Ninh Binh is about 100 km south of Hanoi, it´s called Ha Long Bay on land, since it has the same karts landscape as Ha Long Bay! I left Cat Ba town by express bus at 10:30 and arrived in Ninh Binh at 15:00 in the afternoon. I had chosen to stay at Vancouver hotel in Ninh Binh, but the express bus went to Tam Coc first a tourist place about ten kilometers outside Ninh Binh. The bus driver drove into Ninh Binh with only one passenger it was me. One needs to consider where to stay in Ninh Binh town or at a home stay at Tam Coc River?
Vancouver hotel turned out to be one of my best hotels during my whole journey through Vietnam. This is a family run hotel with very competitive price and fantastic service level. Cheap tours can be arranged with cars, scooters and bikes. Examples are a private cars to Hanoi international airport 65 USD it is at least 120 km driving one way, Private car to Van Long reserve about 30 km away. Scooters and bikes were possible to rent across the street from Vancouver hotel.
It was late afternoon and the manager at Vancouver hotel recommended a visit to Hang Múa View point. This was about six to seven kilometers outside Ninh Binh. The manager arranged for a taxi.
Hang Múa View point is best visited in late afternoon or early mornings since it´s 500 steps to the top of the viewpoint. Even in the late afternoon it was a hot and sweaty walk up to the top since the temperature was hovering around 30 degree Celsius and the humidity around 80 to 90%.
I stayed at the top of the viewpoint until sunset. The entrance is open until 18:00 in the evening so you need to arrive before they are closing the entrance, but you can stay as long as you want at the view point. Some people were planning a late evening party at the top. I did leave at about 18:30 and had a very nice walk through the country side and small villages back into Ninh Binh again.
Next day I rented a bike for five US Dollar and took the ten kilometer ride out to Tam Coc. The views from Hang Múa is over Tam Coc River. There are many nice home stays in Tam Coc to choose from if one is lazy and want to stay out in the countryside instead of Ninh Binh town.
Tam Coc is famous for the feet rowing boat guides. This is of course a nice journey on Tam Coc River through the karst landscape and even visits into caves at some point.
The feet rowing boat guides are busy with all the tourists during the day but in the late afternoon all the tourists have left Tam Coc. Only one boat guides is still at work.
Many tourist visits Tam Coc as a day visits from Hanoi this is pity since there are far more to do than the boat ride on Tam Coc River! One can rent a bike and explore the small villages and the country side around Tam Coc.
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