What is so special about Ninh Binh?

Nga Do
After having a lot of fun, adventures and traveling in the south and central Vietnam, one of my first stops in the north was Tam Coc in Ninh Binh region of Vietnam. Despite being touristy, Tam Coc is unique because of its rural life, the rocky hills, the river and the lush greenery everywhere.

I spent a good few days in Ninh Binh getting in touch with the countryside of Vietnam. I spent the first 2 days just cycling and roaming on my bike where I would stop by wherever I felt and watch the world go by. So for all those who want to get a glimpse of Vietnam that’s relatively untouched, Ninh Binh is the place to be.

What is so special about Ninh Binh?
Photo by LigerCommon
Tam Coc Boat Tours – Trang An or Tam Coc?

If you look up for the main attractions of Tam Coc or Ninh Binh, among the top things to do in Tam Coc would be the boat tours. And hence boat tours are obviously the most touristic of them all. Travelers have mixed opinion on this, and some people don’t like it for this same reason. Plus, the rates are expensive and the persistent boat riders that ask for hefty tips also make people avoid the tours.

There are two boat routes in the Tam Coc region. Trang An and Tam Coc. The nearest one is the Tam Coc boat ride as it starts right at the city centre. The better one among these is the Trang An boat ride though. It is a 3-hour ride that takes you through the lush green fields beside the hills, and the natural beauty is at its best – raw and rugged to be precise.

The Tam Coc boat ride is of lesser duration and for the most part, you’ll be within the town. It is lovely no doubt, but if you want to do just one of them, then I would recommend Trang An tour, hands down, I wouldn’t think twice about it!  Did you know that the Ang Tran complex is a UNESCO heritage site? As for the time, pick up early morning or evening for this as it is less crowded and you’ll get more of the place for yourself. The ride costs 150,000 with your additional parking fees.

Trang An is about 12km away from the centre of Tam Coc and you can reach there by your transport – bike or cycle. You can also book a cab as well. You’ll visit temples and caves during both the rides but can depend on the crowd or the rower as well.

Tam Coc Boat Rides Quick Tips: You’ll be asked for money by the rowers, and people will try to sell snacks en route that is obviously expensive. Be polite if you want to refuse them. Get enough snacks and water if you are opting for Trang An. As for the tip, it’s up to you to give what you feel is worth it. Some people buy things for them as during the ride.

A lot of people short on time opt for a day trip to Tam Coc Ninh Binh from Hanoi. If you just have a day and are contemplating on whether to explore Tam Coc, then don’t think, just do it! It’s worth your time and you might also be left feeling that you needed more days!

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