Van Long Nature Reserve, the largest wetlands in northern Vietnam, is probably the best kept secret of Ninh Binh Province.
People usually associate Ninh Binh with Trang An, a UNESCO natural and cultural heritage site, Cuc Phuong National Park and Bai Dinh Pagoda.
But the lesser-known Van Long is absolutely stunning. The reserve is 80 km south of Hanoi and is like an inland Halong Bay.
Surrounded by magnificent cliffs, this tranquil reserve has a reedy wetland that is popular with bird-watchers.
A boat ride on the swamp past karst limestone formations is spectacular. The surrounding landscape is also amazing.
Van Long is nicknamed “bay without waves". People on boats can see the water beneath them as calm as a giant mirror and reflecting the mountains and clouds.
The reserve is home to 100 bird species, including the Eurasian coot (Fulica atra) and Bonelli's eagle.
It is believed to be the habitat of the largest surviving population of Delacour's langur, or Delacour's lutung, a critically endangered species of lutung endemic to Vietnam. More than 40 animals inhabit open forests up to elevations of 328 meters (1,076 feet), in terrain dominated by limestone karst.
Photos collected by Lao Dong newspaper.