Discover the best top things to do in Ninh Binh, Vietnam including Trang An Grottoes, Mua Caves, Van Long Nature Reserve, Tam Coc, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Bich Dong Pagoda, Phat Diem Cathedral, Trang An Landscape Complex, Cuc Phuong National Park, Hoa Lu temples of the Dinh & Le Dynasties.
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4.5 based on 1 reviews
Very nice. Long boat ride, about 2.5 hours but every minute was something of interest to see. Highly recommended are various other attractions nearby.
4.5 based on 837 reviews
We didn't go to the caves but on top of the mountain To reach the staircase leading up to the mountain with the lying dragon you have to walk through the ecolodge. There's a small entrance fee. When you come by bike man will annoyingly whistle to signal you to park your bike at their plot and charge you 10.000 dong. Ignore them (even if they will get rude and shout at you) and park right infront of the entrance, maybe even inside. They still will charge you though.
4.5 based on 501 reviews
Very beautiful landscape, they have about 9 wonderful caves.
This was a complete surprise. We went for a boat ride and it was completely mesmerising. Absolutely taken by surprise how picturesque and un-spoilt this place was. The people rowing the boat were excellent. Quietly went about their jobs and didn't ask for any tips. Off the beaten track and highly recommend it.
4 based on 2 reviews
Located in Ninh Binh province 100 km southeast of Hanoi, Hoa Lu and Tam Coc are two of the most picturesque spots in all of the north. For 41 years, from 968 to 1009 CE, Hoa Lu was the ancient capital of Vietnam. Nearby Tam Coc is often referred to as “Ha Long among the rice paddies.” Visitors are conveyed by rowboat along the peaceful Tam Coc stream past green fields and the feet of Mountains into the mouths of caves, where they encounter new surprises, like stalactites and stalagmites that shimmer like gemstones just inches from the water.
The sightseeing is mostly rice fields at water level surrounded by big Mountains. You also cross some grutes (3 in total) being the first the only where you stop seeing daylight. In the way back you are approached by boats selling stuff for you to buy and offer to your boat paddler + the tip in the end of the journey. Honestly I think that if you go to Tràng An you can skip this trip
4 based on 733 reviews
Beautiful view, big pagoda and many people.. however everything is recently made so no ancient kind of feeling.. people touch statues in term of respect and believe.. no offense on religious issues but this is damaging the statues and many people will touch which is not good in term of hygiene.. personal opinion..
4 based on 467 reviews
Arrive early morning before the many tourists, it's a relatively small attraction but extremely atmospheric. The temple is cut into the mountain and the colours are still visible. A little walk up in to the mountain behind the temple unveils more then you expect (not saying anymore you need to find out) :-)
4.5 based on 120 reviews
4.5 based on 60 reviews
“Ha Long Bay on land” is a description given to the gorgeous countryside about 60 miles south of Hanoi, a reference to the iconic narrow, steep hills of this limestone karst landscape. Like Ha Long Bay, this region has been recognized as unique by UNESCO and designated as “Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex World Heritage Site”
TA readers viewing these posts about Trang An are likely to be looking at Tam Coc as well. The Tam Coc river tour differs from Trang An in very specific ways based on my experience at Trang An and my Reading of travelers’ reviews of Tam Coc. I did not go to Tam Coc; our tour was a combination of Bái Đính Temple and Trang An boating tour. We did not feel like cycling which is part of the Tam Coc tour. On the other hand there are old pagodas and temples at Tam Coc and the opportunity to climb on of the hills for an overview of the area, something we did not get to do at Trang An. Talking about the scenery, Tam Coc features the famous green-yellow rice paddies between the steep karst hills (obviously best appreciated from an overlook and not the boat at water level) whereas Trang An is undeveloped that way.
There are more caves offered at Trang An (Tam Coc apparently means “Three Caves”) with the option of boating through 9 or 11 caves, if I recall correctly. It also meant staying in the boat for the entire 2-2.5 hours and my wife and wanted a break so we chose the tour with fewer caves and a visit to a new feature. The landscape was definitely impressive. It was overcast and drizzled briefly but the overcast skies meant we weren’t baked in the sun and the mist and flat light made the experience more mystical, as it were. It helped that we had a pleasant elderly French couple with us that seemed to enjoy the boat tour without being overly expressive about it. They were even game with using the wooden paddles offered to us by our boat lady; I noticed there were times when it was us doing the paddling and she was steering. No problems, I enjoyed the exercise and the short race with another who overtook us; the wife of the couple behind us exclaimed they were beating us and briefly increased her paddling to try to catch up. The caves were fun but we were glad not to have to weave and duck through 9 or 11 of these. Some were very low, indeed. Both itineraries were loops meaning there was no revisiting any cave or specific landscape feature. Apparently the Tam Coc boat tour is has you heading back along the same route.
This new feature of Trang An was “Skull Island”. The latest of the King Kong movie series, “Kong: Skull Island” was filmed in the region and local tourism authorities are obviously milking this for what it’s worth. There was a “crashed” plane and many conical dried-palm huts with “natives” posing outside with war-paint make-up and their spears and shields. Some of them were apparently from the movie itself. Not having seen the movie we felt no particular compulsion to have our pictures taken at the plane or in front of the huts with the “natives” There was no denying the fun other tourists were having at the site. The clearing for this “village” was quite large and the piles of palm leaves and partially-completed huts clearly showed the plans to expand this particular attraction. Nobody seemed to visit a temple/pagoda built on this particular island before the “Skull Island” complex was made. All the boats picked up their clients at the “Skull Island” area. We took our time to enjoy the surrounding natural beauty from the stable island.
In contrast to what I have read about Tam Coc, our boat lady did not harass us to buy souvenirs or leave a tip. We were given a survey from to fill out which we did; I assume good reviews could add to her salary and we gave her the highest scores. We did give her a tip, too. The complex where we boarded and disembarked had a food court, restaurant and lots of souvenirs stores. The bathrooms seemed the most-visited sector, however.
We definitely enjoyed Trang An. I may could dismissive of “Skull Island” but others clearly enjoyed it. With the exception of the main entrance and “Skull Island” the landscape seemed undeveloped. I can not recommend one area over the other and I would have liked to also have seen the rice fields amongst the hills. As it was the rice fields are best seen before harvest in September. This was the cooler northern region of Vietnam and, unlike in the tropical south, there was only one rice harvest, and so we would not have seen Tam Coc at its best in November.
4 based on 132 reviews
Cuc Phuong is a park with dense vegetation, an interesting change from Mountains and rice terraces. Located about an hour from Ninh Binh, the drive is a quiet one, without much traffic, passing by Mountains, lakes and rice fields.
I skipped the primate centre. The 7 km trek is highly recommended. At least a medium level of fitness is required. The vegetation is extremely dense, without much sunlight in many parts. You will be able to hear birds and see butterflies. There was no evidence of any other fauna in the park. The trek may take over 2 hours depending on your pace. Good footwear will help. Lots of climbing up and down along rough terrain.
A remarkable aspect was the cleanliness. The entire trail is completely litter free. There was litter in the bins in the rest areas. I saw a dead tree trunk converted into a litter bin at one spot which had water bottles and snacks packets inside. Many thanks to visitors for keeping the trekking trail litter free.
There is a restaurant near the ticket office where lunch is available.
Overall, highly recommended for active people. A good fitness test.
3.5 based on 506 reviews
We had a guide which made our visit more interesting, but what I found disappointing was that almost everything is modern reproductions, there is hardly anything original to see. Without a guide to fill in the colours I wouldn't bother coming here.
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