Discover Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh, also called the dry Halong Bay, is a beautiful province surrounded by limestone karst mountains. Ninh Binh is also a city, but we don’t advise to stay here. Instead, take a taxi to Tam Coc (about 15 minutes) and book your accommodation close to Tam Coc River.
Tam Coc is a little village with several restaurants. From here you can easily arrange activities or explore the surroundings by bike.
An activity not to be missed is the boat ride along the Tam Coc or Trang An River. A local woman will paddle through the river while you enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
When you rent a (motor)bike, you can easily explore Ninh Binh and visit one of the several temples. Bái Đính Temple complex and Thai Vi Temple are our favourites.
Some people choose between visiting Cat Ba/Halong Bay or Ninh Binh, but we recommend exploring both if you have the time. Both places are known for the karst mountains, but they offer very different experiences.
In CatBa, you will pass fishing villages and see these mountains from the ocean. In Ninh Binh, your boat will slowly glide through the river while you enjoy the countryside.
Wondering whether to do a boat tour on the Tam Coc River or Trang An River? Consider that Tam Coc River is probably better when the rice fields are green/gold and Trang An is more adventurous as you will pass through more cliffs.
In the end, both boat trips are amazing experiences, so it’s really up to you if you do both or choose just one.
How to get to Ninh Binh
|Leaving from||Duration||Prices from||See details|
|Phong Nha||8-9 hours||from 425,000 VND ($17.50)||Phong Nha to Ninh Binh|
|Hanoi||1.5-10 hours||from 102,000 VND ($4.20)||Hanoi to Ninh Binh|
|Cat Ba||4 hours||from 246,000 VND ($10.00)||Cat Ba to Ninh Binh|
|Sapa||7-11 hours||from 414,000 VND ($17.00)||Sapa to Ninh Binh|
|Hue||5hrs 45m-13.5 hours||from 390,000 VND ($16.00)||Hue to Ninh Binh|
|Hoi An||6 hours-16 hours||from 520,000 VND ($21.00)||Hoi An to Ninh Binh|
Tam Coc Family Hotel - Budget Friendly
Want to know what it feels like to stay with a Vietnamese family? Tam Coc Family Hotel really does make you feel at home with the family.
The friendly owners will tell you all of the best spots to visit in Ninh Binh, and start your day right with a delicious home-cooked breakfast. It’s a great example of why you don’t have to spend a lot for a great guesthouse.
Another plus: It’s a 1-minute walk from the Tam Coc river and drop-off point of the bus.
Tam Coc Bungalow - Mid Range
Do you prefer to stay at the riverside of Tam Coc? Tam Coc Bungalow has spacious bamboo bungalows right next to the Tam Coc river. Bungalows start from $32 and dorm rooms from $6.
What we really liked about this place is their open-air restuarant. From the terrace you can watch the locals paddling back to Tam Coc town during sunset and in the evening you can play a game of pool at the open restaurant area.
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Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.