Photo: Having a row.

Boat trips at Tam Coc and Trang An

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A large swathe of land in Ninh Binh province is characterised by stony outcrops not unlike those at Ha Long Bay, though a bit smaller in size and of course without the water—lakes and rivers aside.

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Photo of Boat trips at Tam Coc and Trang An

If you’re there at the right time of the year, when the paddies are full of water, the reflections make the landscape almost as beautiful as Ha Long Bay.

The best ways to enjoy the scenery are to rent a bicycle or take a boat trip, or both. The main kicking off points for boat trips are Tam Coc and Trang An, although smaller, less touristy outfits can be found near Bich Dong Pagoda and between Trang An and Hoa Lu.

Small boats will be paddled by local woman along the river for a couple of hours, through caves and past paddy fields and karst formations. If you start from Tam Coc you will also visit Thai Vi Pagoda. Whether one route is better than another is open for debate—we’d suggest choosing whichever suits your travel plans better.

Both Tam Coc and Trang An are big tourist attractions—Trang An in particular, though more popular with Vietnamese visitors—so don’t expect to have the river to yourself, but if you avoid weekends and Vietnamese holiday periods it’s not too overwhelming.

Prices at both are fixed but differ: at Tam Coc you pay 150,000 dong for the boat and 120,000 dong per adult, with a maximum of two foreigners per boat, whereas Trang An charges 200,000 dong per adult and 100,000 dong per child, with no apparent maximum, other than the number of seats—though they may expect a minimum of four passengers, meaning you might need to wait around. Use these prices as benchmarks if you decide to rent from one of the other operations. There is also a 15,000 dong scooter parking fee.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ninh Binh.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Ninh Binh.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Ninh Binh.
 Read up on how to get to Ninh Binh, or book your transport online with Baolau.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Ninh Binh? Please read this.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.

See below for more sights and activities in Ninh Binh that are listed on

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Ninh Binh? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Vietnam.

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