ninh binh attractions
Ninh Bin ? Say what again? NINH BIN! Came to Vietnam to check off Halong Bay? Forget it! Take a couple of hours (around 2 hours 15 minutes by train to be exact) day trip from Hanoi and come visit Nin Binh. It is the place to go in Vietnam! Don’t miss it.
You’ll find lot of locals in Ninh Binh taking the boat ride through the incredible karst hills. Do as the locals do, don’t they say? On the other hand you’d hardly see any local tourist in Ha Long Bay. Still, not convinced?
Tam Coc and Trang an are the reason you are visiting Ninh Binh. The cast scenery here in Ninh Binh is exceptional. Imagine Ha Long Bay only that instead of scattered limestone hills in the water, you’d experience waterways (river in-fact) through the karst hills.
If you have to choose between the two, choose Tam Coc. Why? The landscape just looks better. That’s all. If you have time, do both.
There is a downside to Tam Coc though, which is it very high entrance fees. The fees to Tam Coc consists of two parts, entrance fee (120k Dongs) and and a boat fee (150k Dongs): i.e. a total of 270k Dongs = $12. The fees is same for everyone, for locals as well as foreigners. Good news is that you can find a partner (or if you already have one) and split the boat fee.
The area is also perfect for half a day of relaxed biking.
Tip: Grab the front seat in the boat for the best views, particularly if you are sharing the boat.
Spend Ninh Binh
Tam coc – 120,000 entrance fee + 150k/2 boat fee
Motor bike – 100,000 rental + 30000 petrol
Breakfast – 50k
Coffee – 25k
Train ticket to Hanoi hard seat – 51k
Parking for hang mua – 3k
Hang mua entrance – 100k
Research -not mine
Bich Dong Pagoda, (Follow the road pass the Tam Coc ‘pier’ for about 3km to the west.). An interesting 15th century pagoda with three levels in a steep Mountains side, offering nice views. Ha, Trung, and Thuong Pagodas, in ascending order. Some of the temples are build right into caves and you can explore. After the highest temple you may also like to ignore the sign and climb up the rocks (there is a clear path) to the top of the rock, the view is really worth the scramble, but not recommended with flip flops or the like. 20 kđ parking fee.
Bich Dong Pagoda, 3 km after the Tam Coc Pier, built on one of the cliff and which provides incredible views (go all the way to the top of the cliff via the small passage on the right of the last pagoda, which is inside the cliff) and Tai Vi Temple, accessible via the small road on the right of the pier. edit
Hang Mua Peak. is one of the most spectacular sites to visit around Tam Coc (5 km from the “pier”). 450 steps bring you to the tip of the peak, from which you have a most spectacular 360° view of the entire region, the Red River Delta on the East and the mountains on the other sides. Definitely a Must visit if all those steps do not scare you. 100kđ.
Hard berth level 3 (top level) is the cheapest sleeper.
Thien duong cave = paradise cave