Next day we went for a day tour to Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam and Tom Coc village. The tour started from the Old Quarters where we were met by a driver and a minibus outside the travel company through whom we had booked the tour.
The ancient capital of Vietnam, Hoa Lu was laid out in a valley between steep limestone mountains. The idea was to have protection via these mountains which even today are mainly accessible to mountain goats. Hoa Lu lies between rice fields about 90 kms from away from Hanoi.
Dinh Tien Hoang, the first Dinh emperor founded this city in 968 AD following years of civil unrest and a bitter war with the Chinese. There are two temples built in honour of Dinh Tien Hoang, Le Dai Hanh and Queen Durong Van Nga, who was first married to the first king and then later married to the second one. The tomb of Dinh Tien is also here.
In 1010, after the death of Le Dai Hanh, the new King Ly Cong Uan moved the capital to Thang Long which is now known as Hanoi.
After visiting the ancient capital we headed straight for a Vietnamese Buffet Lunch which was good with a vast variety of items.
Our next stop was the Tam Coc village, which is also called the inland Halong Bay. You take a 1.5 – 2 hours boat ride to see the three flooded caves which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. In Vietnamese, Tam Coc actually means “three caves”, Hang Ca, Hang Hai and Hang Ba, all three of them are on the Ngo Dong River. This area is particularly beautiful and boat ride is fun. It is interesting to see both men and women pedal the boats with their feet. We also toured the village on bicycles.