Keen to explore the area, I borrow a couple of bicycles and head to the nearby Van Long Reserve with my son. We’re staying at the upmarket Emeralda Resort in Ninh Binh. It’s an unexpected stop in our Vietnam holiday, after our two-day boat cruise in Halong Bay was cut short by the forecast of a typhoon. Van Long Reserve is the largest wetland in Northern Vietnam, and popular for rowboat (sampan) trips. It’s one of the last wild refuges of the endangered Delacour’s langur, with the wetlands keeping predators and poachers at bay, as well as many species of bird (including the rare black-faced spoonbill, cotton pygmy goose and white-browed crake).
It’s very easy and relaxing cycling along the concrete path that follows the edge of the reserve, with karst limestone hills in the background.
With the sun starting to set, a few locals are also out, for pleasure and work!
The only minor challenge getting back to our hotel is avoiding some of the other road users…
Staying near Van Long Reserve
We stayed at the Emeralda Resort, which was very comfortable but reasonably priced. There is a large range of accommodation in Nimh Binh, with many local attractions including a paddleboat tour of Trang An or Tam Coc, visiting the temples and hiking in Cuc Phuong National Park.
More information on Van Long Reserve
- Centre for Sustainable Development – Van Long Reserve [PDF]
- Vietnam Travel – 10 Things to do in Nimh Binh