Here’s how to get to Tam Coc from Hanoi by Bus, Train and Taxi:
1. Reach Ninh Binh from Hanoi
2. From Ninh Binh travel to Tam Coc
How to get to Ninh Binh from Hanoi
The good thing is you can do Tam Coc as a day trip from Hanoi. The distance between Hanoi and Tam Coc is only 90-95 km and can be easily covered by bus or train in 3 hours.
Hanoi to Ninh Binh by Train
The train from Hanoi to Ninh Binh takes about 2.5 hours. The ticket costs about 150,000 VND for 2nd class AC seater. Train starting time from Hanoi to Ninh Binh are 06:00, 09:00, 14:30, 19:30 and 20:10.
However, I will recommend you to buy an unreserved seat from station. Though the seats are hard wooden ones, but they are good for the short travel time plus you will get to meet wonderful locals! Also, it’s the cheapest way to get to Ninh Binh from Hanoi.
Hanoi to Ninh Binh by public bus
Get to the Giao Bat bus station in Hanoi and take a local bus to Ninh Binh. The buses leave regularly so you don’t have to book in advance. Taking a bus from Hanoi to Ninh Binh is the cheapest way to get to Tam Coc. Though be prepared through a rickety ride!
Hanoi to Ninh Binh by private bus
If you are looking for some comfort and don’t mind spending a little extra, take one of the private bus operators. Catba express is quite popular and can be easily booked through a travel agent or online. The Catba express bus fare is $10. The bus departs at around 08:15 from Hanoi and reaches Ninh Binh by 10:30.
Hanoi to Ninh Binh by Taxi
Taking a taxi from Hanoi to Ninh Binh is the fastest way to travel. Hanoi to Ninh Binh taxi fare is about $70, the journey takes about 2 hours.
Ninh Binh to Hanoi Train
The evening train from Ninh Binh leaves at 17:27 and arrives 8 PM in Hanoi. I took the earlier one which leaves at 13:14 arriving at 15:33 in Hanoi. I took the afternoon one as i wanted to reach early to find a hostel and book a trip next day to Ha Long Bay.
But as it turned out, there are plenty and I mean really, really plenty of tour operators and finding a ticket to Halong Bay for the next day is absolutely no problem no matter when you arrive.
Also, in the worse case it is also possible to take the local bus to Ha Long City and then take one of those junk cruises directly from the port.
How to get to Tam Coc from Ninh Binh
The distance between Ninh binh and Tam Coc is about 6 km and can be easily done on a bike. Alternatively, you can hire a motorbike for the day to Tam Coc.
The benefit of taking a motorbike is that you will be able to cover all the nearby Tam Coc attractions in a day. You can get a motorbike from the vendors right at the Ninh Binh railway station itself. No need to find them really. They’ll come running to you as soon as you come out of the railway station building.
Getting from Dong Hoi to Ninh binh by Train
Take the evening train (good old reunification express which travels along the coast) 19:52 (it’s the one I took) which will drop you in Ninh Binh at 03:20. It’s bit too early but you can spend some time at the railway station which is what I did. There is a cafe inside the railway station which opens early, though the trademark Vietnamese cold coffee is bit expensive here but it certainly is a lifesaver considering the sleep has eluded you.