twisting through grand chambers filled with some of the most massive underground formations we've ever seen.
Phong Nha Cave isn't the biggest cave, or even the second-biggest, in the Phong Nha National Park. But it's the one which bears the park's name. So we felt safe assuming that it would be spectacular. And we weren't disappointed; this is an underground wonderland of stunning beauty.
We spent four nights in the Phong Nha National Park, which is home to more than 300 caves including, incredibly, two of the world's three largest. On our first full day in the park, we embarked on a long hike through the forest to visit two of the regular-sized caves, one of which we'd be swimming through.