Planning to do a boat tour in Ninh Binh and want to know if either Trang An or Tam Coc is the best. Keep on reading, including tips of other boat trips in this beautiful province. Name
Overview of all the boat tours in Ninh Binh
|Tam Coc||1,5 hour||150,000 VND||Yes||Huge mountains & rice fields|
|Trang An||2 – 2.5 hour||200,000 VND||Yes||Huge mountains, temples & caves|
|Van Long||1 hour||50,000 VND||No||Wetlands, birds & endangered animals|
|Thung Nham||1 hour||100,000 VND||No||Stork and other birds|
Tam Coc or Trang An?
It is always a matter of opinion, but the most recommended boat tour in Ninh Binh is Trang An. In Trang An everything is better taking care off and there are better rules for the boat riders. But the most important thing is that Trang An is overall more impressive. The mountains are higher, the caves are larger and the stunning nature combines great with the cultural sights, with hidden temples and pagodas. Tam Coc is shorter and although the nature is stunning, it is less impressive than Trang An. Just one important thing that Tam Coc does have are rice fields, so if you are lucky and visit Ninh Binh during harvest season, you are in for a threat.
Tip: Still want to see Tam Coc? Visit Mua Cave. From this viewpoint you have stunning views over Tam Coc.
Why Trang An?
- Most impressive karst mountains in Ninh Binh
- Stops where you can walk to cultural sights on the way (pagodas, temples)
- Long caves
Why Tam Coc?
- Amazing scenery during rice harvest season
- Less busy than Trang An
- Shorter boat tour, if you have less time
Continue reading for a more detailed explanation which boat tour in Ninh Binh is best for you.
Tam Coc boat tour
Peddling over the river through stunning karst mountains is a great experience. The unique feature about the Tam Coc boat tour are the rice fields. Especially during harvest season, when they are golden yellow and just before the harvest, when they are bright green, it is a truly magnificent view when peddling along them. The boat trips takes maximum 2-hours, with going back the same way, you are passing the same rice fields two times.
- Best Ninh Binh boat tour for: If you like high mountains and rice fields.
Trang An boat tour
The Trang An boat tour brings you through the most impressive karst mountains of the region. You can choose between three different routes, all of them bring you through the immense mountains. The difference is that you visit other places, like pagodas, temples, caves, including the longest water cave in Ninh Binh and a part of the movie set of Kong: Skull Island. The mix of stunning mountain scenery, and stops on the way where you can walk to these attractions, make this boat trip a great experience.
- Best Ninh Binh boat tour for: If you like towering mountains, caves and culture.
Van Long boat tour
Van Long is less known and this is also the best part of it. As Tam Coc and Trang An are hugely popular and can get very crowded, in Van Long you can enjoy a boat tour in peace. There are almost no day tours from Hanoi going here, at least not the popular big group tours. The peaceful experience in a stunning landscape makes Van Long perhaps the best boat tour in Ninh Binh. In the morning and evening you can storks flying and inside the wetlands you can see a lot of other birds like the kingfisher. There are even some very rare animals you can see like the langoer and the chamois.
- Best Ninh Binh boat tour for: If you like peaceful nature, birds and other animals.
Thung Nham Bird Garden boat tour
The biggest reason for going to Thung Nham Bird Garden is for bird watching. Especially in the late afternoon it is a great view to see hundreds of storks flying back to their nests. The area is less impressive compared with Tam Coc and Trang An and for that reason also less visited, which is a great benefit.
- Best Ninh Binh boat tour for: If you like birds
Best time to do a Ninh Binh boat tour
You can do boat trips all year long in Ninh Binh, but if you want less change on rain, visit Ninh Binh during the dry season, from November to March. If you want to visit the rice fields during harvest season, go between late May to early June and the wet rice fields harvest is between September till October.
Tip: Avoid the huge crowds and burning sun, go as early as possible!
Is it possible to do two Ninh Binh boat tours on one day?
Yes, it is possible to do two Ninh Binh boat tours on one day, though it is not always highly recommended. The Tam Coc boat tour can take up to 2 hour and the Trang An boat tour takes at least 2.5 hours. The rowing sampan boats are for many people not comfortable enough to set 4 hours or longer on it. It is possible to combine either Trang An or Tam Coc in the early morning when it is not busy, with Van Long in the late afternoon when the birds fly back.
What other things can you do in Ninh Binh?
There is plenty of things to do in Ninh Binh. You can visit Mua Cave, the best viewpoint in this province or go hiking in Cuc Phuong National Park. If you like history and cultural you can visit several temples and pagodas, such Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam and Bai Dinh Pagoda, the largest Buddhist complex in Southeast Asia.
Do I need to tip the boat rider?
You don’t need to tip the boat riders. In the past there where a lot of complains for tourist that the boat riders where forcing them to pay a tip before bringing them back on the shore. Now they are not allowed to do this. Especially at Trang An this is very strict. You are of course always welcome to tip them if you want to show your appreciation.