I have read that there is a new place run by a Canadian couple in Tam Coc.
Would you know its name/ contact info?
Trying to find a nice place to stay at and the French owned Chez.... does not seem to be friendly to non French speakers. Any other accommodation suggestions in the area?
I think the place you are mentioning is Chez Loan. We just spent a couple days in Nihn Bihn and stayed at the Kim Lien Guesthouse, it was cheap, clean and had a good location in town. They have bikes you can rent ($2/day) and its roughly 20-30 minutes to Tam Coc (depending on how many times you want to stop for pictures, or cows you need to avoid). Actually had a drink at Chez Loan and the staff were nice, but you are right, they didn't really speak English.
Here's a link to our blog with some pics/info!
#2 MWasser6 has been a member since 6/8/2012. Posts: 19
Thanks for the feedback.
Your photos are great, thanks for the link.
You mentioned that you went from Halong Bay directly to Ninh Binh, would you have any details on that, how did you organize the bus, how many hours was it etc, as that's where we will be traveling from, too.
Did you have difficulties to bike in Ninh Binh- some people reported they kept getting lost as they were given a hand drawn map, but I would much rather bike at my own pace. Where did you bike while there?
appreciate any help
No problem, glad u liked it.
Yeah, we took a bus from Halong city to Nihn Bihn. Essentially, if you are on a Halong tour, you need to take a taxi from the ferry terminal to the bus station (45,000 Dong). We were hurried into the bus to Nihn Bihn so I'm not sure if there is a ticket counter, and we were basically charged double what the locals were getting (200,000 Dong to Nihn Bihn), but the Halong tour operator said it would be anything from 5-10 USD, so we weren't to upset. We would've argued, but since we were already moving we didn't want to get dropped off on the side of the road. If you do this, go into the "station" and try to buy a ticket which should be 100,000. The bus takes about 4 hours depending on stops.
Unfortunately, you don't get dropped off in Nihn Bihn city. They let you out on a corner about 10km outside the city, so you need to get a cab (about another 100,000 Dong).
We did this to save time and arrived in NB at around 5pm after the Halong tour, whereas if we went all the way back to Hanoi and then took a bus or train we wouldn't have arrived until probably 8pm or later. Its more expensive since the Halong tour would take you back to Hanoi and from there a bus would be cheap, but it does save you a few hours travel.
The Halong tour operator said they could drop us off where the bus passes on the road, but then you need to be vigilant and watch for the right bus, which may or may not stop. I'd recommend taking a taxi to the Halong bus terminal to be safe.
It can be confusing for sure biking through the rice fields in Tam Coc, as again you are right, they only have hand drawn maps. We supplemented this map using GPS on our iPhone. Just load up the map of the area on your phone using wifi in the hotel, then GPS should work. Its a bit confusing, but as long as the weather is good, riding around the country is really pleasant. There is really only one general direction you can go for the most part, so eventually you will find it. At one point we were convinced we were lost and a local just looked at us and said "Tam Coc"..."Yes"....and he pointed down a road...clearly we found it in the end without much troubl. I actually think i enjoyed Nihn Bihn/Tam Coc more than Halong Bay.
#4 MWasser6 has been a member since 6/8/2012. Posts: 19
great info, thanks again.
Did you visit Van Long area or Cuc Phuong? I am trying to get a feel for how many days to plan there.
Based on your experience, would you recommend to stay at Ninh Binh or outside the city?
WE stayed at limestoneview homestay.
Great place just outside ninh binh.
25 usd for u bog room with everything you need and free breakfast and free bocycles.
Look for their phonenumber at wikitravel because they do not habe a website yet.
We cycled around for 2 days and went one day on a bike.
We also visited van long which we enjoyed very much.
Ninh binh town is not really a place to hang out.
Have fun we really liked it!
#6 Filia has been a member since 6/5/2014. Posts: 5
Would you have photos of the limestoneview?
What did you end up visiting on your bikes and was it difficult to navigate or did you have a map
I am trying to figure out the activity for 2-3days