Meet your guide and driver in the morning and depart Hanoi bound to Ninh Binh Province. Known lovingly as "Halong Bay on land", this stunning province boasts similar limestone karst topography that rises from emerald rice paddy fields and winding rivers. After a two and a half hour drive, arrive in Gia Vien District and swap your car for a bicycle - embark on a short cycling journey through paddy fields en route to the nearby Van Long reservoir area. Along the way, stop at Mai Trung hamlet for an in-depth experience learning how locals here farm and tend to their rice. Follow the lead of your local host for seeding, putting down fertilizer, scooping water or harvesting, depending on the time of year.
Afterwards, cycle onward to a local family home, and get an up-close demonstration of traditional cooking using rice crackers or fried crab dishes. Then sit down with your local family hosts and enjoy these local specialties along with another Vietnamese favourite - rice wine! After lunch, challenge your hosts to a game of chess or kick back for a chat to learn about their lives here.
In the afternoon, reach Van Long wharf and set off on a short boat trip into the reservoir at Van Long Nature Reserve - the largest wetland in northern Vietnam. Float past poetic landscapes and rolling jungle hills that are perfect for photos, before heading back to Hanoi for arrival in the early evening.