Hoa Lu, Van Lam Village and Tam Coc Caves

I know I’m behind on my blogging so these will be mostly “photo blogs” and I’ve captioned all the pics. I’ll still try to write a little summary 😀

Today we had breakfast in the hotel dining room before being picked up by our tour guide and driver to head out of Hanoi to Hoa Lu, which is the ancient captial of Vietnam during the 10th century. Hoa Lu is also known as “Ha Long Bay on land” due to it’s beautiful rock formations.

We first visited the Dinh and Le Dynastic Temples which are not the orignals from the 10th century but I think our tour guide mentioned they were rebuilt in the 15th century, following the same style as the originals. The first temple was for the king and the second temple was for his younger brother.

We then drove to Van Lam Village to have lunch at the local hotel. Lunch was less than $10 per person inclusive of the drinks. The restaurant was clean and had clean bathrooms (always important). It was a short walk down the street to the water and boarded a sampan to cruise around the water and into the Tam Coc Caves.

It’s really peaceful out their and our boat crew of 2 people were very nice. They said they were husband and wife and tried to speak to us in broken English. They pointed out things to us like the goats, birds, statues, and temples. They even took pictures for us! But in the end, of course they try to sell you things before leaving. They showed us pictures of their family doing embroidery and so we ended up buying some items to give as gifts. But overall, it was a nice 2 hour cruise then we headed back to Hanoi.

We had trouble finding a place for dinner but we ended up at this nice restaurant called Wild Rice and had a prix fixe menu for $20 per person, not inclusive of drinks. The restaurant was pretty fancy looking and actually reminded me of SF homes with all the crown moulding and coordinating paints. The food was pretty good, I think the garlic peanut prawns were the best.

Sufficiently stuffed we headed to the night market which runs on Fridays and weekends from 7pm onward. Mostly stalls of silk purses, some clothes, and some food. It was all pretty cheap but we didn’t buy anything. We were all pretty tired so headed back to the hotel to rest up before heading to Ha Long Bay in the morning.

It’s been very interesting for me to see that Cambodia and Vietnam so readily accept US Dollars as their currency, it seems like they prefer it over their own currency.

So here are the pictures, to see the album online, click HERE!

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